dog moving sideways


Experienced Member
I was wondering if anyone has an idea or has taught their dog to step sideways with the handler? I am trying to teach my dog to dance with music and I would like her to follow my lead and step sideways with me. It's a hard one, at least for me.
Thank you. Debby and Belle (a 3 yr. old lab who is really trying)


Experienced Member
I have, but now I"m not sure if I remember how I taught it. I think I taught Lance to pivot in heel first (with their front feet on a book at first and then fading the book) and then slowly started moving sideways, a half inch at first. Lance isn't very good at it for more than 3 steps yet. With Vito, I'm just starting to work on this and am rewarding him for the tiniest shuffle to me. I've also done a little bit of having the dogs wait, while I take one step forward and a couple inches to the right so it's easier than just a straight sideways step.

At a Sue Ailsby seminar, she said that she tells her dog to swing (or the command for finish left) as she moves a tiny bit to the right. But she teaches the swing as more of the pivot to find heel rather than the do a counter clockwise circle to heel I've seen some dogs do.

Good luck! It's a lot of hind end awareness!

maggies mom

Well-Known Member

I am also teaching my dog canine freestyle and I might be able to help. I use the command "pass" hold my palm vertically in front of her (Of course, hiding a treat) wave my palm slightly and gently nudge her side with me knee. Once she takes a step or two...I reward. We did move on to both of us facing the same direction and "passing" together, but I've had to revert to me facing her side and I will take it slower until she masters the command.



Experienced Member
that's a good point about teaching it in front first before moving to heel position. Lance does a lot better with finding "front" then heel. Vito however is currently having a much easier time with pivoting and going sideways in heel then he does in front.


New Member
I taught Guus position "front" first. Then I would step to the side, holding a treat in front of his nose. He'd followed me by moving his front paws. Then I would click for any sign of him piveting his hind legs.

I later expanded it to me turning and Guus turning around me like the arm of a clock. That was quite easy because he'd already learned to keep his position in front of me.


Experienced Member
Here's a video of how many ways you can move sideways with your dog. :o) (of course there are some more)


You can start in a heel position. Then you move a step on the right, and ask for a heel again. Try to get the dog not to sit down. And there you have a sideway heel. :)