The dog jumps over trenches and dodges humming bullets. The mud is blanketed with a sheet of barbed wire fence, mangled from explosions. He must escape the raining bullets, the thundering explosions. He drops to his belly and crawls underneath the barbed wire. Bullets fly and dent the ground. Clumps of dirt and rock cling to his fur. He crawls, scratches his muzzle on a barb, but still crawls. Crawls to safety.
Whether or not your dog is a movie dog like this one, crawl is an easy trick that yours should know. With it, you can teach all sorts of other tricks—as well as teach him to navigate obstacle courses and other tricks and games. Teaching this trick will also pave the way for teaching
Step 1: Tell your dog to lay down.
Step 2: With treat in hand, coax your dog to move forward with the touch stick. Make sure he does so while in the down position.
Step 3: Repeat several times. Once your dog is crawling naturally, begin saying 'Crawl' before you click and treat.
Step 4: Try stepping back from your dog and giving him the command, 'Crawl.' Click and jackpot if he responds to 'Crawl.' If not, revert to previous steps.
Teaching Caspian to crawl was one of the first tricks we did when he was a puppy. I remember the very first trick we taught him was Touch, touching the touch-stick on command. The next tricks we taught him were sit and down. And, I believe, the trick that we taught after that was crawl. We wanted to put his new-found knowledge of the touch-stick to good use. Even though he was a puppy, and extremely prone to becoming distracted, he was able to learn this cute trick in only a few training sessions. We first had him lay down. We put the touch stick right in front of him and asked him to touch. I'm sure we expected him to crawl to the touch stick, but that's not what he did. Crawling is hard, so he jumped to his feet to touch the stick. We compensated, and the next time, positioned the touch stick only an inch in front of his nose. As he was lying there in the down position, he stretched forward to touch the stick. We clicked and gave him a really good treat. We continued this method, and gradually moved the touch stick further and further from him. Each time, he would inch forward, and before long, he was crawling to get the touch-stick.
Help! My dog won't crawl forwards to get the treat, but gets up from his "down" position.
Don't ever give him the treat if this happens. This is a trick where you have to exercise patience, and don't get too excited! If you act excited, your dog will get excited too. Make sure you have a great treat to lure and give him commands in low tones. If you have to, you can keep a hand on his body to discourage him from getting up.
Tip: "Use this for dance routines, funny comedy sketches, or to retrieve something in a cramped place too small for a human."