Spider Dog

By Jeff | Feb. 21, 2014

Our next game can be a little bit hard to grasp for the puppy, but helps a lot in terms of teaching them about their hind legs. One of the trickiest parts of this is that your dog may be used to getting all four paws on the board, and in this game we only want their two front paws.

If you don’t have a board for balancing, you can check out our instructions for how to make one for under $10.

Lean your board up against a wall or chair with the bottom on a carpeted surface. You’ll want to make sure it’s steady and doesn’t move. Position yourself so you’re sitting facing the board. It may help to spread your legs out in a V so you make a sort of border to help your dog understand where the rewards will be.

Start rewarding with your dog facing you, slowly increasing the criteria so that by the end the dog is only rewarded for having her rear feet on the board and front feet on the floor. For us the hardest part of this game has been getting her to back up onto the board instead of walking up it and turning around.

Once your dog is doing well with the back paws on the board, sit to the right or left of the board and try to get the dog to put their two right paws or two left paws on the board. Keep it fun and have lots of balance breaks! This part can be very frustrating for the dog (although it can be very funny for you as they try all kinds of contorted positions to get a treat).

Next Steps

Now you’ve got two great games with several different ways to teach your dog how to use their hind legs. Once they become more confident, you’ll see them offering more behaviors in shaping sessions. If you try any of these techniques in Clicker Tracker, tag your sessions spwh. Do you have other ideas to help your dog learn rear-end awareness? Leave your ideas, comments, and questions down below.