By having your dog behind you, you become a barrier for your dog and whatever you are trying to keep your dog away from, Or perhaps it’s something or someone you are trying to keep away from your dog.

Perhaps you’re trying to keep someone from petting your reactive dog.

It is a polite way to position your dog while you tell someone you don’t want them to pet your dog.

Here’s how you train it.

Step 1 – You can lure or shape the dog to go behind you, clicking and treating when he is in the correct position. Repeat many times to be sure your dog understands the position you are asking for.

You can also teach the dog the position via mat training. Place a mat behind you and either lure or shape him to place himself on the mat, click and treat when he does so. If your dog already knows how to go onto a mat, simply cue him to go on the mat and click and treat. Once he becomes proficient at going behind you on the mat, you can start to wean the mat away.

Now Turn It Into A Game

And have some fun with it.

Step 2 – Now toss the treat to reset him, and have him approach from different directions. You can help him find the position as needed.

Step 3 – Now that your dog understands the task, put a verbal cue on it.

Step 4 – Start asking for “Behind” in different locations. Once he is able to do that well, slowly add some distractions. Remember to keep the fun factor.

When To Use It – Some Examples

Off Leash Hiking / Walking:

When somebody with a dog passes you on the trail and you don’t want your dog to be near the other dog or person. Whether it be related to how your dog behaves or how the other dog is behaving. You simply turn to face the others while asking your dog to go “Behind”.

When an equestrian or bicyclist is passing you. It shows you are respective of their space on the trail. You and your dog should be giving them the right of way. Even if your dog is “ok” with horses or bikes, you don’t know if the horse or bicyclist is “ok” with dogs.

When you have to quickly get your dog in a position, while you need to assess a situation. Such as – is that a snake ahead? Is that an opossum crossing our path?

For Reactive Dogs:

Stopping an unwanted greeting.

Breaking or preventing eye contact from your dog, or by another dog – at your dog.

Putting your dog in a “safe” position, when needed, so he doesn’t have to take responsibility for trying to guard his resource.

Having some “safety” positions that your dog already knows, before heading out on the trail, can come in handy. It will help him AND you. Happy Trails. Happy Games.