wikiHow to Teach a Dog to Crawl

Three Parts:Setting Up the SpaceTeaching the Lie Down CommandTeaching the Crawl Command

Teaching your dog new tricks can be a lot of fun for both you and your dog. Dogs are capable of learning a variety of tricks and learning how to crawl can be one of them. Before you get started teaching your dog how to crawl, it can be a good idea to learn more about what's involved. This will let you teach your dog quickly and effectively.

Part 1
Setting Up the Space

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    Get some treats ready. A major part of training your dog is rewarding good behavior with a treat. This sends a positive message to your dog that a certain behavior was the right thing to do and that he should want to do it again in the future. Always make sure you have a healthy treat ready to give to your dog when training.[1][2]
    • Don't over feed your dog treats.
    • Treats should only be around the size of a pea.
    • Treats should only be given to your dog when he does something you want to reinforce.
    • Dogs can eat many healthy treats. Try offering bits of carrot, sweet potato, or a slice of apple.
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    Keep the space calm. Dogs learn new tricks best when you train him in a quiet, distraction free environment. If there are too many other things going on, your dog may not give you his full attention. Always make sure that the place you are training your dog in will allow him to fully focus.[3]
    • For example, avoid a busy public park. Try to find a quiet space that your dog can focus in.
    • Familiar environments are better than new ones.
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    Don't force anything. Just like humans, your dog can get stressed out if he feels he isn't getting things right or is doing the same thing too much. Whenever you are training your dog, try to avoid any prolonged sessions or pushing your dog to learn something too quickly. If your dog seems to be having trouble learning a new trick, take a break and come back to it later.[4]
    • Taking a break can be more effective than pushing through.
    • If you think your dog has lost interest, stop for the day.

Part 2
Teaching the Lie Down Command

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    Put a collar on your dog. Training your dog with a collar on can help you to keep him focused and under control. Before you start teaching your dog how to lay down, make sure the collar is properly and comfortably in place. Here are some tips that can help you put the collar on safely and securely:[5]
    • The collar should be placed around the dog's neck, settling around where his neck meets his chest.
    • Tighten the collar to a point where you can slip two fingers under the collar.
    • Don't make the collar too tight or too loose.
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    Get in position. The first step in teaching your dog the lie down command is to stand by your dog in a certain way. You will need to have your dig sit down and then stand next to him on his right side. Your hand should be able to reach the dog's collar from here. This position will allow you the best control over your dog while teaching him to lie down.[6]
    • Have a treat ready to offer your dog. The treat will be the focus your dog uses to lie down.
    • Place the treat in your right hand and put your left hand on the dog's collar.
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    Use the “down” command. Once you are in position, you can start teaching your dog the verbal “down” command. Standing next to your dog, show him the treat in your right hand. Once he is aware of this, lower the treat down to the ground. Say the command “down” to your dog so that he associates the word with the motion and the treat.[7]
    • If your dog is having trouble, you can try gently pushing him down with your left hand to start the motion.
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    Reward your dog. Rewarding your dog for properly performing the lie down trick is key. As soon as your dog responds and lies down, give him the treat he was following. Your dog will come to associate this movement with rewards and in time will respond to the verbal “down” command alone.[8]
    • You can also use a clicker. Click whenever you offer a treat, causing your dog to associate the sound with the trick.
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    Repeat. Practice makes perfect. Keep working with your dog to make the lie down command an easy and natural thing for him. The more you practice the command, the easier it will be for your dog to understand what you want and how to do the lie down trick.[9]
    • At first, try to practice at least once every day.
    • Practicing a few times a day can be a good idea.

Part 3
Teaching the Crawl Command

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    Have your dog lie down. The first step to take when teaching your dog how to crawl is to have him lie down. This will get him in position and ready to focus on the new trick he is learning. If your dog doesn't already know the lie down trick, consider teaching him this first before teaching him how to crawl.[10][11]
    • Have a treat ready to help your dog focus and to reward him with.
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    Use the "crawl" command. Once your dog is lying down, take a few steps in front of him. Squat down and show your dog the treat. Keep the treat low to the ground and say “crawl.” Your dog should start to crawl along the ground, trying to get the treat from you. Reward your dog immediately if he crawled correctly.[12][13]
    • Your dog may stand up and walk over to you. If this is the case, start over from the lying down position.
    • You should only be a few steps away from your dog at first. Walking too far away may confuse your dog.
    • Make sure your dog crawled correctly before rewarding him. Your dog will repeat whatever behavior you reward.
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    Increase the distance. Once your dog starts to understand what the “crawl” command means, you can start to increase the distance your dog crawls. Work gradually, taking a few steps more each time you train your dog. This will increase how far your dog can crawl as well as reinforce the trick overall.[14]
    • Always work slowly to increase the distance your dog is crawling.
    • Practice around twice a day.


  • Always offer a treat for good behavior.
  • Find a quiet spot to train your dog in.
  • Don't have your dog crawl too far at first. You should only be a few steps away.
  • Teach your dog to “lie down” before you teach him how to crawl.


  • Don't force training. If your dog isn't getting it after fifteen minutes, take a break.

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Categories: Dog Tricks