Canine Gym At Home: Back Up (Advanced)

By Lauren Tobin | Updated: August 1 2019

In our last blog we talked about the “Back Up” command and how to properly teach it on a flat surface. At this point, your dog should understand “Back Up” and be able to do it on command. This month, I want to focus on how to challenge this movement to make it more of a full body workout.

My favorite way of challenging “Back Up” is to use a flight of stairs. If you do not have stairs in your home, head to a park or a school nearby and find any kind of stairs. It doesn’t need to be a full set of bleachers, you only need about 5 steps to challenge them in the beginning! You want to start off with the first step then slowly progress to the entire flight. You can also use the curb to start if you do not have stairs in the area!

How To teach It

  • Start with the dog standing in front of stairs 
  • Ask the dog to “Back Up” using his verbal command
  • Start by doing just the first step and rewarding with a treat or toy
  • Once your dog is able to get the first step confidently, then work onto the next step
    • Make sure that your dog’s head is low, and his back is straight. You can help make sure he holds this position while backing up by feeding treats nice and LOW to the ground
    • GO AT YOUR OWN PACE! Every dog is going to progress on this differently than others.

Lauren Tobin


Lauren has her Animal Sciences degree from Penn State University. During college, she worked with both domestic and wild animals, and volunteered at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for 4 years of college and even interned at Central Park Zoo. She is a Certified Dog Trainer from IACP and is a Certified Canine Athlete Advisor for Canine Conditioning. She also holds her CGC/CGCA Evaluator for the AKC.

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