Written by Catherine Zinsky
Now it's time to remove the treat from the dog's muzzle and have the dog start looking up at your face as he is coming into that front. (refer to: Teaching the Front, Part 1: What is a 'Front'?) This can be a tad tricky. Be patient during this process and remember to always be there to help your dog succeed.
1. You will now move the hand with the treat upwards, holding it close to your body and in a line between your eyes and your dog's eyes. Praise the 'look'!
2. Your dog is still in a stand before you.
3. The clear stick will be held in your free hand, hanging naturally at your side.
4. Again, you will take a large parallel step toward the same side that is holding the treat. (Treat in left hand, step left: treat in right hand, step right.)
5. Say 'front' as you move. Hopefully your dog will move with you. If he does not, you can move the hand with the treat closer to him (but NOT to the muzzle) and lure him to the front, bringing out the clear stick and tapping his back end as you do this.
6. If your dog does move with you, but his back end is slightly off center, bring out the clear stick and tap his back end as you remind him to 'front'.
7. Once in front, draw the cookie upwards towards your chin as you say "Sit". Make sure your dog does a tuck sit and not a rock back!! The tuck sit will keep the spine straight, assuring a straight sit.
8. After he is sitting perfectly in front, pop the treat into your mouth, drop your hands to your sides, praise your dog, and spit him the treat.
9. Repeat this process in both directions for 100,000 times in the ensuing months. More if necessary! LOL. But seriously---repetition is essential. And a solid foundation is indispensable. Repeat as often as you can:-)
10. Once your dog understands coming to front while looking up at you (eye contact required!), you will permanently remove the lure from your hand and keep the treat in your mouth to reward randomly. Your hands will now always be at your sides and a clear stick will be at the ready should you need to fine tune. Your dog will not be rewarded if fine tuning is required! You will only reward that front that is bang on the first time:-)
Next time we'll look at some of the games I use to keep these fronts fine tuned.