Reverse – The End Result

With practice you will be able to ask your dog to reverse and have it walk backwards away from you. This takes time to achieve, so please persevere. How far away from you do you think you can teach you dog to reverse?

Reverse – Shaping

The steps that you will use to teach you dog to reverse with shaping are:

  1. Ask your dog to stand in front of you
  2. Walk towards your dog so that it takes a step backwards
  3. As soon as the dog takes as step backward mark the behaviour with a click or Yes
  4. Throw a reward on the floor between your dog’s front legs so your dog must reverse further to get the reward.

Why should I throw the reward in between my dog’s legs?

Think of what you need to reinforce, this will help you understand where you need to place the treat reward. As you want to teach your dog to reverse, the reinforcement zone and hence the reward, needs to be further away from you.

If you were to reward from your hand, your dog would learn only to reverse with you, and you would never be able to get any distance in between you and your dog.

By placing the reward between your dog’s leg, you are giving value for your dog to step backward to get the reward. In addition, you are developing a sequence that facilitates the rehearsal of the behaviour:

  • Your dog does one step backward
  • You click and reward him in between his front legs (by throwing the treat),
  • Your dog steps backward to get to the treat
  • You click again and reward again

In the next video we’ll demonstrate the shaping technique to teach the reverse with Leo.

With time you will be able to “send” your dog to a reverse without moving.

Reverse taught with the shaping method helps the young dog understand that the reward does not always come from your hand. The result is that your dog starts to be more comfortable to answer to your commands away from you.

Tip: If your dog struggles to reverse in a straight line, try practicing against a wall or behind a sofa to help it develop the skill.