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  • Writer's pictureFiona Alder

Dog Trick Training - The "Middle" Cue

Updated: Mar 5

Teaching your dog new tricks is not only a fun activity, but it also helps to strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. One such trick that you can teach your dog is the "middle" cue, where your dog learns to come and sit between your legs on command. This trick is not only impressive to show off to your friends, but it can also be useful in certain situations, such as crossing a busy street or navigating through a crowded area and really help build value around you in the park (great for recall!). Follow these seven steps to teach Middle.

Training a dog the middle cue

Step 1: Prepare Treats

Before you begin training your dog, make sure you have plenty of treats on hand. Choose a type of treat that your dog really loves and that is small enough to be given quickly and easily. I would also recommend using a clicker or a verbal marker, such as "good" to help your dog understand what you are rewarding to speed up training.

Step 2: Lure Your Dog Behind You

To start training your dog, get their attention by calling their name or making a noise that they associate with positive things. Once your dog is stood in front of you, hold a treat in front of their nose. Move the treat (with your dog following) around your side, until your dog is behind you. Click or say "good" and give the treat as a reward. Repeat this 5 times

Step 3: Lure Your Dog Between Your Legs

This time, once your dog is behind you, use a treat in your other hand to encourage your dog to follow your hand & go between your legs. Once your dog reaches the space between your legs, click or say "Good" and give them the treat. Repeat this 5 times. After 5 repetitions remove the food lure so you dog is following your hand movements rather than the food.

Step 4: Ask your Dog To Sit

When your dog can easily go around your side & then between your legs, add a sit to the exercise. Ask them to sit, click or say "good" as soon as they do and reward. Continue to practise all three steps together in short sessions so your dog learns to follow your hands and go into position.

Step 5: Add The Cue Word & Increase Duration

You can add the "Middle" cue when you are happy that your dog knows what to do. Say the cue first, then give the hand signal for them to follow. Practice with your dog in different environments, both indoors and outdoors, and gradually increase the duration of the time they are expected to stay in the middle position. Remember to reward your dog with treats and praise.

Step 6: Add Distance

Once your dog is comfortable with the "middle" cue, you can start to increase the distance between you and your dog. Start by taking a few steps away from your dog and then calling them to come to you and sit in the middle position. Gradually increase the distance as your dog becomes more comfortable with the command.

Step 7: Practice Regularly

Practice the "middle" cue regularly to reinforce your dog's behaviour and make it a habit. Remember to keep training sessions short, no more than 5-10 minutes at a time, and always end each session on a positive note.

Teaching your dog the "middle" cue takes time and patience, but with consistent practice and positive reinforcement, your dog will learn this impressive trick in no time. Remember to have fun, stay positive, and always reward good behaviour with plenty of treats and praise.

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