Besides basic commands like sit and stop, you can teach your dog to take a bow. Not only does it look impressive, but it is also super adorable.
Your dog takes a bow by lowering their front leg while their hind legs remain in a standing position, completing a bow or a curtsy. To train and teach a dog to bow, you need treats, a clicker, and a distraction-free zone, where you can use multiple methods to teach your dog to bow by being patient and repetitive.
If you have already taught your basic dog commands like sit, stay, and walk, then training them to take a bow wouldn’t be a problem, and you won’t even have to invest in a professional dog trainer. Dog trainers are costly, and not all dogs are comfortable with strangers. Similarly, not all dogs learn the same way, so if a clicker method works for some dogs, it might not work for yours.
In this article, we will discuss different methods to train and teach a dog to bow and all the things you will need for each method. Let’s get started!
Start with Obedience Learning
Teaching your dog to take a bow could be tricky because your dog might end up thinking you are asking them to lie down or roll over. Thus, you need a lot of treats, be very encouraging, and even try to set the position by hand.
But before we discuss the different methods available to train and teach a dog to bow, you need to start with obedience training. Obedience training is fundamental training for all dogs to increase their attention span and teach them basic commands.
If you feel like your dog still doesn’t properly follow commands, start with foundational training. Use treats and verbal cues to teach your dog commands like sit, no, stay. Whenever your dog performs the right action, give it a treat. Reinforcing positive behavior with rewards is the best technique for teaching dogs.
Methods to Train and Teach Dogs to Take a Bow
We will discuss the top 3 methods to train and teach a dog to bow. If one of them doesn’t work out for you, you can always try the next, but in the end, your dog will be taking a perfect bow.
1. Treats Training Method
The best and most common method to train and teach a dog to bow is using treats. All you need to do is keep your dog’s favorite treat on hand and entice and reward with the treats to teach them a perfect bow.
Things You’ll Need
- Word commands
- Distraction-free area
First, you need to keep your dog in a standing position. Then, hold a treat and place it close to your dog’s nose, and slowly bring it to the ground, so your dog lowers its body from the front.
Make sure that the hind legs are still in a standing position. Then after a few seconds in the bow position, slowly take the treat back up, so your dog stands again at an upright position.
Once your dog completes the bow, use positive words like “good doggy” or “yes” and give them a treat.
Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day for 5 minutes.
You can also add a word command like “bow” or “curtsy” and hand signal once your dog gets the hang of it, so they can bow on command or when you give them a hand signal.
Slowly stop giving the treats and make your dog perform this trick in different locations and in front of other people. If your dog is having trouble getting the hang of it quickly and it’s a little too much for them, start small and divide the steps even further. Reward your dog with treats for performing step 1 and so on.
2. Focus on Front Training Method
The focus on the front training method is similar to the treats method to train and teach a dog to bow. In this method, you will be using treats as well, but put more focus on your voice commands and dominating attitude. A dominating approach does not work on every dog and could be counterproductive. So, if your dog is highly trained and listens to you, go for this method.
Things You’ll Need
- Distraction-free area
Like before, you need to keep your dog in a standing position. Then place a treat in your hand and show it to the dog before closing your fist and push your hand downwards towards the dog’s chest and slide along the floor.
As soon as your dog gets on its elbow and chest, bring your hand back up, so they don’t go into a sitting position.
Once your dog completes the bow, reward them with the treat in your hand and use words to encourage and show them that they did a good job.
Keep repeating the steps again and again and once your dog gets the hang of it, introduce a verbal command like “bow.”
It is also best to perform the bow trick in combination with other tricks that your dog already knows and is good at. For example, ask your dog to “sit” and then “bow.” Then reward them. When your dog starts taking a bow on command, slowly fade out the treats.
3. Clicker Training Method
If you taught your basic dog commands with the clicker training method, we suggest you use the same technique to train and teach your dog to take a bow. Why? Because your dog is already familiar with the clicker method and will get the hang of it quickly, and will perform a perfect bow at the end of the tricks to impress its audience.
Things You’ll Need
- Distraction-free area
Make sure your dog starts in a standing position. You can either use your “stand” command or just ensure they are standing on all fours. Then, use the treats method, and put a treat close to your dog’s nose and slowly bring it to the ground.
When the dog gets on its elbows and chest, keep the position for a few seconds. At this time, if your dog sits down completely, repeat step 1 instead of using your hands to correct the position as it will only annoy your dog. Then bring your hand back up, so your dog stands again.
When your dog stands up and completes a bow, quickly click and reward them with their favorite treats and say words of encouragement like “good doggy,” etc.
Repeat the above steps again and again, and don’t forget to click and give a treat when your dog completes a bow.
During your training sessions, make sure you pair the bow trick with other well-learned and old tricks and perform them in a sequence, so your dog knows that the bow comes at last.
Grabbing Your Dog’s Attention
Training your dog can be a challenging process, and if your dog is not paying attention to you, then you will hardly get any results. That’s why choosing a distraction-free area is important for all training methods. And the same goes for you. If you are also distracted during training sessions, like looking at your phone, talking to someone else, it won’t work.
So if you feel like your dog is having trouble focusing on you and the training, you can try a few different methods to grab their attention.
In this method, all you need to do is put your palm facing side right in front of your dog’s nose and don’t say anything or give clues to your dog as to what to do. Then after a while of consideration, your dog will touch your hand with their paw. Once that happens, quickly reward your dog and use a clicker to show them they did a good job.
Repeat this several times, and now you can use this hand gesture method to grab your dog’s attention before any training session.
Look at Me
With this method, you can maintain solid eye contact with your dog and grab their attention. For this method, you need supplies, and by that, we mean treats.
Hold a treat and place it close to your dog’s nose, then slowly bring it between your eyes. At this time, your dog’s attention should be on the treat, and they should be staring at your forehead. Once your dog holds the attention for a few seconds, use a clicker, give them treats, and use words of praise. Repeat this process again and again but give the treat with your other hand. Soon your dog’s eyes will follow your fingers without the treat. You can also introduce a command like “look” or “watch me.”
Now that you know how to train and teach a dog to bow, you can teach them any other trick using the three methods mentioned above. Use the best approach with your dog and be gentle and patient. You might have to repeat yourself many times and be consistent in your training sessions, so don’t give up.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright