by Kelli McCoy (Senior Instructor with Partners Dog Training School, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Certified Trick Dog Instructor - Email)
When someone says peek-a-boo the giggle inducing childhood game pops into your head. Well, this trick encompasses the fun “surprise” element that kept us laughing as kids. Only this time it is peek-a-boo with your pooch, this is a cute way for your dog to say hello! My dogs have now made a game of it… Who can peek-a-boo first?! This certainly makes life interesting! Grab some yummy treats and let’s get started!
Now, how do you Peek-A-Boo?
Stand with your legs apart and get your dog’s attention with a treat. Using the luring method we are going to encourage our dog between our legs. Once our pup is between our legs let her nibble on the treat in your hand to encourage her to stay in this position. Make sure to mark the behavior with a verbal marker or clicker. “Yes!” is an example of the verbal marker of the behavior and I would follow up and say “Good, Peek-a-boo!” Each time you practice extend the time between luring your dog into position and giving the full reward. Repetition is key for this trick! The more times you practice the behavior the better your pup will be at recognizing what you’re asking for without you having to lure her into the trick.
So, my dog doesn't want to play... What now?
Sometimes dogs do not like being in this submissive position. Try not to force them! This position requires a lot of trust between dog and handler, always allow the dog to be able to move out from between your legs. If this happens, keep trying! Just remember to take a break if your or your fur-baby is feeling frustrated.
Little dogs? No problem!
Have a small dog? Feel free to kneel with your knees apart, or just have them stand between your feet and look up! That’s pretty darn cute as well! This trick is a fun way for your dog to not only greet you but family and friends as well! Send your dog to “peek-a-boo” grandma next time the family comes over, always makes for a great laugh! This trick can also be built upon! Leading to things like weaving through your legs! Make a fun show of it and turn the trick into “Where’s ‘Fido’?” Stand legs apart and hands up, say “Where’s ‘Fido’?” and poof; your dog appears between your legs!
As always enjoy the time teaching your dog these fun tricks. Nothing is better than bonding with your dog and increasing your communication. Not to mention adding some free entertainment for when guests come for a visit!
Meet the star...
Nessy Lynn is my 5 year old German Shepherd. She loves to play Peek-A-Boo... It is her favorite way to greet me when I come home!