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Home > Dogs > How to Teach a Dog to Crawl in 3 Simple Steps

How to Teach a Dog to Crawl in 3 Simple Steps

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It’s fun to get your dog to do new things, especially when you have company over. But what about crawling? Nothing can entertain guests better than having your dog get on its belly and do an army crawl across your living room floor during dinner. But how do you teach a dog this hilarious trick? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to cover how to ensure your dog’s success with this trick and will also discuss other interesting tricks to teach your furry friend.


How to Teach a Dog to Crawl in 3 Simple Steps

1. Grab Its Favorite Doggie Treat

Dogs respond to certain sounds, such as your voice calling its name, the metal rattle from a leash before park walks, and the familiar sound that the plastic treat bag makes when you open it. Yes, you can teach your dog to crawl. But you’ll first need to teach your dog the “sit” and “down” command if it doesn’t know them.

First, give your dog the “sit” command. Then when your pup is sitting, give it a treat. Next, tell your dog to lie down. Let your dog smell the treat a bit but don’t give him it just yet. Use the treat to guide you as you move it towards the ground.

Slowly move the treat along the floor, until the dog is down on its belly. As a reward, verbally praise your dog, give it a pat your dog, and then reward it with the treat. Practice this for a day or two before moving to the next step.

Image Credit: pakornkrit, Shutterstock

2. Instruct It to Lie Down

It’s easy to teach your dog to crawl once it’s learned how to lie down. Remember, one thing at a time. And of course, after your dog gets one treat, it’ll likely want another. Hold the next treat in your hands, and as your dog remains in the “down” position, pull the treat in your direction or walk backward.

Reward your dog with verbal praise if it crawls toward you. Continue crawl training for anywhere from five to 10 minutes to help the dog build up its stamina– and make sure that you do this on the floor that doesn’t irritate its belly. Crawling can be used to build muscles that your dog may not use. It’s best to practice this several days in a row until it becomes like second nature to your pup.

3. Build Up Strength & Stamina

After your dog is able to crawl with a treat incentive, you’ll need to teach it how to crawl using the actual crawl command without the treat. This will increase your dog’s flexibility and add to its obedience training. Crawling is often used by professional dog trainers for agility training. You can even get creative and build a homemade crawling tunnel for your dog out of cardboard boxes. Place a treat at the end to give your pup a bit of motivation and watch it go at it.

dog trainer
Image By: Luca Nichetti, Shutterstock


Other Fun Dog Tricks to Teach Your Dog

1. The “Sit” Command

The most basic command, “sit”, is great for teaching your dog how to listen to and perform commands on the spot. To start training for the “sit” command, hold a treat in your hands to grab your dog’s attention. Note that your hand should be held high enough to keep your pup from reaching it but not too high so that it jumps for it.

Then, give it the “sit” command. Afterward, slowly move your hand toward the back of your dog’s tail and towards your body. Dogs will instinctively sit and tip their heads as you give them the treat–also practice this without the treat. When your dog is sitting, give it verbal praise (ex: “Good boy!”) when its butt and hind legs touch the ground–then give your dog the treat.

Avoid pushing your dog’s backside or forcing it into the “sit”–this isn’t as effective as simple persistence. Be patient and observe your dog’s behavior. If your dog is getting ready to sit, you can say “Sit,” followed by a “Good Girl/Boy!” or “Yes!” treat. Slowly, the dog will associate sitting with positive reinforcement and your verbal cues.

sheltie dog sitting on the grass field
Image By: dikkenss, Shutterstock

2. Giving Handshakes

Although this trick may look impressive, it is actually fairly simple to teach. Start by opening a fresh package of treats in your hand. Your dog will smell your treat and instinctively try to grab it from your hand.

But your hand should remain closed — this will prompt the dog to give you a paw. Dogs’ canine instincts are to reach for things they can’t reach with their mouths. When your dog is able to reach up and touch your hand, give it a treat. Continue doing this until your dog offers a quick paw.

For the next step, give your dog a flat, empty palm. Offer a treat to your dog when it places its paws on your hand. But before you give the treat, increase the time that your dog’s paws are in your hands. Next, add a verbal cue such as “Hand” or “Give me paw” just before you offer your flat palm. Repeat these steps several times until your pup is familiar with the procedure.

3. Rolling Over

Teaching your dog any trick is best taught by repetition. And this is definitely true for the “rollover” trick. Begin by laying down with your dog on the floor. Next, whip out a new tasty treat. Then without letting go, offer a treat to your dog near its nose. To retrieve the treat, move your hand over your dog’s shoulder to the side so your dog must lift its head. Then offer it the treat. You can immediately give another treat, but don’t let it go.

Encourage your dog to shift its weight while on the floor and roll. Place the treat on the other side of its nose so the dog must roll over to grab it. When your dog does this, praise it and give it another treat. Now it’s time to add the command. After several successful rolls you can give the “roll over” command to gradually phase out the treat.

mastiff dog rolling on the grass
Image By: Martin Christopher Parker, Shutterstock

4. Playing Dead

Another fine trick to teach your dog is to play dead. This is when your dog simply lays flat on its back with its legs in the air–it’s definitely one worth teaching. However, before you teach your dog to play dead, you don’t need to first teach it to roll over– So be sure to master the “roll over” command first.

Begin this trick by laying down with your dog. Then, to encourage your dog to roll onto its back, offer a treat on one side of his nose. Next, move your hand with the treat to the other side of its body. Remember, a dog will always instinctively follow food with its nose.

Next, give your command, it can be something to the effect of “play dead” or “on your back”. It’s even helpful to get into this position yourself to encourage your dog. After it has rolled over on its back, reward it with a treat immediately and give it verbal praise.

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Wrapping Up

Teaching your dog to crawl is easier than you may think. However, you must first teach your dog the basics of sitting and laying down flat on the ground. The best way to do this is to have a treat in your hand to guide the dog. Repetition is key when working on these training exercises, and after a few weeks, you may find that your dog is able to easily perform them on command.


Featured Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

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