Today, we’re going to teach you how to teach your dog to crawl!
A few weeks ago, I was visiting a friend, and she showed me her dog’s latest trick: crawling!
It was absolutely adorable, and I couldn’t wait to get started with my dog.
If your pup already knows the basics like the lie-down and roll over commands, you’re ready to take it to the next level!
Read on, and we’ll provide you with a sure-fire method of training your dog to crawl.
How to Teach Your Dog to Crawl
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Before we discuss the steps, I think it’s essential we go over the things you’ll need for a successful training experience:
Things You’ll Need:
- A quiet room: nothing kills a training session faster than a distraction. Try finding a place without windows and facing away from the street.
- Patience: training a dog to do anything takes time, and this process won’t be any different. If anything, it will be more difficult because it’s an advanced trick.
- Your dog’s favorite treats: you need something to reward successful attempts. For my dog, Milk bones are perfect. If your dogs don’t love them, though, check out these awesome training treats!
- A dog that understands the lie-down command: if your dog doesn’t know this command, this method will not work. Need a refresher on this command? Here’s a fantastic how-to video to watch:
Step 1: Getting Your Dog Ready
The first thing you need to do is grab some treats. Your dog needs some reward, or they won’t take to the training. In other words, they need some motivation for this to work.
- Once you got your treats, give the lay down command. This position will make it much easier to proceed with the rest of the steps. In fact, it’s essential to the entire process and can’t be done without knowing this command.
- After your dog’s lying on the floor, its time for you to join them: get on the floor and lie with them. This action will convey that you’re on the same level as them.
Also, I find it helpful to be within arm’s reach or a little bit farther from my dog. In doing so, it allows the treat to be still enticing but not so enticing that they can’t focus on what you’re teaching.
Step 2: Introducing the Command
Now, that you’re on the floor with your dog, hit the floor with the treat in your hand. At the same time, say, “crawl” and watch your dog’s reaction. Most likely, your dog will look at you confused and won’t know what to do.
This scenario was certainly the case in my experience. However, this reaction is typical and expected at this point in the process. This step is simply about getting your dog used to the command.
Essentially, you’re ensuring the word doesn’t sound foreign before furthering the training. Also, make sure you say the command clearly. You don’t want your dog to confuse it with “come” that you might use for other purposes.
Step 3: Getting Your Dog to Crawl
In confusion, your dog will probably try to get up and walk over towards you. Obviously, this scenario is the last thing you want to happen. So, you must gently push your dog back down to the ground, while saying the crawl command.
- I found the easiest way to do this is by creating an arch with your leg. You simply sit down on the floor, bend your knee, and keep your foot flat on the floor. This arch will act as a deterrent and keep your dog from getting up.
- Then, you hold the treat outside the arch and wait for your dog to crawl under your leg. As they start crawling, make sure you praise them continuously. Once you do this, your dog will begin seeing that crawling is what you want them to do.
After they manage a short crawl, it’s time to reward them with a treat. Repeat this step three times in a less than 10-minute span at least twice a day.
Need a more visual guide? Check out this video:
Step 4: Increase the Distance
Once you’re confident in your dog’s ability to achieve a short crawl on command, you must make it more challenging. Start slowly increasing the distance between you and your dog.
- As they crawl toward you, keep saying the command over and over until they reach you. It’s going to seem like you’re a drill sergeant, but it gets results. I found offering them a ”good boy/girl” between commands helps the process along.
- After they do reach you, it’s positive reinforcement time. Praise them excessively and give them the treat. As you would expect, this conveys that crawling is a reward worthy behavior.
It’s really about increasing the distance to the farthest you think is necessary. After all, crawling can be quite taxing to your dog’s energy levels, so, make sure you don’t overdo it.
Also, you should start phasing the treat out over time. You want your dog to react towards your command rather than their want of the treat. To do this, all you have to do is keep praising them excessively: this praise will become their reward.
Step 5: Practice
Once they get crawling down, it’s essential you practice the command at least two times a day. See, you want this to become second nature. Don’t become lazy and think your dog’s always going to remember the trick.
As with any dog training, learning this trick is about “consistency, patience, and fun”. If you want your dog to learn this command thoroughly, you must commit the necessary time.
Honestly, learning this trick isn’t going to be as simple as learning sit, lay down, or paw. It’s a little bit more complicated; therefore, going to take more time and effort on your part.
With the right amount of practice and this step-by-step guide, theirs is no reason this command should be a hard thing to teach your favorite friend. But if your dog never gets the hang of it, it isn’t a big deal.