How to Teach Your Dog to Army Crawl
Army crawling is not only a really cute trick, it helps your pooch build a strong core, improve joint flexibility and get a bunch of laughs when you've got friends visiting. Before beginning, your dog needs to know the "down" command. With a little patience, your dog will be astounding audiences in no time!
Grab some treats and your dog and find an area with minimal distractions to begin training. Tell your dog "down" and reward him if he complies. Kneel by your dog and show your pup a treat. Slowly drag the treat along the ground, just in front of your dog's nose, and give her the treat when she scoots forward on her belly to reach her reward.
Step #1 - Keep treats close at hand and remain kneeling by your dog. Help your dog creep forward, inch by inch, by luring with a treat. Reward her frequently for success. If your pup stands up to get the treat, simply ask her to "down" again and reward her for lying down. You want her to understand that staying on her belly is a really cool thing to be doing.
Step #2 - Place the treats on a nearby table and simply use your finger to guide your dog along the ground. When your dog has crept forward a few inches, grab a yummy off the table and reward her for her hard work. Continue practicing without a treat in your hand until your dog will crawl several feet at a time.
Step #3 - Introduce a verbal cue. After you point to the ground, tell your dog to "crawl" or "commando" or whatever command you choose. Guide your dog along the ground, following your finger. Praise your dog enthusiastically and reward her.
Step #4 - Continue practicing crawling until your dog will crawl several feet at a time with a hand signal or verbal cue. Have fun and show the trick off!
By Kea Grace
Caution: Take this trick slow. Crawling recruits a lot of muscles your dog may not be used to utilizing.
About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.