While dancing dogs are impressive and adorable to watch, this trick is actually not too difficult to teach. Most collies will be able to pick this trick up after only a few training sessions.
The best way to teach your collie to stand up on their back legs is to hold a treat above their head to encourage them to stand on their hind legs to reach it. Once they are standing, use a verbal command and reward them so that they learn to associate the trick with the command. Standing up like this is an instinctual behavior so it won’t take too long to learn.
In this article, I’m going to go over the exact step-by-step process that I used to teach my collie Luna to dance, as well as some tips to help you teach your own collie this great and impressive trick in only a few training sessions!
How to Teach Your Collie to Stand on Two Legs:
1. Use Treats to get them to Stand on Their Hind Legs
Use treats to guide them into the correct position and to encourage them to “dance”. This means holding the treats above their head just out of reach so that they have to jump up to reach them.
At first, your collie will probably just make a jump straight for the treat, but this is no problem! We’ll fix this in the next step.
If your collie already knows the “beg” or “sit pretty” command they will probably find this one a bit easier to learn.
2. Reward Them for Small Progress
Dancing isn’t something your collie will learn all at once.
Firstly, they will probably jump up to try to reach the treat and immediately fall back down. You need to teach them in stages so they can understand that they are supposed to stay upright for as long as possible.
When your collie is jumping up to reach the treat, try catching their paws or letting them lean against you, so that they get their balance.
Don’t release the treat straight away, until they have stood up for a second or two on their hind legs.
Gradually, lengthen the time until you release the treat so that they learn the command is for standing on their hind legs and not just for jumping up.
3. Use a Verbal and Hand Signal
Once your collie is standing, use a verbal command and a visual command to help them learn and associate the action with your command.
I like to use the command “dance” because other options like “stand” or “up” are useful for other times and it’s important not to confuse your collie by using the same command for two different actions.
Over time, your collie will associate the verbal/visual command with the action and the reward.
4. Cement the Command with Training
This is true for any trick, and also for basic commands. Collies are smart, but over time they will forget things without regular training.
Once you’ve taught your collie to stand up and dance on their back legs, you’ll need to practice every now and then to keep it fresh in their minds and move the trick from their short-term memory into their long-term memory.
As soon as your collie learns the command, try to do a short practice session with them every day for a few weeks, just to really internalize the command for them.
Once they are completing the trick successfully, you can dial down the training and just include it with your regular training/trick sessions.
What Tricks to learn After Dance?
1. Add More Dance Moves!
Consider adding some more dance moves to your repertoire, including spinning, rolling over, and weaving in and out between your legs.
You don’t want your collie to be standing on their back legs for too long, so some of these other moves can give them a rest and let them dance on all fours.
Some other popular collie dance moves include:
- Roll Over
- Weaving between your legs
2. Teach your Collie to Walk on their Back Legs
Once your collie can “Stand” or “Dance” on their back legs, you might want to try teaching them to walk on their back legs too.
Keep in mind that while standing on their hind legs for a short time is a natural behavior for a collie, walking bipedally is not and it will take a lot more training to teach them to walk on their back legs than it did to teach them just to stand/dance.
Even if they can only move a little bit, make sure to reward them for their efforts! Eventually, you will get the hang of it.
An intermediary step could be dancing/standing on their back legs while you hold their paws in the air and walk them forward. Make sure not to hold their paws tightly so that they can jump back down whenever they want to.
Is Teaching your Collie to Dance Safe?
For a healthy dog, there’s no danger in teaching them to dance on their hind legs. Dogs jump up on their hind legs for many reasons, including jumping up and greeting you when you get home and jumping up to a table or high surface to see what’s up there.
The only time it’s probably not a good idea to teach your dog a trick like this is if your collie has hip dysplasia or other hip, rear leg or similar problems that would make it difficult for them.
If this is the case, there are plenty of other tricks like paw, kisses, and howl that will be fun and enriching for your collie to learn without requiring them to put any pressure on their back legs.
How Long to Teach Your Collie to Dance?
It will take a few days to train your collie to dance on their back legs, broken up into several short training sessions. Collies respond best to shorter training sessions. Collies can only really have around 10 – 15 minutes per training session without getting bored or frustrated, so it will take a few sessions to get the hang of any new trick.
Limit your training sessions and purposefully keep them short. Your dog will learn to dance much easier this way and you won’t get too frustrated this way.
Dance moves can be difficult to learn so this won’t be a fast process and keeping sessions short will help keep your own frustrations in check too.
You should always reward them for improving and to end your training sessions on a happy note to keep them interested in further training. Just be careful they don’t get a bit lazy or assume the command means doing that thing for a short period.
Benefits of Dancing with your Collie!
You’re teaching your collie to dance for fun, right? Dance with them while they dance! It’s a great bonding activity and is a great way to test their dancing progress.
Collies are hard-working and have an innate desire to complete tasks and work to please you. They are also super social and love doing activities with you.
Dancing with your collie is a great way to stimulate them mentally, as they will have to listen for your commands as well as complete the moves! It also exercises them physically and gives them much-needed social bonding time with you.
Teaching your collie to dance on their back legs is super easy, and it’s a rewarding trick to learn.
How to teach your collie to stand on two legs:
- Use treats to entice them into the standing position
- Reward them for making progress
- Use a verbal and visual command to reinforce the trick
- Train with your collie regularly (collies love training!)
Once you have taught your collie to dance, you can teach them more interesting dance moves like spin and bow and incorporate them into their training.