Back Up

Back Up

Purpose:  This behavior can be used as a neat trick to impress your friends by showing them how your dog can back away from you.  Or it can be a useful behavior for the dog that likes to crowd you when you walk through the door.

Criteria:  Your dog backs away from you walking backwards in a straight line (as straight as possible).

Visual Que:  With your hands at waist level flick your fingers towards your dog.  Verbal que:  ‘Back’.

Behavior Pyramid:

  1. Many times you can capture this behavior if you know when your dog is going to do it.  For example, I know my dog backs away from me if they are behind me and I turn to leave the bedroom.
  2. When your dog starts to back up you can click, treat, and say ‘back’.
  3. As they are reliably backing up from you add your hand signal.

Behavior Pyramid:

  1. Stand with your dog in front of you.
  2. Slowly and gently take a step in towards your dog.
  3. When your dog takes a step back away from you CT, and say ‘Back’.
  4. Repeat the above 5 times CT when your dog takes 1 step back.
  5. Slowly start to increase the amount of steps your dog takes.  Do this 1 step at a time, repeat several times before moving onto the next step.  For example:
    1. Dog takes 2 steps back CT, and say ‘Back’ repeat 5 times
    2. Dog takes 3 steps back CT, and say ‘Back’ repeat 5 times
    3. Dog takes 4 steps back CT, and say ‘Back’ repeat 5 times
    4. Your dog MUST succeed with the number of steps you are working on 5 times in a row before moving onto an additional step.
    5. Once your dog is stepping backwards with you for 5 steps reliably, stand still and give visual and verbal que.  Expect your dog to only take 1 step back.
    6. Repeat step 7, 5 times.  Slowly start to increase the number of times your dog steps back.


My dog sit’s when I walk towards him.

Step into your dog, almost so that your foot is under their chest so they cannot sit down.  CT the slightest movement back without sitting.

My dog turns when I start taking more than 2 steps towards them.

Work on this behavior in a narrow area such as your hallway, in a door frame, between the back of your couch and wall.  If you have an exercise pen you can create a narrow path with the pen and your wall.  This will prevent them from being able to turn.

My dog will not step back without me stepping with my dog.

This will be the hardest part for your dog to understand.  You’ve been working hard for him to understand to move back when you step towards them.  Be patient.  Stand still, give the visual and verbal que, count to 5 in your head, if your dog does not move back step towards them.  CT their movement back.  The key here is to be patient!  Give your dog the opportunity to think about what you asked him to do.