How Do I Teach Bow?


Active Member
I am trying to teach Duckie how to Bow, but need some help. I can get her front legs on the ground for half a second before her hind end follows. Ive tried putting my hand under her belly, but that only confuses her and then she wont even attempt a (half) down. Thank you for you suggestions!


Honored Member
Staff member
I use luring for this trick. If this is how you are training it, make sure you are luring in a diagonal motion, drawing a line from your dog's nose, through their front legs, to the floor under their chest. Your timing with the clicker has to be pretty good if she tries to lay down quickly. Click the second her front legs touch the floor, and reward. She should catch on pretty quickly that she doesn't have to go down all the way to get the treat. Eventually you can fade your lure and still get the same behavior. Be careful the motion of luring her into a bow is not extremely similar to your hand signal for down, if you use hand signals.

Hope this helps!!! :)


Honored Member
Maybe positioning your hand in a different place will help? Not under her belly but on her side near her hind leg?


Honored Member
i start with dog in a stand position, and then lure dog's nose down to floor with treat, way down under his chest. HOpe that helps!

you might also be able to 'capture' this behavior when she does her post-nap stretch.


Staff member
Or you could try luring under a chair. If your timing with the clicker is good, it doesn't matter at this point if she drops her butt down a second later, you can start extending the time after she get's the idea.

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
Maybe this wont work at all for you but this is what I did to get Riley to bow, For a week or two, everytime she offered the behaviour I just gave her tons of praise, she started doing it more often and I started saying the command bow. She knows how to lie down with a verbal cue only, we don't do a hand cue anymore, so one day I just pointed to the ground and asked for a bow, and she did! I didn't even have to use a clicker for the training of that one, more so shaping with vocal praise, just another option, as I was stumped on how to lure it as well!


Experienced Member
For most tricks I almost always start treating in position but then move to giving the treat in the opposite direction. So try luring her there like you've been doing, treat in between the legs towards her chest, and then after you click bring the treat back up so she has to be standing to eat it. It prevents the dog from going into a down if you're fast enough, or at least teaches the dog that the reward is up high and they can't get it by lying down. I also find that treating opposite of where you want the dog really makes them think about what action they are doing. Once the dog starts to get it and can hold the bow for a full second, then I go back to giving them the treat while they are still bowing.

I don't think I'm describing it well so I'll give another example. If I"m teaching the dog to rest his chin to the floor I'll start by luring the dog a few times and giving the treat really low. But then I switch to clicking the head going down but giving the treat off the floor a few inches. It accentuates that I am rewarding the head moving down, away from the treat. In order for this example to work the dog has to be operant and offering behaviors since I am no longer luring the dog at all. In the bow example I could keep luring but still treat up high since I"m mainly trying to interrupt the down.


Experienced Member
Hi There. I'm new but I have taught my 10 month old Border Collie Missy to do this. I taught Missy to bow using capturing. Every time she would offer a bow, I would say "Yes!" and treat. Then I would say "Bow" and she eventually did it. I found that was the easiest way for me to teach it, as I wasn't sure how to lure her to do it. I tried luring her at first, but that didn't seem to work. So I tried capturing it and now every time (as long as I have a treat ready), she will bow on command. Good luck teaching your dog to bow. ;)


Honored Member
I taught mine by capturing also - I carried a clicker/treats with me, and whenever she'd get up from laying down, and she'd stretch, I'd click/treat. She started realizing she got c/t every time she stretched (and I started making a big deal out of it) - so she started offering 'stretches' all the time - and getting rewarded. It worked like magic. I had tried so many other things (like mentioned above) and was confusing her, and frustrating myself. Capturing her normal behavior worked like a charm. Now she "bows before the queen". :p (and let's not discuss what happens behind the queen's back!! :eek:)