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Teach Your Dog a Flip Finish Trick

Boost your pup’s heel work with this flourish.

by Sandra Mannion, CPDT
September 1, 2014
Dog wearing harness sitting in the sand outside next to her owner waiting for a training command
Marco Reggi / Stocksy

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

If you’re looking for some advanced dog trick training lessons, we’ve got one for you. The Flip Finish trick is a nifty (and pretty convenient) trick that teaches your dog to move from a sit front to heel position. This maneuver can be a really fun trick to learn for a motivated dog and pet parent.

Picture the finished exercise: On cue (a small sweeping hand signal), your dog follows your lead, changing from a “sit front” into a heel position on your left side. Sounds easy, right? For dogs, this is a complicated series of movements that eventually add up to one final behavior.

The initial steps involve breaking the behavior down into three small parts, with multiple tasty rewards for each. It’s important to “mark” the points described below so your dog understands exactly which actions to repeat.

Here’s how to start:

1. Have your dog in a “sit front” position.

First, start by having your dog sit in front of you, facing you in the “sit front” position. To focus their attention, hold both hands in front of you, with a treat in the left hand.

2. Say the dog’s name with the command “Flip.”

You’ll say their name and the cue “flip” while stepping back with your left foot, luring your dog away and behind you with your left hand. Mark with a “yes” and reward once they pass you.

3. Step and lure them forward.

Quickly step and lure your pup forward into heel position while raising your hand above her head and saying “sit” once they’re at your side. Mark with a “yes” and reward again.

To further practice, keep them in a sit and pivot around to face them so they are toe to toe in the “sit” position in front of you.

As you and your dog because more fluid in your movements together, gradually fade the steps and luring until they can flip from a sit front into heel position while you stand still.

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Sandra Mannion

Sandra Mannion, CPDT

Sandra Mannion is an Albany, Calif.-based dog trainer and animal behavioral consultant.