Activities with Bentley: Between

All you will need to teach this to your dog is your dog’s food or treats.

If you’ve taught your dog to weave between your legs or a similar trick that involves going between your legs, then getting your dog used to being okay between your legs won’t be necessary. This is sometimes uncomfortable for some dogs, and if it doesn’t seem like they’re feeling it, then don’t push it! Always make sure you’re reading your dog and moving at their pace.

You’ll be teaching this command using the luring technique, so grab a handful of food or treats, and begin luring your dog through your legs. As soon as he’s in position – either standing or sitting – mark the behavior letting him know he accomplished what you were looking for. You can use “get it” and then toss one or two pieces of food. This tells him he did what you wanted and he can break from his position to get his reward. Try to mark the behavior right away, this keeps him engaged and anticipating his next reward. Building duration will come later. Practice luring him between your legs into position 8 or 9 times.

Next, if you want him to sit while in between your legs, go ahead and start giving the command to sit. If you prefer he lies down, give the command for that instead. As soon as he sits or lies down, give him the release marker “get it!” to let him know he did exactly what you wanted and he can break to get his reward! Practice this several times until he begins to sit on his own, then you can remove the sit command.

One he’s doing the behavior – including a sit or lie down – without much luring from you, you can name the command. I’ve heard people name this command a few different things including “middle,” “safe,” and “between,” which is what I use. Begin to gradually add duration at this stage too. Start with 5 seconds, then 10 seconds, and work your way up to thirty seconds. Keep it fun and keep him engaged by marking with a “good” and rewarding every few seconds.

Once you’ve got a solid 30 seconds or so where your dog remains in the sit or down until you release him, you can try adding distractions. This is one way to proof your command, or build up your dog’s resilience while under command. Start easy by tossing a few pieces in front of your dog – the further away you toss, the likelier they’ll find it easy to ignore! You may want to leash your dog here as well to ensure they don’t go chasing after the food. Start easy with duration as well, only asking for a few seconds before you release him to get his reward.

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