How to Train a Puppy to Walk Tall

Hard
1-3 Months
Fun

Introduction

Have you ever seen the YouTube hits of dogs walking around on two legs? Some of them are participants in Canine Freestyle competitions, some are small dogs showing off for a crowd, and others are simply people's pets walking down the sidewalk on two legs! A dog walking on two legs is a sight to behold, and you can't help but be impressed and fascinated when you see it. Although this trick requires a certain amount of natural ability, many dogs can learn it with practice. Why not teach your pup how to be that light on her feet too?

Defining Tasks

Because your puppy's joints and bones are still developing until she is at least one year of age, be very careful while teaching your pup to "Walk Tall". When you encourage her to walk forward, do so slowly and carefully at first, and make sure that she does not fall backwards and land weird. Be patient with your puppy while she is learning this. Although she might grasp the concept of the trick quickly, it will take her time to develop the necessary muscle strength and muscle memory to be able to walk forward on two legs. To help her develop those muscles and minimize the chance of injury, do frequent shorter training sessions, rather than less frequent longer ones. Also, watch her for any signs that she is getting tired and clumsy. End the training session if she is getting tired because she is more likely to injure something while fatigued. When she is rested then you can try again later. Also, only practice this trick on floor surfaces that have good traction and are not slippery.

If your pup tends to be light on her feet and well balanced, then either the "Peanut Butter" method or the "Toy" method will work well for her and might be slightly quicker to train. If your pup is less naturally balanced, then the "Arm" method will provide extra support for her while she is developing the necessary muscles and coordination to do this trick. Although it can take slightly longer to train, it is easier on your puppy's joints and body and can be better in the long run.

Try to be patient with your pup and enjoy the training process. This trick should be a lot of fun for both of you, and it can make you feel very proud of your pooch as she succeeds at walking on two legs.

Getting Started

To get started you will need lots of tasty, soft, easy to eat treats, a calm location with a non-slippery floor surface, and your puppy will need to know how to "Stand Tall". If your puppy does not already know how to "Stand Tall", then you will need a resource with instructions for how to teach that command, such as Wag!'s training article, "How to Train a Puppy to Stand Tall".

If you are using the "Arm" method", then you will need to be able to hold your puppy's weight with your arm and to bend over or kneel down if she is small. If you are using the "Peanut Butter" method, then you will need a spoon with a long skinny handle, and peanut butter, squeeze cheese, or something similar that is dog safe and can be smeared onto the handle of the spoon. If you are using the "Toy" method, then you will need a toy that your puppy loves, and possibly a second toy that is small enough to fit into your hand. With all of the methods, you will need patience, a good sense of humor, attentiveness to your pup's physical well being, and a positive, cheerful attitude to make this trick fun for her.

The Arm Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Teach 'Stand Tall' first
To begin, teach your puppy to "Stand Tall" first, using one of the methods found in the Wag! article: "How to Train a Puppy To Stand Tall".
Step
2
Get ready
Once your pup knows how to "Stand Tall", then grab some soft, easy to eat treats that he loves, and go to a calm location with a non-slippery floor surface.
Step
3
Add balance
Tell your pup to "Stand tall", and when he is standing, hold your arm out in front of his chest for him to place his legs onto and use for balance. If your puppy is small, then you will need to kneel down or bend over for him to reach your arm.
Step
4
Move your arm
When your buddy's front legs are on your arm, then hold a treat on the other side of your arm, away from him, and move both your arm and your treat slowly away from him. Tell him to "Walk tall" as you do this.
Step
5
Reward movement
As soon as your pup takes a step forward, praise him and give him the treat. If he is doing well, then continue moving after giving him the treat and reward him with another treat when he moves again. If he wants to get down, then allow him to.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat luring your pup forward with the treat while he is using your arm for balance. Do this until he is placing less of his weight on your arm and balancing more on his own, and he is taking several steps forward in a row.
Step
7
Phase out your arm
When your pup is putting less of his weight on your arm while he is walking, then offer him just the palm of your hand to use for balance. Practice with your hand until he is depending less on your hand also. When he can balance using the palm of your hand only, then turn your hand sideways, so that he can only use the thin, side part of your hand for balance.
Step
8
Remove your hand too
When your pup can walk using only the side of your hand for balance, then remove your hand and lure him into walking with just the treat. If he begins to lose his balance, then help him by returning your hand to him. Do this until he regains his balance, and then remove your hand again when he is balancing once more.
Step
9
Phase out treat
When Fido can walk and balance without your assistance, then remove the treat from your hand, tell him to "Walk tall", and lure him forward with just your empty hand by pretending like you have a treat in your hand still. When he walks forward, then praise him and give him a treat from behind your back.
Step
10
Practice
Congratulations your pup can "Walk Tall" now! practice this trick until his balance improves even more. Continue to practice this trick regularly for as long as you wish for him to be able to do it, so that he does not lose the muscle strength and memory required to do it.
Recommend training method?

The Peanut Butter Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Teach 'Stand Tall'
First, teach your pup how to "Stand Tall" using one of the methods found in the Wag! training article: "How to Train a Puppy To Stand Tall".
Step
2
Make a tasty spoon
Next, grab a spoon with a long handle, such as a wooden spoon or a drink mixing spoon, and smear a thin line of peanut butter or squeeze cheese down the length of the handle. Hold the spoon by the part that the food normally goes into to avoid touching the sticky mess. Be sure that your peanut butter does NOT contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Step
3
Go to a calm location
When your spoon is prepared, take your puppy to a calm location with a floor surface that is not slippery, and keep your extra peanut butter or cheese nearby to rub onto your spoon again as needed.
Step
4
Tempt him forward
Tell your puppy to "Stand tall", and when he is standing, place the spoon handle in front of him and allow him to lick the spoon. While he is licking the spoon, tell him to "Walk tall", and then slowly move the spoon away from him in a straight line, to encourage him to walk forward.
Step
5
Remove the spoon
As soon as your pup stops walking forward, remove the spoon so that he is only being rewarded for forward movement.
Step
6
Be mindful of rest
Refill the spoon if needed and then practice this trick some more. When your puppy starts to show signs of being tired or becomes more clumsy, then stop the training to let him rest, and go back to this trick later when he is ready.
Step
7
Practice
Practice this trick until Buddy can take several steps in a row without falling or getting tired. When he can do this, then tell him to "Stand tall", then when he is standing tell him to "Walk tall", but this time hold the spoon a few inches away from him, so that he has to walk to the spoon before being allowed to lick it.
Step
8
Add steps
Gradually hold the spoon farther and farther away from him as he improves, so that he has to walk several steps to the spoon before being rewarded. When he can walk several steps in a row to the spoon, then replace the spoon with a single treat that he receives after walking to it.
Step
9
Keep practicing
Continue to practice this trick often to help your pup improve his balance. Congratulations on teaching your buddy how to "Walk Tall"!
Recommend training method?

The Toy Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Teach the precursor trick
First, teach your pup how to balance on his hind legs by following one of the methods found in the Wag! article: "How to Train a Puppy To Stand Tall".
Step
2
Grab toys
When your puppy can balance on his hind legs, then grab one or two of his favorite toys and go to a calm location with a floor surface that has good traction.
Step
3
Encourage walking
Tell your pup to "Stand tall", and then when he is standing tall, hold a toy that he loves right above him. Tell him to "Walk tall", and then slowly move the toy away from him in a straight line, so that he will take a step forward in order to grab it. If the toy gets too far away and he has not taken a step, then move the toy closer to him again and then repeat moving it away. Do this until he takes a step forward.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as he takes a step forward, praise him, give him the toy, and then play with him with the toy for a few seconds before repeating the trick again.
Step
5
Try, try again
Repeat telling Fido to "Walk tall" and luring him forward with the toy. Do this until he can take several steps forward in a row.
Step
6
Phase out the toy
When your buddy can take several steps forward in a row, then pretend like you are holding a toy in your fist. Lure your puppy forward with your empty fist while you tell him to "Walk tall". When he walks forward, then praise him and give him a treat from behind your back.
Step
7
Try a small toy first
If your pup will not follow your hand forward, then practice this trick with a toy that is small enough to fit into your hand first. Do this until he has mastered the trick with the small toy. When he has mastered it, then try without the toy again.
Step
8
Decrease your hand use
When you buddy will "Stand Tall" when you tell him to, and will follow just your hand forward, then make the hand signal more subtle by moving your hand less and less each time. Do this until he will eventually take several steps forward after only briefly being shown your hand.
Step
9
Keep practicing
When your pup can "Walk Tall", then practice it until his balance improves even more and he can walk forward even farther. Continue to practice this trick regularly so that your buddy will not lose the muscle strength and muscle memory that he has acquired in order to do this trick
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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