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How to Teach Your Dog to Turn

Learn about how to teach your dog to turn.

When training your dog to respond to various commands, it may not have ever occurred to you to teach this one: turn.

But the turn command can come in handy when you want to redirect your dog away from something dangerous or annoying while the two of you are out walking. It can also simply help you get your dog going in a different direction when you need or want to.

First, Your Dog Needs to Know How to Heel on One Side of You

Before you can teach your dog the turn command, she must know how to walk nicely with you, staying on one side and not pulling or zig-zagging in front of you. If you need help teaching your dog those things, check out these step-by-step articles:

Once your dog knows how to leash walk nicely, you can teach the turn command.

How to Teach Your Dog the Turn Command

First, choose a favorite toy or treat and get your dog to look at it while the two of you are walking and she is heeling nicely. Then, say, "turn," and move the toy or treat the direction you want the dog to turn. Move your body as well, so the dog goes along with you. Give part of a treat as your dog begins to make the turn. You can also click if you use clicker training and use vocal praise.

As your dog gets better at following the turn command, don't give the treat as early. Eventually, give it only after the turn is finished.

General Training Tips

As you think about teaching your dog the turn command, keep in mind this general list of things that can help dog training go more smoothly:

  • Keep training sessions short, usually 15 minutes or less.
  • Train after a play session, so your dog is less energetic.
  • Train when your dog is a bit hungry, so the treat is a bigger reward.
  • Stay positive. Reward for the behavior you want and ignore the behavior you don't want.
  • End on a success, even if you must have your dog do a previously learned command or trick to get it.

You May Also Like These Articles:

How to Teach a Dog to Walk on Your Right or Left

How to Teach a Dog to Heel

Clicker Training for Dogs: An Overview

How to Train Your Dog to Walk Nicely on a Leash

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