Training your dog to crawl on his belly can be a quick and easy trick to teach, as long as your dog already knows the ‘lie down’ command. Crawling is a progressive lesson, and it is sure to bring smiles to the faces of your friends and family. Always remember to use positive reinforcement, and turn the lessons into a fun game for your dog.
What You Will Need:
- A quiet room with few distractions and plenty of space for both you and your dog to lay on the floor and move around
- A dog that knows the “lie down” command
Place a few treats in your hand, and give your dog the “lie down” command. Once the dog is down, lie on the floor with your dog. He should be within arm’s reach.
While facing your dog, pat the floor with a treat in your hand while saying the word, “crawl.” You want to be sure that you do not say “come” or your dog will confuse the words “come” and “crawl.” The object is to get the dog to move towards you.
If your dog starts to get up when coming towards you, very gently push your dog down while you give the crawl command. One trick to help your dog not to get up is to use your leg. Sitting on the floor, bend your knee and place your foot flat on the floor. This creates an arch with your leg, and helps create a barrier to prevent your dog from standing up. The goal is to try and get your dog to crawl under your leg. Once your dog manages a short crawl, immediately give a lot of praise, petting, and a treat reward. Repeat this step at least 3 times for no longer than 10 minutes. Try to do this at least twice a day.
When your dog is able to manage a short crawl, gradually increase the distance. As your dog is crawling towards you say the word ‘crawl’ over and over again until your dog reaches you. Then give your dog plenty of praise and a treat.
Keep increasing the distance, and make sure you repeat the lessons at least twice a day. Gradually phase out the treat rewards, but always, always give your dog plenty of positive praise for following the command.
Dogs can sometimes become bored with training sessions, and that is ok. If you sense that your dog isn’t interested, stop the lesson and try again the next day. It might be necessary to gently push your dog down to the floor if he stands up to move towards you. Do not ever shove your dog down or swat at your dog. Remain calm and patient at all times, and always address your dog in a bright, happy tone of voice.
Crawling will ignite muscles in your dog’s core that he may not be used to using. This means that he might be sore after some sessions, just as people get sore after exercising. Be patient with your dog, and take it slow. Crawling is a trick, not an obedience command, and if he never quite gets the hang of it, that’s ok.