As we have seen until now, dogs are good at doing tricks with their Front Legs and Paws. In this Topic you will start working with your dog’s hind paws.

Your final challenge with hind paw targeting tricks will be to teach your dog to give a hind paw on command. Yes, it is possible!  But it is a little bit more challenging as not all dogs have a good “understanding” of how to use their hind paws for tricks.

Over the coming weeks, you are going to work on some more simple tricks that encourage the movement of the hind paws to develop your dog’s awareness of their hind paws.

The first trick concentrating on your dog’s hind paws is going to be to get them to touch on an object so that their back paws are higher than their front.

You will need a Gym step or a Yoga step that is suitably large enough for your dog.

As your dog naturally has a less conscious awareness of where its back feet are in relation to its front, work the trick slowly and calmly so that it makes the association that it is being rewarded for its Hind paw position rather than what it is doing with its front paws.

The key steps for this trick are:

Stage 1: Luring

  1. Use your On it trick to get your dog to put its front paws on the step
  2. Lure your dog forwards from the On It position so that its front paws are now on the ground and both its hind paws are now on the step.
  3. Whilst in this position, reward your dog so that its head remains low to the ground and start to introduce the Touch verbal cue whist your dog is in position. This is the verbal cue that you will eventually use as a command for your dog to perform this trick unaided. Keep rewarding generously to give value for the position and repeating the verbal cue whilst your dog stays in the correct position so your dog associates the word with the behaviour.
  4. Decide of a release word to release your dog from the position. The release word is important as your dog needs to understand how long it needs to stay in the position and when the trick is over
  5. Use your release word and Lure your dog forwards again so that it walks of the step and has all four paws on the ground.

Stage 2: improve the accuracy and the duration

  1. When repeating the trick, remember that you can approach the step from either side. Also do the trick with your dog on your left and right hand sides so it does not learn to consider that your position is a component of the trick.
  2. As your dog improves at holding the touch position, start to dissociate your position from the step and your dog.  Gradually move away from the step and your dog and whilst your dog is in position. Do not forget to always use your release cue so your dog gets confident in understanding when to release itself.