Dog treats are a great tool when training your canine companion. If you are searching for a new trick that is relatively easy, then consider adding the bow to your pet's portfolio. Before you begin, make sure you have already gone over the basics and your pet knows them well. This would include sit, stay, and a recall. If you have not yet worked through these commands, do them first. The bow is not difficult, but it is slightly more advanced. Plus, by beginning with the very basics first, you and your pet will learn how to work with each other and develop a bond that is necessary to move on to advanced commands. If you are confident your pet will execute these basic commands even without dog treats, then you can begin to teach the bow!
What is the Bow?
The bow is very simple. If your pet knows how to do it, then on your command, he or she will lower the front half of their body to the ground, leaving their rear in the air. By doing this, they will appear to be giving a bow. The gesture is similar to a typical dog "play" movement, with the rear end kept high in the air. The idea is you will teach your dog to do this and remain in the half-lowered position until you give a command to get up or lay down entirely.
Step 1: The First Gesture
Put your pet in a standing position with dog treats ready to be delivered. Keeping them in your pocket is a good idea so your hands are free to help guide your pet. Tell your dog to stay. You may want to teach a stand command first, this will help you get your pet into position without confusing him or her. Once you have your dog's attention and he or she is standing, it is time to begin. A clicker can also make the learning process work much faster.
Step 2: Downward Motion
This is not a foreign movement to your dog, after all puppies put their rears in the air to indicate playtime at an early age. However, your pet is not accustomed to you telling them to be in this position, so prepare for set backs. Begin by urging your dog to lower his or her head by guiding the movement with your hand. Every time your pet lowers his or her top half and leaves their rear up, give dog treats as a reward. If their rear goes down during this process, avoid a negative reaction. Instead, calmly reset their position, making them stand again. Only give dog treats as a reward for the right movement. No reward should be given for incorrect movements.
Step 3: Holding the Bow
Once the dog treats and praise have taught your pet that you want him or her to lower their top half, it is time to teach them to hold the bow. Always use the same command through each repetition to avoid confusion. Once your pet has achieved the right position, give a stay command and observe. Your pet's focus should remain on you and he or she should not move. After a few seconds, give a release command to allow your pet to stand again (or a lay down if you prefer to have them go into a lay position). Always give dog treats after your pet has successfully waited for your word to release the bow position. Practice this and your pet will be doing it without the dog treats in no time!