Teach Your Dog the U-Turn

While it may sound like driving a car, teaching your dog the u-turn can save both of you a lot of aggravation or worse.

The idea of the u-turn is to have your dog turn in whichever direction you want to go without having to yank on the leash. Knowing the command to u-turn becomes very handy when trouble might lie ahead – for example, another dog approaching.

You’ve already taught your dog to walk at heel and the signal you use to have him/her look at you on command. However, the “look at me” doesn’t always work when your dog is becoming excited or you are face to face with a situation.

If your dog does not know how to walk at heel, don’t let him/her get too far ahead (a body length is enough) so that there is no pulling on the leash.

Getting started:

dog u turn chasing tail

Before beginning training, be prepared. Have some favorite treats or toys handy. Choose a word that will be used only for the u-turn command. I’ve made mine simple and use the word “turn.” Now you’re ready to begin.

Take your dog for a walk at heel where there will be no distractions, preferably a quiet area. Using your turn word in a happy excited voice will encourage your dog to follow willingly. Offer a treat and praise as your dog follows your lead.

Practice until your dog understands the turn. Then gradually add distractions.  It can be  a person s/he knows seen from several yards away, then sniffing at an interesting spot, a truck or motorcycle, children and so on.

When your dog responds well in these circumstances, you can add another dog from a distance away. Mix it up, a dog pal, then a strange dog.

Keep practicing each time you walk your dog so that if a problem crops up, you and your dog are prepared.


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