Can Dogs Walk Backwards? Interesting Facts

You may not want to read on if you hate dogs, but if you have a dog (or are thinking about getting one) then you should know that it can actually walk backwards.

How Dogs Walked Backward: A curious dog owner follows the path of a local animal behaviorist who has a theory about why some dogs “walk backward.”

A study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2014. shows that, yes, dogs can walk backwards, or even crawl backward.

Can Dogs Walk Backwards?

Can Dogs Walk Backwards?

Dogs can engage in a variety of unusual activities that pet owners find perplexing. It might be a one-time phenomenon as a reaction to a certain scenario, or it could represent the eccentricities of an individual dog.
They frequently produce excellent material, which you may have seen become viral on the internet. A video of a dog walking backwards will, for example, get a lot of views. Is it, however, normal for your dog to walk backwards?

Signs Why Your Dog is Walking Backward

There are a variety of causes for a dog to start walking backwards. It’s crucial to understand your dog’s regular patterns and actions in order to figure out why he’s going backward. Some canines are afraid of what they see in their own homes. They may be afraid of a doorway or a slick floor, so they take a step backward to feel protected. A neurological disease is emerging in certain dogs. To figure out why your dog walks backwards, you’ll have to pay attention to the conditions in which he does so. You may notice traces of nervousness in a dog’s physique when it feels afraid. The appearance of a terrified pet is tense. The dog may tremble and hide. It is permissible to tuck the tail. When confronted with the fear, your dog may moan and cry. With its ears down and tail tucked, the dog will appear afraid. When confronted with a cause of fear, your dog may hide and stare at you. If backwards walking is linked to a fear reaction, the actions described here may be relevant. Because the signals in the dog are similar, it might be difficult to distinguish if the behavior is caused by fear or a neurological condition. In both cases, the dog may appear to be trembling, sobbing, or shaking his head. When a dog is fearful, has a hindquarter ailment, or is experiencing neurological confusion, they will back up. Your dog may be in discomfort, and the motion of going backward provides some alleviation. Additionally, your dog may begin to act strangely as a result of his lack of food, seeming bewildered and weak. These are major warning symptoms, and you should get your dog examined by a veterinarian.

What Causes a Dog to Walk Backwards?

Can Dogs Walk Backwards?

If you’ve ever had a dog, you’ve definitely witnessed a dog momentarily walk backwards in a number of situations. Let’s have a look at some of the causes behind this strange behavior.

Anxiety and Fear

A dog going backwards might indicate that it is in pain or suffering. If a dog has been trained to use the potty outdoors, they will give their owner several cues and behaviors to signal that they need to go outside. A dog may indicate pain from trying to hold in their feces if these symptoms go undetected. Backwards walking might be a hint that you need to open the door.
Have you ever chastised your dog for misbehaving? You may have observed that your dog walks backwards, maybe with his tail between his legs. They’re unsure and afraid of being punished, so they’ll walk away backwards in case you criticize them again. In humans, we have a similar feature in that we do not want to turn away from a threat.
A dog going backwards, in addition to anxiety, may not be as unusual as we assume. It’s possible that walking backwards is more pleasant for a dog than ordinary walking.

Flexibility and mobility are important.
Why do dogs like to move backwards is really based on science. Weight is significantly concentrated in the front legs of dogs, according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
I’ll save you the technical jargon, but when dogs need to get out of a position where forward mobility is restricted, they will go backwards, with their rear legs leading the way.
These are some of the behavioral reasons why a dog could walk backwards, however backward walking can also be taught to dogs. Let’s look at how to accomplish that in more detail below.

History of Dogs Walking

Do you have any idea how your dog walks forward? Regular walks are necessary for your dog, and they are the most enjoyable part of the day for both of you. Could you describe how your dog travels ahead if someone asked you to explain how they move their forelegs and hind legs to travel?

According to scientists, the first accurate pictures of how four-legged creatures move occurred 120 years ago in Eadweard Muybridge’s works released in the 1880s. According to a recent research, taxidermists, anatomists, and toy producers are around half of the time incorrect in their portrayals of how dogs move.

This is how all four-legged creatures walk: They begin by stepping with their left hind leg. Their left foreleg takes the next stage. They next take a stride forward with their right hind leg, followed by their right foreleg. Is that clear? The body is constantly supported by three triangle-shaped legs. It is the safest mode of transportation. The timing of their steps is the sole distinction between four-legged animal species. Although a horse may prance, a cat may prowl, and a dog may strut, their legs all move in the same way. This is the path that four-legged creatures use since it gives the most stability!

The Science Behind the Way Dogs Walk

Understanding how dogs move, their physiology, and whether your dog’s motions are signaling that something is wrong is a science. The dog’s structure allows them to move their bodies in various ways than other animals. These three characteristics distinguish the dog: 1. Dogs’ spines are flexible, their loins are lengthy, and their abdominal muscles are powerful. These traits allow the dog to stretch out like a Greyhound sprinting. 2. Two of the lower bones of the front legs are separated, allowing the dog’s legs to rotate, allowing them to revolve like a steering wheel. 3. Dogs have feet that can grasp the ground, allowing them to sense the ground and move more quickly. There are four fundamental gaits in dogs. The walk, trot, rotary canter, and rotary gallop are the four primary canine gaits. The slowest gait is walking. The only gait in which three feet are on the ground is this one. Wolves are thought to be able to go 100 miles every day because they trot. When the diagonal feet move together, it is called the “Trot.” The “Canter” is an agility gait that is only employed by dogs 10% of the time, if at all. Right rear, left rear-left front, right front, or the reverse of this pattern would be the sequence of footfall. The canter allows the dog to be propelled from behind and has increased agility. Imagine a Greyhound on the run when you think of the “Gallop.” The front lead foot stretches forward with the extended spine, followed by the spine curving and the hind legs coming forward to meet the front legs.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Walking Backwards?

Can Dogs Walk Backwards?

Make a note of your dog’s body language after you’ve discovered that he or she is going backwards so you can find out why. You can then take appropriate action. You’ll have notes on your dog’s behavior when they were walking backwards if you need to call the vet.

If your dog’s fear response is a persistent issue, you may want to seek the assistance of a trainer so that your dog may learn a few coping methods. If this is the consequence of a trigger for a previous trauma, it may be a difficult condition to cope with.

Caring for a nervous or anxious pet can be a difficult task. The behavior may scare you at first, but once you’ve worked out what’s causing it, you and your veterinarian can work out a strategy to make your dog more comfortable.

If this is an indication of pain, you should seek treatment from a veterinarian. Although your dog may not be able to communicate with you verbally, they will find methods to do so if you keep your eyes and ears open.

If your dog’s backward walking cannot be explained by any of the aforementioned factors, it is most likely a habit that is unique to your dog. Encourage your dog to walk properly and reward them with treats.

However, if it isn’t a distressing tendency, you may just leave it alone and embrace it as a charming quirk! Perhaps your dog will appear in one of the internet’s popular videos!

How to Train Your Dog to Walk Backward

There are also methods for teaching your dog to walk backwards in order to sharpen them. While walking, this can also be a method for your dog to engage a new set of muscles (the same applies to you as well).

Positive reinforcement and the proper command are required for your dog’s success. This training session might also be held in a tight hallway or corridor so they can’t run sideways.

When you approach your dog, he or she will naturally back away. When they do this, you may reward them with a treat to show them that their behavior is desirable.

Rep this practice with whatever command phrases you like, such as ‘Retreat’ and ‘Stay.’ This is not a one-day workout and will likely require some patience.

The training methods you use may need to be altered depending on the breed you’re working with. Other dogs are more obstinate than others, while some dogs are sensitive and don’t respond well to harsh tones.

You must convince your dog that this exercise is vital; otherwise, they will be perplexed as to why this is taking place in the first place. If you’re attempting to teach a youngster anything, instead of forcing something that doesn’t make sense to them, you could want to break the activity down for them.

Though you can’t reason with a dog in the same way you can with a child, you may use comparable teaching methods to help your dog comprehend you better. Take things slowly and allow your dog time to figure out what you’re looking for.

Training Your Dog to Walk Backward

Begin with the basics. Food, a leash, a clicker, and a calm setting are all required. Using a tight location, such as a corridor, to assist focus the dog on the backward movement is one approach of accomplishing this training.

To teach your dog to walk backwards, he or she must first master the “Stay” command. Take a few steps back and face your dog. Then take a step forward toward your dog. The dog should take a natural backward stride. Provide a reward, such as a treat or praise, if this happens. Rep with your command word of choice, such as “Back” or “Rear.” Repetition is key, as is practice, practice, practice!


Can Dogs Walk Backwards? The answer is yes, they can and some do! It is believed by many that dogs are not truly “intelligent” in the sense that we humans are. They are very capable of learning and retaining information, but they are not necessarily “smart” in the way we understand the word. However, there are certain things that all dogs (and people) seem to have an innate ability to do, like walk on a lead, climb stairs backwards, or jump up on something, put their front paws on a stable surface, and then push off with their back feet… and… stay balanced! These are things that even babies seem to master instinctively. We often label these things as “animal instinct” or “born with”, but that doesn’t seem to be a proper description. We don’t really know the true reason why, but we do know that these things are so natural to all of us that it almost seems like they are a part of our genetic makeup. Why do I bring all this up? Well, there’s a common sales technique that works for people… and… it usually does NOT work for dogs. People learn very easily. If you give them information, teach them a process, and allow them to practice enough… they will “get it” and then some! On the other hand, dogs are not born with any kind of innate intelligence. They have to be taught (trained) and they have to learn by doing. This means that most people who deal with dogs on a daily basis are frustrated because they seem to “just know” certain things (like how to pick up after their pets) that almost seem to be a part of their genetic makeup… but… they have to be taught those same things! The truth is, no matter how smart or “intelligent” a dog appears

Princy Hoang

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