How to Teach a Dog to Bow

If your dog is already familiar with some basics such as sitting and lying down at your command, you should be able to teach your dog to "take a bow" as well. It's an amazing trick that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!


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    Make sure that your dog knows how to come, sit and lie down on command. Your dog should also know what his name is and be responsive to it. If he can't do these things reliably, you will need to teach him these basic commands first.
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    Have your dog stand facing you, about two feet (60 cm) away. Hold a treat or toy so that he can see it, but don't let him eat the treat yet. If necessary, wave the treat a little to be sure that he is paying attention.
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    Holding the treat in your hand, wave the treat downward (or even drop it to the floor). He should lower his head to keep his eyes on the treat.
    • Immediately praise and pet him.
    • Let him have the treat and take out another one in readiness.
    • If using a clicker, click just prior to giving your dog his treat.
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    Repeat this for a few times to get him used to the movement and receiving a reward. Don't worry if your dog stands up straight away. He will learn to associate the treat (and clicker if using) with the movement after repetition.
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    Add the verbal cue. Say your dog's name, then add an appropriate phrase, such as "Bow" or "Stretch". Say the word as your dog gets into position, for example, "Fido! Bow!".
    • Use your hand coming down to the floor to indicate to your dog to bring his head to the ground.
    • Give the treat as before. If using a clicker, click just prior to giving the treat.
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    Repeat the trick a few times.
    • Continue with the verbal cue and moving your hand to the ground.
    • Switch to a pretend treat. When you open your hand on the floor, it should contain nothing.
    • Instead, give the treat after opening your empty hand. Give the treat with your other hand.
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    After several repetitions, try giving the "Bow" or "Stretch" command without moving your hand to signal.[[Image:Teach a Dog to Bow Step 7.jpg}}
    • Give your dog lots of praise and treat every time you see the desired bow action. You can use the praise and treat method to reward natural bows every time that you see them, provided you associate the praise with the word "Bow" or whatever word you wish to use. By association, your dog may learn to bow naturally.
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    • Always reinforce an action you have taught your dog with praise treats and love.


  • Be calm and don't make sudden movements. If you are excited, the dog will pick up on this and get hyper. You want the dog to be calm and focused.
  • Your praise and approval are almost as good as a food reward to many dogs. Always be lavish in praising your dog when you train it.
  • If the dog doesn't catch on after several tries, take a break and practice again later.
  • Do not feed the dog the treat while in the bowing position, because he won't bow until he sees the treat in your hand. However, if he learns that the treat comes after the bow, he'll be willing to perform for you without it right there all the time.[2]


  • Some tricks, such as bowing or laying down, actually are meaningful language to other dogs. "Bowing" is actually a play stance - it says "I want to play with you", whereas laying down can be interpreted as a submissive stance. To avoid potential misunderstandings, use caution when instructing your dog to perform these tricks if there are other loose dogs in the area that are not known to your dog. See how to communicate with your dog.
  • do not get angry with your dog if he/she does not do it. this will only make it harder.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog treats (small, healthy ones)
  • Clicker (optional)
  • Toy or other object to attract attention (optional)

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