The "Take a Bow" Trick
The “take a bow” trick is very assuring but at the same time fun and impressive especially if done after your dog has performed a previous trick. This skill is usually very entertaining and at the same times a means of expressing your dog’s submissiveness. This will serve as your dog’s way of showing respect instead of urinating at your feet. There are several benefits an owner can get when his dog knows how to bow. For one, when dogs are in a bowing position, it will lessen the fear of visitors because they will feel that the dog is friendly and accommodating. When your dog takes a bow, this will make your visitors feel at ease and safe. Another benefit of this skill is seen when your dog and another dog are in tension with each other. When both dogs are aggressive, the tendency is for the two to fight with each other. But with the bow command, you can put your dog in a submissive position and therefore would lessen the tendency for conflict. This position will also encourage other dogs to play a game with your dog.
Taking a bow is a simple trick but takes time to be developed. Patience and consistency is always a must for trainers. However, when your dog is used to stretching the moment he wakes up or stands up after a long period of lying down, it will be easy for you to capture that behavior and develop it into a bow. When your dog stretches, sound the clicker and give your dog a treat. This will help your dog associate his stretch with a treat. This will also encourage your dog to stretch more often. In this case, whenever your dog stretches, try to incorporate the verbal command “bow”.
Another method of teaching your dog to bow is through the use of a target stick. Show the tip of the stick to your dog on the level of his nose. Move the stick slowly down to the floor. When using the clicker, give a click when your dog’s nose followed the stick down to the floor. Praise your dog and give him a treat. Let your dog build on this skill step by step. Do not hurry as this is not a race but an interesting activity that both you and your dog should enjoy. Continue doing the previous step but this time you will only sound the clicker when your dog bends his elbow down towards the floor. Even a little movement is worth a click, praise, and a treat. The down command is very useful at this time. Your dog will surely associate this activity with the down command. However, make sure that before your dog bends his hind legs to lie down that you click the clicker to mark the desired behavior. The goal here is to let your dog bend his forelegs and take the position of a bow without bending his hind legs. Make sure to delay the treat until your dog has performed the desired action.