Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 Easy Steps to Teach Your Dog to Crawl

I've always wanted to teach my dog to crawl. Hopefully with this helpful advice I will be able too.

5 Easy Steps to Teach Your Dog to Crawl
by: Andrea Arden, Modern Dog Magazine

Choose a surface that is as smooth as possible so your dog is more likely to feel comfortable while crawling.

Step 1: Start by teaching your dog to follow a lure and lie down. Hold the treat at the tip of Rex's nose while he is standing or sitting. Slide your hand to the ground and slightly towards him so he folds down and back. Say "Yes!" when he does and give him a tiny treat.

Repeat in 3-5 minute sessions until you are confident Rex understands to follow your hand smoothly to the ground. Then you can add the cue "down" right before you move your hand.

Step 2: Hold the treat just in front of Rex's nose when he is lying down and move it slightly forward. Reinforce any movement forward (even a tiny bit) by saying "Yes!" and giving a little treat. If he tried to stand up, don't say anything, simply start again. this way, Rex will learn that getting up makes the chance to earn a reward go away.

Step 3: Add the command "Crawl!" when you are confident Rex understands to follow your hand by staying low to the ground and inching forward. Say the word just before you start to move your hand so he learns to crawl forward on a verbal cue.

Step 4: Drag the treat progressively farther away, but be patient, as Rex, even if he is very fit, will need to gradually build up being able to crawl for more than a few inches.

Step 5: The final step is to teach Rex to respond to the command when you are standing up. Ask him to move forward by placing your hand holding the treat a few inches away from him and towards the floor, rather than right in front of his nose. By this point, Rex probably will understand you are asking him to crawl forward when he hears the command and sees your hand pointing towards the floor and moving away from him.

To ensure the crawl trick doesn't interfere with Rex's understanding of doing a down/stay, be sure to only reinforce crawling forward from a down when you have asked him to do so.

Have you taught your dog to crawl? How did you do it? Do you have any other neat tricks?

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