How To Teach "bow"?


Experienced Member

I'm sorry if this has already been posted about but I'm new and couldn't find anything on it :p

My puppy and I have been working on "bow" but have hit a serious brick wall with it. I was just wondering how other people taught this trick?

If there's any old threads on this topic please feel free to link me to them.

Thanks :)


Honored Member
Put a treat in front of your dogs nose and lure her down click right when she does the behavior(she may lie down so you want to click immediately when your pup does the behavior.), if she lies down instead of bowing try putting a leash under her belly to keep her from lying down.
Here's a youtube video that might help. Good Luck.(y)


Experienced Member

We just randomly made a breakthrough with it - without changing the method i was using - so i'm thrilled :D

I tried the method where you put your arm/leash under their belly to keep their back end up, but Evie really didn't respond well to that, she prefered to jump away. I also tried the luring way where you hold the treat either out infront of them or between their front legs, but that also didn't work for us as she kept backing up or jumping sideways. In the end I ended up moving her front legs into the bow position with my hands and then praising her instantly. We have done that for a fair few training sessions now without any progress, but just now, she managed to hold the bow position for me for 10 seconds plus! I was so thrilled :D Now that she realises what it is i want from her, hopefully i'll be able to stop moving her front legs and she'll do it herself :)

So proud of my little puppy <3


Experienced Member
I think our breakthrough was due to our new clicker. Up until last night, all of Evie's training had been done through positive reinforcement but not with a clicker, just with food and praise. I finally bought a clicker last night and went through the tricks she knows, clicking and treating to teach her what the clicker was, then moved onto training with it this morning... I think because the clicker was able to pinpoint the moment she was in the position i was asking for, made it easier for her understand :)

So happy :)


Experienced Member
we just said the word "bow" every time they stretched
well actually its called streeeeeetch but its pretty much the same as bow

It lucky to just be able to name an action they already do .


Staff member
I trained it with a target stick. I taught Oliver to target the stick, then when he was solid on that, I began moving the stick down between his front legs, I got a solid bow in one session! LOL the best part is? I had a breakthrough with cross paws by asking him for it in a bow position! LOL it finally clicked and now he crosses paws like a champ!


Honored Member
Nice work :)

If you want to take "bow" on the road (I throw trick cues at my dog anywhere we are) I suggest that you use the cue "take a bow" or "Ta da" rather than "bow". Zac could understand "bow" fine in the house but when I proofed it outdoors with background noise and distractions it was quickly obvious that even with careful enunciation "bow" and "down" are easily confused. It only took one session outdoors to change the cue by giving the new verbal just before the existing hand signal.

If you have any further trouble with the dog slipping into a down you can reward by throwing the treat across the room before the dog slips down. Rather than risk lying down only to have to stand up again to run after the treat the dog normally opts for the laziest option (take a bow).


Experienced Member
I doubt Evie will confuse it with down, simply because down is her least favourite of all things to do lol. She always gets this sad little look on her face when asked to go down as if to say 'realllllllllllly? do i HAVE to? :("

And, we don't have a hand signal for it currently, although it would be good to use one, but i'm running out of ideas for new hand signals lol. But yes, it's definitely something i'll have to keep in mind once i get the trick happening while we're out as well.

Thanks :)


Honored Member
For hand signals, you can try:
  • fist down (what I use for bow)
  • point down
  • and..... well, I kind of ran out of ideas.... not as easy as it sounds.....:oops:
And to elaborate a little....
  • japanese bow (dogcrazy's idea)
  • stage bow
  • curtsy
that's all I got.....:)