At the end of the exercise, the dog should have learned to walk to the left or right of you. This is particularly important on sidewalks and bike paths. So you know your dog is always right by your side. Some dogs need longer to understand what it is about with “foot” than with the other commands. Be patient, your darling will soon master the exercise too.
Choose a side and after a short walk, let your dog sit down next to you. With the opposite hand and outstretched finger, give him the sign to “sit”. After a short praise, you are both ready for the new “Foot” lesson.
Signal your dog “foot” by tapping twice on the side of the thigh. After a second, starting with that leg, take a step or two forward. Stand still and bring him back to the starting position with the gesture of the other hand by giving the command “sit”. Now repeat the exercise. Always choose the same side at the beginning and don’t forget to reward him immediately after each exercise. After a few minutes of training, resolve the issue of “walking” with, for example, “Done” and give him space to run around, sniff or play.
Your dog should always respond to your hand signals. If he gets up because you are moving your foot forward, ignore him. Exercise a few minutes a day. Only praise him when he starts knocking on the thigh. He must not go ahead or lag behind. Never lure him with treats while he is exercising. Many a dog has fed itself enough, but has not learned what the command means. As soon as there is nothing left to feed, he will cheerfully pull the leash again.
If your dog has grasped the “foot” by taking small steps, increase the number of steps. Slowly stretch out the sequences and praise him for staying next to you. If it gets faster and faster, it is foreseeable when you will both feel pressure on the leash again. So the training piece was still too long. Your dog is no longer in its safety area and you no longer have its attention. The shorter the training sequences, the more concentrated your dog is.
Be consistent but kind. It’s no use if you pull the leash like crazy. Your dog doesn’t learn anything like this. Instead, he just becomes more insecure and fearful. If he moves to overtake you, go in the opposite direction. Once he’s back to your level, give him praise. Repeat this a few times. You will be surprised how quickly your dog understands what you are asking of him.
If your dog does not respond to your commands after the third and fourth attempt, do not be afraid to ask professional help for advice. Even if you follow these tips, mistakes cannot be ruled out. A dog trainer can identify these and help you eliminate them.
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