How to Teach A Dog to Take a Bow

Note: Thank you to TheDogTrainingSecret.com for contributing this post.

We love to teach our dogs tricks, as they are fun for the owner and the dog alike if taught properly. Most dogs learn tricks faster than they learn “obedience behaviors,” because our attitude is relaxed and fun.

A trick that every dog should know is how to take a bow

1. Using a high valued dog treat will ensure more cooperation from your pup. Give your dog one treat to let him know just how yummy they are. Next, place a treat right at your dog’s nose. Allow the dog to smell and even lick the treat throughout the whole exercise. When he is interested and engaged, slowly lower the treat to the floor.

How to teach your dog to take a bow

2. Most dogs will follow the treat down with their nose to the point that their elbows touch the floor. At this point mark the behavior with a “yes” or “good” and feed him the treat. You may have to pull the treat down between the paws and then towards the dog’s body to get the exaggerated pose. If your dog lowers his rear end too, just keep your other hand gently under his belly to keep his rear up. Over time, you can phase this part of the trick away.

3. Once the dog is performing the action, add your command just before you lower the treat. Your command can be anything from “bow” to “TaDaaaa!”

Benefits of teaching your dog to take a bow

1. When you train a dog to bow, you get several benefits. A bow with the front end down and the back end up, is what most dogs do to initiate play from another dog or person. The bow should naturally put your dog in a calm and playful mood.

2. For health benefits, the bow is also a form of stretching that your dog does upon first waking up. The stretch is good for his spine, joints and muscles. It is also a calming behavior when done slow like a stretch. As dogs age, they tend to stretch less. Having taught him to bow, you will now be able to help an older dog stretch his aging body.

3. Finally, the bow will always be the grand finale during your show to family and friends!

Does your dog know how to take a bow?

What other tricks are you working on?

Read more from The Dog Training Secret here.

How to teach a dog to take a bow in 3 easy steps #dogtraining #dogtricks #germanshepherds

13 thoughts on “How to Teach A Dog to Take a Bow”

  1. We love this one, and this seems like a great way to teach it. We got lucky because our Miss M is really dramatic and she is always stretching like this, so we got the easier route and were able to mark her behavior each time she stretched. The best is when I can put her on the yoga mat and take pictures of her “doing yoga”.

  2. Lindsay Stordahl

    Ace is really “dramatic” too. I haven’t taught him to bow, but I’m going to try it. I think it should be an easy command to learn.

  3. Amanda Steiner

    I taught this to my dog by gently pushing his nose down when he was standing. I thought this was easier than telling him “bow” every time he stretched and it worked, he learned it in about 2 days.

  4. Gus does this every morning when he wakes up and it’s really cute. I’m not sure I can get Mr. Stubornness to do it on command though but I’ll let you know.

  5. Wonderful trick that’s beneficial too, now who can come up with more??! “Woof” job Lindsay!

    Yah, love looking at those cute little furry butts in the air every morning, now if I teach it right…I’ll get to see that cute pose anytime 🙂 Yipee!

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Ace doesn’t know “bow” yet. But he does know crawl, roll over and speak. Those are all fun, easy tricks to teach a dog. I’m also teaching him “twirl” where he spins in a circle. This one is not so easy for him. He does it if I do a hand signal because he follows my hand, but he won’t respond to just the command yet. He’s also pretty good at “back up.”

  7. Amanda Steiner

    Eli knows all of those commands except “speak,” and I’m a little reluctant to teach it to him b/c I don’t really want him barking every time he thinks he gets a treat :). He will crawl, but he’s not excited about it. Are you using the push Ace’s nose down to teach it to him or saying stretch every time he stretches?

  8. Lindsay Stordahl

    Honestly I haven’t even started teaching Ace to bow yet. When I do I will definitely put his nose down because he doesn’t stretch on his own often enough. Or, maybe I will do both. He seems to pick up on commands fairly quickly when there’s food involved. Then again, he is very reluctant to crawl and roll over. They must just be awkward and uncomfortable for him.

    Ace did bark more when I was teaching him to speak. That was during the period when he wasn’t quite sure what to do or when to do it. He would get confused and frustrated and just bark at me. Now that he seems to fully understand it, I don’t have a problem with him barking when he isn’t supposed to. I try to also teach him the word “quiet” but I’m not sure if he gets that or not.

  9. Another easy one is getting your dog to tell you a secret. You simply take the treat up by your ear at first, say “secret” and have your furry friend either licking or sniffing your hand for the treat. Make sure she/he stays long enough to get a small secret in. Then reward with the treat. Move on to having the treat in your other hand, cup your ear and say secret. Pretty soon you can be sitting with your hubby and when fido/a gets ansey and the hubs asks what the dog wants, you can calmly say “Bell, tell me in secret what you want” while you cup your ear. Then, make up whatever you want …. Bell wants you to drive us to the park. Bell wants you to pick up your socks. ~ hehe.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      That’s a good one! Thanks for sharing that. I will definitely work on that one. My mutt Ace figured out “twirl” tonight where he spins in a circle. We’ve been working on it for a while and it finally clicked. It was exciting for us! I wish I would’ve used the word “spin” instead. Oh, well …

  10. Haven’t tried it… yet, but my first thoughts were how to distinguish it from the “down” command. Then reading before I say anything I see the part about holding up his tummy. However, my puppy is already ‘stretch bowing’ on his own, frontwards and backwards, so all I think I will have to do it capitalize on his own actions. Thanks for the idea. 🙂

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