Hier (Front)

Once you have taught the focus and the sit, you may find that the dog is close to being in the front position. This position is easily taught with luring; you place both hands in front of your legs at the dog's mouth height and walk backwards a couple of steps and stop, once the dog is close to you and straight, you can reward with the food. Once they are doing this easily, lift the food so that they end up in a sit. Then you can add the command "Hier".

Keep in mind that, in teaching the front, the competition points are in focus and a straight, close position. You should be able to easily reach down and touch your dog without having the dog flinch or shy away from your hands. If your dog is sensitive to your touch at this stage, take the time to teach him that it is ok for you to touch him while he is in position. To do this, start very slowly with your hands around his face (not actually touching him) and then move forward slowly over time and do many repetitions rewarding the dog for maintaining attention and not shying away. This is important to teach because you will face a problem later with the retrieve if the dog is sensitive to touch in the front position.

It is relatively easy to fade the hand signals with this exercise since you can move them apart gradually until they are at your sides in competition position. As far as a longer distance recall, you can keep the dog on a long line, say its name, and back up quickly, create extra attraction by clapping your hands, and have food available as soon as the dog reaches you.

You can also get a friend to hold your dog, tease him with a toy and run away making excited noises, call the dog, and have your friend let it go, continue running and present the toy as they get close. This also helps to speed up the recall.

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