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How to Train a Dog to Take a Bow

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To take a bow, your dog leans down with his elbows and chest touching the ground while his rear end stays up. Taking a bow is a cool dog trick, and the perfect finishing touch when showing off all your dog's tricks.

What You Need

All you need to train a dog to take a bow is your dog and some treats. You may also want to have a clicker on hand if you are using clicker training as part of your dog training.

Here's How to Do It

  1. Start with your dog standing up. It's helpful if your dog is able to stand on command. If he hasn't mastered this basic command yet, you may want to work on it before moving on to step 2.

  2. Hold a treat at the tip of your dog's nose, and slowly move it down, holding it close to your dog's body. In this way, you will use the treat to lure your dog down until his elbows are on the floor with his rear end remaining up.

  3. Hold your dog in the bow for a few seconds, and then use the treat to lure him back into a standing position.

  4. As soon as your dog completes the bow and is standing up, tell him "good" or click your clicker, and give him the treat.

  5. Practice the bow command with your dog several times a day for no more than 5 minutes each time. Before you know it, your dog will be taking a bow on command.

Troubleshooting

  1. Some dogs have trouble keeping their rear ends in the air when initially learning this dog trick. To keep his back half up while his chest and elbows are resting on the floor, place your arm underneath his stomach while you use the other hand to lure his front half to the floor. Most dogs will quickly catch on, and after a few practice sessions, your dog will take a bow without you having to hold his back end up.

  2. Some dogs have a difficult time learning this entire dog trick all at once. If this is the case with your dog, you can teach him to take a bow in smaller increments. This is called shaping a behavior, and works really well with clicker training. To do it, you need to begin rewarding your dog for moving in the right direction.

    For instance, if the best your dog can do in the beginning before making mistakes is to follow the treat half way to the floor, click and treat for that. Then start to give treats only when your dog is closer to the floor. In this way, you can select the behaviors that come closest to what you need him to do. In small increments over several training sessions, you can slowly train your dog to take a bow.
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