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How to Teach A Dog to Take a Bow

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

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?

How to teach your dog to take a bow

What other tricks are you working on?

Read more from The Dog Training Secret here.

Chuck Taylor

Saturday 29th of April 2017

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. :-)

Lisa C

Thursday 14th of October 2010

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.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 14th of October 2010

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 ...

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 30th of July 2010

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.


Sunday 22nd of March 2020

I forgot to say she doesn't know a stranger. Everyone is her friend so when they knock or ring the bell she starts barking grabs a toy and runs to the door so she can show the person her toys. I try high value treats like beef lung and she is still not as easy to distract. That person on the other side of the door is more important. When I make her go to her bed she will go until she knows I am engaged to talking to the other person she comes up and has her toy to show. When anyone responds she is finally done showing off.

But having said that she has always stretched (since I received her) to stretch in the bow position so that was easy to teach.

Tina Moore

Sunday 22nd of March 2020

I have a service dog that is barking at home no matter the training we have been doing. Her trainer says we should tell her no bark but she doesn't have a clue when "to bark". I can't figure out how, but when I catch her just before she barks (she has a short quiet growl) I tell her shush with my finger at my mouth, quite like teachers do and say shhhhh no bark. She still barks although her trainer and I have been doing this almost 2 years. Is there a better way?

Amanda Steiner

Friday 30th of July 2010

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?

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 28th of July 2010

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."