Purpose: A Tuck Sit-Kick Back Stand is a great way to teach a pup about their rear legs, and how to move them independently, and intentionally. A Tuck Sit-Kick Back Stand also teaches a pup to keep their front feet still while moving the rear feet and introduces the square sit position (hocks parallel, stifle tracking straight).
Equipment: Sitting Platform (sides are not required)
Targets: This exercises teaches body awareness, independent limb movement, and begins the process of strengthening the core and shoulder stabilizers to maintain proper alignment.
Once RB knew how to sit squarely on a platform, and was offering that behavior fluently, I just touched his belly lightly with my hand, while changing the placement of reward from high to low. As he began to move his belly away from my hand, the low placement of reward further encourages the rear end to lift and rear feet to step backwards. This is highlighted in the graphic below.
Head ↑ = Butt ↓
Head ↓ = Butt ↑
Watchpoints: The key to this method being successful is that the platform is LOW! Trying to teach this with a platform that’s too high will make the challenge too hard, and encourage flopping / falling vs stepping. Also, repetitions should be kept to a minimum for a young pup. Mental and physical fatigue can show up as a “sloppy sit”, offering other behaviors, inattention, over-arousal, etc. In the foundation phase we’re looking to promote precision to foster understanding… so less is more.
The rear feet won’t move together / simultaneously until MUCH later in the learning process. Getting a young pup to “hop back” with both rear feet simultaneously is not important at all, and can actually create concussive forces on the joints. The Hop Back Stand won’t be introduced until much later in the process.
Necessary Skills: Before training a complex behavior, it’s important to have the individual pieces relatively solid. Before attempting this a pup should be able to
- Be able to follow a treat in hand
- Sit on a low platform