Training your dog to back up or put it in reverse is easy to teach and is a cool trick to show off to your friends and family.
It’s also a useful command and comes in handy in tight spaces or when you just want to get in the door after a long day at work.
How to Teach the Back Up Command
Decide on the command (back up, back it up, or reverse) and stick to it. Be consistent.
Special equipment isn’t needed, but yummy treats are a must.
1. Stand in front of your dog.
2. Hold a treat in a closed fist just below your dog’s nose.
When your dog moves their head to reach it, move the treat towards their chest, take a step towards your dog and bend forward at your waist, slightly crowding your dog space.
Your dog will instinctively take a small step back to create distance between you and them and to also reach for the treat.
3. As your dog steps back, give your command. Immediately reward with the treat and lots of verbal praise.
Gradually ask for more steps before rewarding.
Asking for too many too soon will cause your dog to back up in a curve. One or two steps straight back are better than five or six that curve.
Correcting the Curve
If your dog is backing up in a curve, the fix is simple.
Find a fence or a wall like your hallway or the side of your house. Add chairs to the other side to create a narrow walkway.
Apply the same steps above. The narrow walkway forces your dog to go straight back.
You may not use this command as often as others, so it’s important to practice it once in a while.
I use this command every night when I give my German Shepherd, Cozmo, his after-dinner Bully Stick.
With a little bit of practice, your dog will soon be throwing it into reverse with confidence and ease.