How to Teach a Dog the Finish Command
Generally when people think of obedience commands they think of Heel, Sit, Stay, Down and Come. These commands are what we consider the basics, but there are additional commands you can teach your dog. One of these is the Finish command.
The Finish command is when your dog is trained to go from in front of you to your left side and stop in the Heel position. It can be trained in a variety of ways, but we generally train the dog to go to our right side and walk behind us to end up on our left side.
Sometimes we will train a dog with what is called a Flip Finish. This entails teaching the dog to come to your left side and then spin their rear end outwards so that they end up in the Heel position. If we are teaching a flip finish it is usually due to owner preference. Generally speaking the traditional Finish is easier on both the dog and handler and is way easier for large dogs. It is tough for a large dog to spin their body properly for a Flip Finish.
You can use any word you want when teaching this command, but we prefer to simply say Heel. The reason is that your dog is learning Heel means much more than don't pull on leash. It also means to stop what they are doing and run over to your heel side. This is a useful command, and it always makes a dog's normal Heel command much tighter since they are learning Heel in a more in-depth manner.
A lot of the dogs we train have behavioral issues and we use obedience as part of their overall Lifestyle Adjustment Plan. Finish is a nice tool to add because it is a new challenge for their brain. When a dog is challenged and fulfilled in their day to day life they are less likely to develop behavioral issues and if they do have issues they will become easier to fix. Once you have mastered the Finish command you should consider a Stand command as well.
We train thousands of dogs per year and would love the chance to help you and your dog! Our Dog Boot Camp and our In-Home dog training programs are highly customized and designed to give you and your dog the best life possible. We focus on obedience commands, leash walking, off leash training, in-home behaviors, socializing, and many other training goals.