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“To the foot” command – how to teach it to a dog

A doggie who politely comes to our call – is half the success of good communication with a pet in everyday life. This command is relatively simple and, at the same time, significant concerning the dog. Do you want to learn how to tame your pet with this command? If so, I have prepared a practical guide for you.

dog sittin on the snow in a navy sweater

“To the foot” command

The ability to respond to various commands and increasing discipline of the dog also positively affect his safety level. During a crisis, the dog will be able to follow our orders, which he knows and understands very well, and knows how to react to them without panicking. The “To the foot” command is one of the critical lessons we should teach our dog.

On-call return to the owner is the basis of good communication in everyday life with the dog. Don’t you know how to go about it? Nothing complicated. I will tell you how to teach your dog a new command.

Puppy – learning to return on-call

Young dogs can learn “to the foot” commands very quickly. Why? That is because of their strong need to follow their new guardian.

He is the most important person for them, with whom they feel entirely safe. Our task is to reinforce this behaviour by rewarding the puppy when he follows us, encouraged by our recommendation.

The reward for a well-executed command does not have to be just a treat, especially for small dogs whose diets should have balanced meals, not delicacies. Rewarding the dog may be showing tenderness, a moment for play, or spending time actively together.

a dog with a navy harness sits

Learning an adult dog  the “to the foot” command

Older puppies, compared to puppies, will require a bit more commitment and patience when learning a new command. It is best to start in calm conditions, so the dog is not distracted by environmental stimuli.

Gradually, when your pet is doing better and better, you can change the place of training to slightly more absorbing external factors.

At the outset, determine what specific recall command you will use: to the foot, to me, or your variant. Remember that you should not change the command once selected because this way, you can confuse your pet, which will ultimately not know what you expect from him.

“To the foot” command – the first stage

If you want to show the dog what we expect from him by saying the command “to the foot”, you can use a long leash as a teaching aid. Please attach it to your dog’s collar or harness and wait for the pet to walk away from you to its entire length.

Then, while saying the summoning command, gently pull the dog towards you so that, following the command, he returns to a close distance from you. Don’t forget to reward your pet for the correct reaction.

Notice how close the dog is running towards you when you say the “to the foot” command. Are you able to touch it without any problems, or is it 1-2 steps away from you? During joint training sessions, try to make your dog come into the habit of coming close enough so that you can immediately attach him to the leash.

The next stage of training

Suppose the dog has mastered the “to the foot” command on a leash. We can proceed to the next stage. Leave the dog free and walk a few steps away from him. When your pet looks after himself, say its name to attract attention and give the “to the foot” command.

If the dog obeys your instructions, do not forget the appropriate reward. Try not to make the distance between you too much at first. Gradually, as your training progresses, you may increase this distance.

If you do the exercises at home, you may want to raise the bar a bit in training at this stage. Leave the dog alone and go to another room close enough for the pet to hear your voice easily.

Then say the recall command and observe the behaviour of the pet. If he hears a command and comes to you when you say it, reward him with your favourite treat.

Stage three – training the command outside

When your pet has mastered the “to the foot” command in a peaceful environment or at home, we can move on to the last, most challenging stage. Go to the nearby park, where many distracting stimuli will be waiting for the dog.

a dog in the red harness

The principle of training is the same as in the previous stages. When the dog is a bit away from you, say the “to the foot” command in a firm voice, and if he does the task correctly, praise him for it.

At this stage, you can stay a bit longer for the dog to thoroughly learn the new skill.

Stage four that is, consolidating the “to the foot” command

To develop your dog a little more of this newly acquired skill, I have a few tips for you on how to modify your training a bit, increasing its degree of difficulty.

See how the dog will react when you command “to the foot”, not standing still as before but moving in the opposite direction to the pet. Summon the quadruped with a command known to him. Then, with a quick step, start walking away from him – remember not to run too fast. The dog must have a chance to catch up with you.

If you want to encourage your dog to follow in your footsteps, you can summon him several times. If the dog does the exercise correctly, do not forget about the reward.

An interesting obstacle in joint training may be working on focusing the dog’s full attention on us. For this purpose, the dog’s toys or slightly less-liked treats will be helpful.

Spread out any of these things around you. Then call the dog to his feet, showing him the favourite treat in his hand. The doggy will undoubtedly pay attention to the toys or other delicacies around.

However, tempted by the beloved treat, he will decide to come to you in the end. After a few successful attempts, give up the pleasure in your hand, trying to be confident enough in giving the command that the dog obeys the command anyway.

a small dog plays with a dog toy

Your joint success in training depends on you

Thanks to these tips, I think you can teach your dog a new skill, the “to the foot” command, without any problems. Much depends on the dog’s nature and how quickly he assimilates new knowledge and skills. Therefore, remember to be patient and forbearing.

When you notice that the dog is very reluctant to exercise, give it up for that day. Give him time to regenerate and learn what he can already do.

Remember that training is a learning moment and a good time with our dog. Can your pet perform this command, or is the learning process still ahead of you?

Author: Klaudia, great dog lover

The dog by my side teaches me to enjoy every moment and to perceive each subsequent day as a chance for a new, wonderful adventure. While looking for my soul mate, I found it in a dog's wise eyes.

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