Training Talk: Teaching Your Dog To "Get Back"
“Get Back” is a great behavior to teach your dog. Its helpful going in and out of doorways, moving through crowds, and especially before crossing the street.
To start you will need lots of Dog Treats and a dependable Dog Leash for your dog. Begin with your dog on leash sitting at your left side in heel position. Take a few steps forward with your dog and with a treat in your left hand show it to your dog and move your hand behind your left leg. When your dog follows the treat and is positioned behind you say “Yes!” or indicate with your clicker and reinforce your dog with the treat.
Repeat this exercise several times and then introduce the verbal cue “Get Back”. Up to now the dog has understood to follow the motion of your hand so that he gets a treat when he is behind you. To successfully transition to the verbal cue you’ll need to present a very clear pattern to your dog. It should look like this: Say the cue “Get Back”, allow a brief pause, use your hand signal, when your dog responds indicate with Yes! or a click (if you are using a Dog Training Clicker) and give your dog a treat.
As you work to refine this behavior, slowly phase out your hand signal. Some dogs will catch on very quickly, others may need a little more time. Be sure go at your dog’s pace and not your own!
I find that I use the “Get Back” cue several times a day. It’s especially handy if I’ve got grocery bags in one hand and keys in the other and me and the dogs are all trying to get in the house. I say “Get Back” and the dogs jump behind me. Then I can get in the house without a major catastrophe!
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