working on "back"


New Member
I'm trying to teach Sophie "back" I want her to back up a step when I say this...currently I give the hand motion and say back twice and then push her back and give her the treat. So far she isn't getting it at all. Granted we've only done three training sessions, but if I pause before pushing her back ...she does "shy" (hiding her face with her paw)

Since she learned "shy" she uses it for everything. now whenever she isn't sure what I want her to do, she does "shy" lol it's funny because we never feed her food when we are eating but she will stand a little ways away from the table watching us eat and going through all her tricks...after a while she gets right up close and starts doing what the heck??! i'm doing all these tricks why arent' you feeding me! lol


New Member
I find Mac's most recently learnt trick is always his 'favourite' - the one he expects to win him stuff!

To teach Mac to back up, I captured the behaviour. We used to live in a house that was a bit of a squeeze through the bathroom/toilet/laundry area. Mac would walk backwards to avoid getting stepped on! What I did was introduce a cue to this - I used a swishing hand motion and the verbal cue "b-b". Initially, I was only able to get this behaviour in the wet area of the house, but was able to get it when I asked for it. Then I started asking for it in another less-tight areas, like the passage way.

Alternatively, I have heard of putting a treat in between your feet. Let your dog take it. Your dog will naturally back up away from you to look up. Click and treat for the backing up.

A mistake I made when I was clicking was for clicking the pause instead of the movement. You need to click as backing up is taking place as that is the behaviour you want.

Hope that helps! :)


New Member
I taught "back" the old fashioned way: I put her in "stay", stood inn front of her and slowly started to move forward, causing her to go back to avoid getting stepped on. Sometimes she would sit but I just said no and corrected her. I agree with this tricks it's important to click while the dog is still moving backwards and not when he has stopped!


New Member
Tank is a bugger with this, too. Backing into him doesn't work, because he's learned that if I'm walking in his direction, the easiest thing to do is go to the side to avoid getting stepped on. When I get home I plan on getting two pieces of cardboard and putting them right next to his body so he's forced to go straight back. :dogsmile:


Honored Member
Staff member
With Mud I held a treat above her nose and moved it backwards. For some dogs this is enough, but for others it's good to do this and step towards her. Taking one step may not do it. If you have to keep walking into her, just do it. Don't actually step on her or hurt her, but just encourage her to back up by walking towards her. You can do this in a narrow hallway, or you can do this in a fairly open space.
You can also apply light pressure on her chest, and reward her at the first response to the pressure. With this method it may be best to start with a wall or fence to guide off of. Some dogs will try to sit. Just keep your hand right under them, just in front of their leg. Don't hurt them or push them, just keep it there to discourage them from sitting. The presence of your hand alone should be enough to help them understand that the pressure means to back up, not sit. See which one is best for your dog, and good luck! =)