How to Stop a Dog From Pacing in the Show Ring

Stop your dog pacing with positive reinforcement.
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In the show ring you will be required to trot your dog so the judge can assess the gait. The trot should be a two-time gait in which the opposite and diagonal legs go in pairs, for instance the front left and back right leg would go forward together. Pacing is when the legs on the same side work in pairs. Sometimes a dog will pace instead of trot, but this is undesirable to see in the show ring. You can break your dog of this habit with clicker training.

Step 1

Put the collar and leash on your dog and go to a space where you have enough room to trot your pet.

Step 2

Run with your dog to encourage him to start going faster than a walk.

Step 3

Pull up on your dog's leash for one stride, if he starts pacing. Pull firmly, but not too hard. This should encourage him to skip from a pace into a trot. If your dog trots straight away, rather than starting with a pace, move straight to the next step and do not carry out this one.

Step 4

Press down on the button on the clicker as soon as your dog starts to trot and then give a treat directly after the click. Your dog will soon learn to associate the sound it makes with the pleasure of getting a treat and will understand that performing the action that goes with the click--in this case, trotting--will earn a reward. This is called positive reinforcement.

Step 5

Repeat the above steps for half an hour each day until your dog stops pacing completely.


  • Once your dog associates the clicker with the pleasure of getting a treat, you will not have to use a treat each time you click, as your dog will be programmed to feel happy just at the sound of the click.

  • Clicker training can be used to reinforce any desired behavior, so once you have stopped your dog pacing in the show ring, you may want to try it for something else.

Items You Will Need

  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Clicker
  • Treats