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Tip of the Month

5/2/2013 Train Your Dog To Bow Down & Crawl

Two Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog: Bowing and Crawling

Train your dog to bow down

First up is Taking a Bow, which is also know as a Play Bow. You will see dogs exhibiting this body posture naturally when playing with other dogs. With this training tip, you can get your dog to give the bow on command. Taking a bow is a great way to end when showing off your dog’s tricks. Before you start, you will need some yummy treats and a clicker, if you so choose to use one.

How To Teach Your Dog To Bow

First, hold a treat at your dog’s nose. Slowly begin to move it downwards, being careful not to pull the treat too far from your dog’s body. If you hold it away too far, you may cause him to move forward, instead of down. Allow your dog’s elbows to touch the ground for a few seconds before luring him back up.

Once your dog is standing back up, click and treat. If you choose not to use a clicker, you can mark the behavior with “Good,” or “Yes”. After he is consistently following the lure, you can add the cue. Say “Take a bow” and give him a few seconds to complete the command. If he does not, lure him with the treats again.

Consistency is the key to any training regimen

Make sure you work with your dog on this everyday. Eventually he will take a bow without the lure. You might come across a few problems while teaching this trick. If you do, here are a few solutions.

Overcoming Problems When Teaching Your Dog To Bow

If your dog is lying all the way down instead of just putting his front legs down, try this: Put your arm under his stomach while luring with your other hand. In addition, If your dog is having a hard time learning to bow all at once, you can break it down into steps. We call this shaping the behavior; each time the dog gets closer, click and treat.

How To Teach Your Dog To Crawl

Teaching your dog to crawl is another fun trick and it is fairly simple to teach. To begin, kneel next to your dog while he is lying down. Practice on a soft surface such as grass or carpet. Make sure you have treats your dog loves and that he is hungry when you teach this exercise. Put a treat in your hand and bring it to your dog's nose. Very slowly, move your hand forward. When your dog crawls correctly just an inch or two, mark the behavior with a "Good!" and then give him the treat. Practice this several times.

Make sure your luring hand is not too high above the dog’s nose or else he will sit up. If your hand is too low, his bottom may pop up. Try to move the lure in a straight line from his nose and remember that slow movement is the key to success.

In order to increase the length your dog crawls, you'll need to stand next to him. Use a long wooden spoon with peanut butter on it or attach a small cup to a yard stick and have treats in the cup. For this exercise, you reward your dog when he crawls for a longer period of time. When he succeeds with this nine out of 10 times, begin to say "Crawl" before you start the lure.

Practice this for 5 minutes a few times a day. Eventually, your dog will be crawling on command and without the use of a lure. Remember to always reward your dog and keep training exercises positive and fun. Your dog will love showing off this trick.

If you experience any difficulties while teaching either of these exercises, consult your local dog trainer.

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