Take a bow




Teaching your dog to bow is a great exercise to help maintain flexibility, build core strength and balance. It will take time to build your dog’s strength to hold this position for duration.

To begin, make sure you are working on a non slip surface. Start by rewarding your dog for standing facing you. If your dog automatically sits, use a treat to lure them to step forward and reward them at nose height to keep them standing.

Now you can start to teach the bow position. Start by using a food lure or hand target, moving diagonally down and backwards from your dog’s nose towards their back paws. As soon as your dog’s weight shifts backwards you will see their elbows bend. Mark this and return to the standing position to feed.

Practice at this stage, gradually progressing to a deeper elbow bend, whilst their back legs remain straight and continue to feed in a stand.

When your dog can touch their elbows to the ground and keep their back end in the air you can transition to rewarding them in the bow position. Mark for elbow contact and feed between their front paws. Feed multiple treats, one after another while your dog is in position. If their bottom drops to the ground or they get up, stop feeding.

When your dog is good at this, fade out any food in your prompting hand. Move your hand in the same way as before and when your dog bows, mark and reward from your treat pouch.

Eventually you can add a cue such as ‘take a bow’ by saying just before you give your hand signal.

Practice in short sessions to gradually build up your dog’s core strength and the duration that they are able to bow for.

As always make sure to go at your dog’s pace.

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