After your dog comes to you and sits in front, the judge says "Finish." You say "Buddy, heel," and your dog goes to the Heel position. He can either go directly to Heel position to the left, or go to the right and walk behind you to Heel position. We like to teach both, just to keep the dog guessing. For the Finish to the left, we use the "Heel" command and for the Finish to the right, we use the "Place" command (see Teaching a Finish to the right). Actually, we prefer giving a signal because the dog more readily understands a signal than a command — and it more clearly indicates to the dog the way we want him to go. For the Finish to the left, use your left hand to indicate the direction in which you want Buddy to go, and for the Finish to the right, use your right hand.

Teaching a Finish to the left

Your Sequence 1 goal is to introduce Buddy to the Finish to the left:

1. Sit your dog at Heel position, say "Stay," and step directly in front of him.

2. Say "Buddy, heel," and then take a step back on your left leg, keeping the right leg firmly planted in place, as you guide him with a treat held in your left hand in a semicircle into Heel position.

Make the semicircle large enough so that he winds up in the correct position.

3. Give him the treat, praise, and release.

4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 until he enthusiastically and briskly goes to heel.

You'll quickly see that the guidance of your left hand becomes his signal to go to heel.

Any time we want a dog to move, we use his name before the command — for example, "Buddy, come." Any time we don't want him to move, we eliminate the name — for example, "Stay." Using a dog's name makes him excited and ready to move, and not using his name on the stationary exercises helps him to focus on the exercise and stay still.

Teaching a Finish on command or signal

Your Sequence 2 goal is to teach Buddy to finish on command or signal:

1. Put the leash on the training collar.

2. Neatly fold the leash into your left hand.

3. Step in front, say "Buddy, heel," and step back on your left leg, using the leash to guide him into Heel position.

4. Reward him with a treat, praise, and release.

5. Practice Steps 1 through 4 until he goes to heel without any tension on the leash.

6. Now eliminate the step back on the left leg, and experiment by using either the command or signal.

The signal is the same guiding motion you use in Sequence 1 (see the preceding section).

Teaching a Finish to the right

The Finish to the right uses the same progressions as the finish to the left, except that you step back on the right leg and guide Buddy around behind you into Heel position. When you're using a treat, you have to switch it behind your back from the right hand into the left. The same applies to the leash.

Your dog's response to the Finish to the right or left tells you which direction is better for him. As a general rule, a long-bodied dog does better going to the right.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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