Company of Animals

Teaching “middle”

Here is why teaching “middle” is one of the best things you’ll ever do with your dog:

Priceless bonding

Imagine how you feel when you hug someone or hold their hand… safe? Happy? Connected? That is what “middle” will do for your dog. It also means they can communicate with you. If they are worried or scared and deploy the “middle” position without being asked, you know something is up. How cool is that!

Reliable recall

As your dog starts to learn that being in “middle” reaps rewards it will become their happy place and will never pass up the chance to be there! This is fun and useful for your recall games and practice. It’s also very handy should it become time to put the lead back on.

Managing sticky situations

“Middle” is unbelievably useful when it comes to managing a nervous or reactive dog. By getting them to adopt the “middle” position you can distract them from the dog/person/thing they are scared of and help them to focus on something positive. It can also help to give wildlife the chance to escape an otherwise exhausting or potentially traumatic chase. Calmly call “middle” and spin around to face another direction – crisis averted!

Calmer vet visits

Get ready to become “teachers’ pet” at the vets with “middle”. Remember, by this point, “middle” is a calm and happy place for your dog to relax so you can patiently wait your turn. The real magic with “middle” is during your appointment. By being in the “middle” position, you can reassure your dog and help build a positive association with the vets while giving the practitioner a calm patient to vaccinate or examine. Gold star for you!


Sadly, thefts are at an all-time high at the moment and “middle” should be your weapon of choice should you be confronted or intimidated. Even if you meet someone asking strange questions… “middle!”

Tip-top training tool

When you start a training session all parties want to get “in the mood” and how better to start than with some quick wins. You’ll be setting the tone and warming up their brain ready for work.

How to teach “middle”

  1. Take a high value treat in both hands
  2. With one hand lure your dog behind your legs
  3. With the other hand use the treat to lure them through so that they are standing between your legs
  4. When they are standing or even sitting nicely between your legs say “middle” and feed them a few treats in a row… yum yum yum!
  5. Hold your dog’s collar or say, “leave it”, throw a treat out in front of you and say ‘OK’ to release them
  6. Repeat frequently to master but always end on a high, don’t wait for you and your dog to get tired or distracted

Fiona Whelan ~ Pet Behaviourist

Fiona has been working at the Training and Behaviour Centre as a behaviour specialist since 2002, and previously ran her own training and behaviour establishment in Lincolnshire for seven years so has a wealth of experience as a behaviour counsellor.