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Teaching your Dog to Walk Backward

Teaching your dog to walk backward is the next command I am teaching my Golden Retriever, Daisy. In my last article about dog training I talked about teaching your dog to touch.

Daisy has really done well with that and advanced to touching objects by name. But today I’m going to talk about teaching Daisy to walk backwards.

Here is a short video to show you Daisy walking backward.

You might think that sounds easy but a dog does not naturally walk backwards. If you walk towards them and want them to walk backwards they will by nature turn around and walk forward.

A few little tricks will get your dog walking backwards in no time. There is a recap towards the end of this article that you also might like to use when training your dog to walk backward.

Choose a Narrow Place to start Teaching your Dog to Walk Backwards

As usual I used my clicker for training my dog. You might want to “load” the clicker first by clicking and treating. My dog, Daisy, knows very well that when she hears the clicker she gets a treat so I did not start with that.

Teaching Dog to Walk Backward Area

Limiting the space that your dog has to move around and go wherever they want is the first step. I went into one of our hallways first and tried walking towards Daisy to see if she would walk backwards. No such luck.

I tried walking towards her and all she did was turn around and walk forward. I decided I needed to narrow the hallway even more. I took a couple chairs from the dining room and placed them on one side of the hall.

I went to the very end of the hall and called Daisy to come to me. When she was in front of me I simply walked towards her. I did not say anything. She had no choice really but to walk backwards. When she went backwards I clicked and gave her a treat. I did this five or six times.

Adding the Command in when Training Your Dog to Walk Backward

Next I started to say the word back when I walked towards her. I clicked and treated when she did it. I repeated this probably 8 or 9 times. I then decided to take her into a little more open space. She tried it a couple times but mostly wanted to just turn around and walk forward.

Back to the hall we went. I repeated the steps another 5 or 6 times. Then we went back to the open space and tried. She did it right away! I was so excited! She was excited too because she was getting treats and learning.

The number of times that you have to try these training steps with your dog will vary. But stay patient and do not tell them “no.” They can’t do wrong. Just let them know when they are doing it right. The clicker is my new best friend as far as this is concerned.

A Recap of Teaching your Dog to Walk Backwards

  1. Choose a narrow place to start. Hallways work great. You can make it more narrow by placing a chair or other objects on one side of the hall.
  2. Stand at the end of the narrow area.
  3. Call your dog to you.
  4. Walk towards your dog.
  5. Click and treat when your dog walks backward. Don’t give the “back” command yet. Do this a few times. Maybe even up to 10 times.
  6. Start adding the command “back” or whatever command you choose for this. Tell your dog “back” and walk toward your dog. Click and treat when your dog walks backward.
  7. Try taking your dog into a more open area or remove the objects that have narrowed your training area.
  8. Repeat step #6. If your dog is not ready for this go back to the narrow training area.
  9. Practice several times a day. I like to keep my training sessions to around 10 minutes or so. Daisy is still a crazy puppy and her attention span is sometimes short.
  10. Have a praise party for you and your dog for learning a new trick!

Teaching your dog to walk backward is just one more thing that can help your dog learn. You might be surprised how handy these things will be in your everyday life with your dog.

I am not a certified or expert dog trainer by any measure. If you have your own methods or things to add please comment below.

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Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane is a lifelong dog lover who shares her life with a beloved Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle. Known among friends and family as the 'go-to' person for dog-related advice, she cherishes every moment spent with her four-legged companions. Her days are often filled with outdoor adventures and cozy evenings, all enhanced by her dog pals.