Teaching your dog to walk backwards can improve his body awareness and co-ordination, as well as being useful if he gets stuck in a tight spot he can’t turn round in, and needs to reverse.
1. Hold a treat near your dog’s chest so he looks down and shifts his weight, and eventually his feet, backwards so he can see it. Mark and treat.
2. At first it may only be one step, but as he gets the idea, build up over multiple sessions to asking for more. At this point you will need to leave your armchair so you can walk with him to encourage him to take more steps.
3. Once he’s consistently walking several steps backwards, add the cue word ‘Back’, and over time fade out the treat to lure him, but keep the hand movement.
4. When you can cue him with word and hand movement, try standing still so he reverses away from you; when he’s mastered this, you can try it from your armchair!
Begin by holding a treat near your dog’s chest so he looks down and shifts his weight — and eventually his feet — backwards so he can see it.