Dog Trick Training: Take a Bow

Fun and Easy Dog Trick

Bowing Airedale Mix
Fuse/Getty Images

Have you ever seen a dog take a bow on cue? It's pretty adorable. What's more entertaining than a dog doing tricks? Dogs enjoy tricks because they get lots of positive attention. Humans love dog tricks because, well, they are funny and cute! The good news is that you too can easily train your dog to take a bow on command.

To take a bow, your dog leans down with his elbows and chest touching the ground while his rear end stays up.

Taking a bow is a cool dog trick, and the perfect finishing touch when showing off all your dog's tricks.

Supplies for Training Your Dog to Take a Bow

All you need to train a dog to take a bow is your dog and some treats. You may also want to have a clicker on hand if you are using clicker training as part of your dog training.

How to Train Your Dog to Take a Bow

  1. Start with your dog standing up. It's helpful if your dog is able to stand on command. If he hasn't mastered this basic command yet, you may want to work on it before moving on to the second step.
  2. Hold a treat at the tip of your dog's nose, and slowly move it down, holding it close to your dog's body. In this way, you will use the treat to lure your dog down until his elbows are on the floor with his rear end remaining up.
  3. Hold your dog in the bow for a few seconds, and then use the treat to lure him back into a standing position.
  4. As soon as your dog completes the bow and is standing up, tell him "yes" or "good" or click your clicker, and give him the treat.
  1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times.
  2. Once your dog seems to understand the action, you can add the cue word "bow" before going through steps 2 and 3 again.
  3. Practice the bow command with your dog several times a day for no more than 5 minutes each time. Before you know it, your dog will be taking a bow on command.

    Troubleshooting When Training "Take a Bow"

    • Some dogs have trouble keeping their rear ends in the air when initially learning this dog trick. To keep his back half up while his chest and elbows are resting on the floor, place your arm underneath his stomach while you use the other hand to lure his front half to the floor. Most dogs will quickly catch on, and after a few practice sessions, your dog will take a bow without you having to hold his back end up.
    • Some dogs have a difficult time learning this entire dog trick all at once. If this is the case with your dog, you can teach him to take a bow in smaller increments. This is called shaping a behavior and works really well with clicker training. To do it, you need to begin rewarding your dog for moving in the right direction. For instance, if the best your dog can do in the beginning before making mistakes is to follow the treat half way to the floor, click and treat for that. Then start to give treats only when your dog is closer to the floor. In this way, you can select the behaviors that come closest to what you need him to do. In small increments over several training sessions, you can slowly train your dog to take a bow.
    • Remember to be patient with yourself and your dog while training. All dogs learn differently. Keep training sessions short and upbeat. Be sure to end on a positive note. You can do it!

    Edited by Jenna Stregowski, RVT