Cavorting around on her back legs, your dog spins in a circle. Laughing, you direct her to spin again and, gleefully, she complies. Teaching your dog to dance on her hind legs takes practice and time but the end result is a flashy trick, increased hip strength for your dog and lots of time together practicing.
Step #1 - Begin with your dog in front of you, sitting. Show your dog a treat and lure your pup onto her hind legs. While your dog is still on her back legs, hand her the treat and praise her enthusiastically.
Step #2 - Lure your dog onto her hind legs and feed her one treat after another, praising her the entire time she's standing. Gradually build the amount of time your dog spends on her back legs, keeping in mind that strength and balance take time to develop.
Step #3 - Introduce the verbal cue "dance" as you lure your dog into position. Reward your dog every time she complies and praise her enthusiastically. Begin holding the treats in your left hand while signaling with your right so your pup learns to stand up even if you're not holding a treat.
Step #4 - When your dog can stay on her hind legs for several seconds at a time without difficulty, use a treat to lure her in a circle while she's up. Initially, you may only make it a quarter of the way or half of the way around but always reward your dog and praise her. As her muscles and strength develop, she'll begin turning in a complete circle.
By Kea Grace
About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.