Monday, November 3, 2014

Rear End Awareness, Fun Tricks! Positive Pet Training Blog Hop

Today I'm joining Dachshund Nola, Cascadian Nomads and Tenacious Little Terrier for the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop! This months theme is "Rear End Awareness" but any positive reinforcement posts are welcome.

What is Rear End Awareness? Rear End Awareness is about reminding a dog that they have back legs and teaching him/her how to move them. Most dogs forget that they have hind legs. Their back legs just follow along while their front end makes all the decisions. It's a very important foundation behavior if you want to teach advanced tricks and competition heelwork. It's also good for general body awareness and fitness while helping to build muscles.

I absolutely love teaching rear end awareness. I think it's so much fun and there are so many things you can do with it.

Here's a video of Zoe showing off her fancy heelwork and tricks using her rear end awareness at the beach. The video also includes some of my other favorite tricks and we also get washed away by the ocean at the end. It's pretty funny.

There's a few ways to teach rear end awareness and you can even find free videos on YouTube. I initially taught it with YouTube videos but wanted to make it better so I took a Heelwork online class at the Fenzi Academy. I really enjoyed it and learned so much. I'd highly recommend checking them out as they have tons of different classes you can take and they only use Positive Reinforcement methods.

A Few Free Online Resources from YouTube:
 Here's a video of Phoenix when she was first learning to pivot using a book and luring.

Denise Fenzi (owner of the Fenzi Academy) came up with a brilliant way to teach pivoting without the use of a book as well and she also has her technique for keeping the dog's head up called "pocket hand". Here's a video of Zoe learning both "pocket hand" and to pivot without a book. 

Some of my favorite tricks using rear end awareness include:
  • Backwards Circles 
  • Backwards Leg Weaves
  • Heelwork Pivoting 
  • Back Up
  • General Body Awareness
  • Lifting a Back Leg on cue (Zoe and I are currently working on this one) 

Have you taught your dog Rear End Awareness yet? What are some of your favorite tricks?
Comment Below! :)


  1. Those are some great trick ideas. I never know what to teach Lee!

  2. Great video. Gave me some ideas for future tricks. We're working on "marching" right now. Do you have any advice for teaching weaving through legs? I've been using targeting but as soon as I remove hands/stick, he gets stuck halfway through.

    1. Thanks!

      I use the movement of my leg as the cue for weaving, it's kind of hard to explain but we are also still working on leg weaving. Neither of them really like doing it. I am not sure why.. Zoe is fine with backwards leg weaves but not forward ones. Maybe you should do some luring with a fake treat a couple of times to help him out more? Fake treat but he still gets one? Also there's a video by Kris Wilson that's helpful:

  3. Great videos! I love Zoe's tricks! It makes me wish that I had a small enough dog to jump onto my back! I've been hearing lots of good things about the Fenzi Academy. I wish my internet were good enough for me to take a course with them!

  4. I love watching them! And y'all getting washed away made me laugh. :p I have the hardest time with teaching my two pivots. They're so short it just kills my back! I've thought of using a target stick, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  5. OMD!!!! I wish my huskies would do that! BOL! I just couldn't see it though!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  6. I do not know how in the world I missed this post but it is amazing!!! I am so JEALOUS! Rear end awareness has been a challenge for Ziva but now i'm inspired to work on it again! Fenzi is how you learned to teach her? I love her going around you backwards in circles!

    1. I used so many different methods to teach it. I started with Kikopup and Pam's Dog Academy on YouTube, then two years later I took a couple of Fenzi Academy online classes. :D Thank you!!


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