Dog Training and Teaching Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog To Back Up or Move Backward

Dog Tricks and Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Cool Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog To Back Up or Move Backward

I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.
Teaching dog tricks: backing up

Did you know today is National Backwards Day? I know, crazy, isn’t it? I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.

For our pet dogs, this still is a dog trick or behavior that is more than just a fun trick—it can actually potentially save your dog’s life. How? Imagine you dropped a handful of pills and your dog immediately looked at the spill with enthusiasm. You could just as quickly ask your dog to “BACK” and have him move backward away from the poisonous pills. This split second would then allow you to either follow up with a STAY cue or remove your dog from the situation while you cleaned up the mess.

Or, what about when you are feeding a group of dogs and they are all hovering in the kitchen with anticipation? Using your dogs’ BACK cue again can get all your dogs to back up out of the area. Or when your dog is just too in your face? Same thing? Then, of course, there’s all the cute dog tricks and dog dance moves you can do if your dog knows how to back up.

Today is the day I will teach you how to teach your dog to back on cue. There are a variety of ways to teach your dog to back up. I will go over 2 of the most successful ways.

Teaching a dog to back up in tight spaces.

  1. Grab some healthy and tasty dog treats.
  2. Arrange your kitchen chairs or folding chairs to create an aisle just wide enough for you and your dog to be able to face each other inside, approximately 2′ wide.
  3. You walk slowly backward inside your chair aisle as you encourage your dog to follow you. Before you hit the end of the aisle, take one or two steps forward toward your dog. As soon as he takes one step back, say YES and follow up with a treat. You want to do this very quickly to help your dog walk backward and not sit. If he sits, start over. Timing is everything in this first step.
  4. As you and your dog get the hang of step 3, increase the steps your dog takes backward before saying YES and treating. So, instead of 1 step, he takes 2 steps, then 3, etc. If he ends up sitting, drop your criteria back to where he was successful and not sitting.
  5. When your dog is really getting step 4, start to walk toward your dog as he is walking backward, and allow him to continue to walk backward out of the chair aisle. Now your dog is really starting to get it.
  6. Once your dog is reliably walking backward and not sitting, it’s time to introduce your dog’s cue. Say, “BACK” just before you walk toward your dog. Now, he will start to associate the word with the action.
  7. Finally, remove the chair aisle, ask your dog to BACK, walk toward him, and when he takes a few steps back, YES and reward. Eventually, you will start to fade, then remove, your movement of walking toward your dog and only use your verbal cue, BACK.

Teaching a dog to back up in open spaces.

If you prefer or you do not have 4-6 chairs, you can teach your dog to back up without any props. However, this can be a bit trickier since your dog will have the option of just spinning around, moving in another direction or backing up crooked.

  1. Grab some healthy and tasty dog treats.
  2. Encourage your dog to come toward you, as soon as he does, place a treat right in front of his nose as you walk toward him.
  3. As soon as he takes a step back, say YES and follow up with a treat. Repeat this process until your dog is getting the hang of it.
  4. Once your dog is reliable and comfortable with step 3, wait until your dog takes more than one step backward before saying YES and treating. Then 3, 4, etc. As you progress his steps, watch his body and position. You want his backing up behavior to be pretty straight—if not, you will end up teaching him to circle backward! A trick for another day.
  5. Once your dog is reliably walking backward and not sitting, it’s time to introduce your dog’s cue. Say, “BACK” just before you walk toward your dog. Now, he will start to associate the word with the action.
  6. Finally, remove the food lure, ask your dog to BACK, walk toward him, and when he takes a few steps back, YES and reward. Eventually, you will start to fade, then remove, your movement of walking toward your dog and only use your verbal cue, BACK.

And there you have it. A fun and easy way to teach your dog to back up or walk backward.


Have you taught your dog to back up? Tell me in the comments.

I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.
Pin it

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube  Vimeo

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *