face-to back ... under construction

Canine Freestyle Moves Database

Right-to Back position is dog centred behind handler, facing to handler’s left. Dog’s front and back paws should be on either side of the handler’s feet providing the dog is long enough.

Basic X Pen layout for teaching Right-to Back position. The dog walks straight into position. This simple layout is ideal for helping the dog get used to moving into the X Pen.

Right-to Back
Suggested cue … Be (part of BeHind)

Start with the left end panel fully open to get the dog used to approaching in a straight line. Leave enough room between yourself and the left hand panel so the dog can stand centred behind you. When the dog gets used to this you can turn in the end left panel so that he has to move a bit forward and has just enough room to stand in correct position.


Four views are shown.

Back View

Left Side View

Front View

Right Side View

Click on the picture to view video clip.

With each view the camera remained stationary but the perspective of the X Pen altered to show the handler and pen
         back view ,
         left side view,
         front view and
         right hand view.

The important thing to note here, is, from the dog’s point of view,

  • the location of the X Pen opening is on a different side of the X Pen
  • the “picture”, i.e. the look, of the X Pen is different and
  • once the handler is in the X pen, it is different again, because the handler is facing a different direction.

The wall is also a part of this “environment”. Here, the wall is the only thing that is “constant”. The dog is aware of the “whole” picture and knows when the picture changes; hence “change of context” for the dog.

How To Teach

The dog needs to be comfortable entering and being inside the X Pen before you can use it for training.

Initially set up your X Pen configuration so the dog can walk directly into position (refer to above diagram).
Once the dog is in position click, then treat in position.
Toss a treat to your right, that is just beyond the opening of the pen to make it easy for the dog to return to position.

You may need to assist the dog by luring/targeting him into position to show him what to do. Fade the lure/target as soon as possible. Eventually you want the dog to be able to find position on his own without any movement on your part. The aim is for the dog to target your back or target the back of your legs with the right side of his body and learn this through habituation.

If the dog stands with his rear end angled away from you or he wants to stand in left hand heel position, there is too much gap between yourself and the panel behind you. Narrow the gap. The dog needs to be straight and in correct position.

You can also click then treat for the dog just maintaining position.

As the dog becomes confident, when resetting the dog, toss the treats in the direction around the points of a clock. This enables the dog to learn to return to you and assume position from various directions. Entering the X pen teaches him to always approach the position the same way, regardless of which direction he came from.

When the dog is straight and in correct position 80% of the time you can add the cue.

When the dog has eaten his treat and starts to turn around to resume position, say the cue clearly and distinctly. Once the dog is in correct position click, then treat.

When the dog is coming into position reliably on cue, using the same configuration turn the X Pen 90 degrees left. With this change of context you may need to lower criteria and assist the dog again by luring or targeting him into position. When the dog understands this orientation, move the X Pen 90 degrees left again and repeat the training. Train in all four orientations.

If the dog is learning quickly you can test to see if the dog understands the position in a very wide X Pen configuration. Gradually fade the X Pen.

If the X Pen cannot be faded try a more difficult configuration, like the one in the video clips. This shape makes the dog work harder to reach correct position. The turn in this configuration drives the dog to get into the correct position.

Once the dog understands position without the aid of the X Pen, you should be able to call the dog from any direction using your cue word and he should come and stand in position.

NOTE 1: If you have cued the dog and he comes but does not stand straight in position, NEVER bring out a food lure to get him into position. Ignore it and go back to training.

NOTE 2: Because this position is behind you, unless you have a mirror or an assistant to click for you it is difficult to mark correct position. If you are working alone, take video of your training sessions from the four aspects shown here. The movement of the dog will indicate how to tweak the X Pen layout to give you better results.


 back to teaching position using an X Pen

back to fundamental orientations

back to start