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Home > Dogs > How to Teach a Dog to Bow: 6 Vet Approved Training Tips

How to Teach a Dog to Bow: 6 Vet Approved Training Tips

black labrador retriever dog bowing ready to play

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We’ve all seen dogs in TV shows, and in the movies take a bow. You may have even been to a friend’s house where their dog bows on command. It’s quite adorable.

Dogs take bows because they get love, attention, and praise from doing so. If you can train your canine to sit, beg, lay down, and behave, you can undoubtedly train it to bow like other dogs.

All you really need to train your dog to take a bow is your dog, some treats, and a bit of love and patience. Ready to learn how to train your dog to be adorable in this way? Then join us below for our tips and tricks that’ll have the entire neighborhood oohing and awing at the antics of your canine friend at the next neighborhood BBQ.


The 6 Steps to Teach Your Dog to Bow

Dogs are smart and eager to learn anything that will please their owners, so why should bowing be any different? Follow the steps in this section, and your dog will bow to the crowd in no time.

1. Start by Standing Up

Begin by standing with your dog and having him stand on all four feet. This will be much easier if your dog has been taught to stand on command, and if the dog isn’t good at following directions, you’ll want to work on that first. Once your dog has mastered standing on command, you can move on to step two in our process.

Adorable Blue merle Australian shepherd dog posing in the park in autumn
Image Credit: Vera Reva, Shutterstock

2. Lower Your Dog by Offering a Treat

With your dog standing, hold a treat level with his nose, then slowly lower the treat to the ground, making sure to keep it close to your dog’s body.

This should cause your dog to lower his body onto his elbows but keep his hindquarters raised off the floor. If your dog keeps going into a full down position you can try keeping your arm gently under their tummy to hold them up at the back.

3. Stand Back Up

Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly return to a standing position. Use the treat to lure the pup into standing back up fully.

bernese mountain dog getting a treat
Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

4. Reward Your Dog with a Treat

Once the dog has successfully completed the bow, ensure you give your canine friend the treat you lured him into the bow with. Don’t forget to praise your pet for doing this trick, so they’ll come to associate the bow with treats and praise. Repeat steps one through three several times until they stick.

5. Add a Command Word

Once your pet has the bow pretty much down, it’s time to add a command word to the mix. The best cue word to use is “bow,” so your dog knows exactly which trick you’re talking about.

Practice the trick with the command word several times a day for the best results. Make sure to practice the trick only for about five minutes so your pet doesn’t get tired or tired of doing it.

Dog consistent training
Image Credit: DestinyWiens, Unsplash

6. Break the Bow into Steps

While many pets pick up the trick within a couple of days, some dogs have a more challenging time mastering the bow. With these dogs, it’s best to break the bow down into steps that the dog can easily follow.

Start rewarding your dog for moving in the right direction, then go from there in small steps until the dog masters each one.

Dogs that are clicker trained can have an easier time associating the movement they have done with the reward and timing is key.

Many dogs will naturally do the bow position when getting up from resting. If you catch them at it you can use your cue word and reward quickly.

Following these tips and tricks, it shouldn’t be long before your furry friend is bowing with the best of them.

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Problems to Watch for

If your pet seems tired of the game of bowing, it’s time to call it quits for the day. Training a dog to bow, just as teaching them any trick, takes time, patience, treats, and a lot of love on your part and concentration on theirs. If their attention is starting to wander, let them take a break or try again tomorrow.

If you become frustrated or impatient when your dog doesn’t pick up bowing right away, your pet will pick up on your emotions and act in kind.

If your dog seems reluctant to go into the bow position it could be that they have discomfort somewhere, perhaps legs or back. Don’t persist in teaching the trick and get them checked over by a vet if it continues.

tired New Zealand Heading Dog
Image Credit: janecat, Shutterstock

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Wrap Up

Dogs love to perform tricks that will get them the attention, praise, and love of their owners. Bowing should be easy to teach your pet, but some canines take longer to learn the trick than others. However, if you have patience, keep your head about you, and reward your pup with treats and praise when he does the trick right, your dog will soon be bowing and impressing your friends.

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Featured Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock

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