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Karate Bow

Channel your dog’s inner sensei at the Olympics this month!


Dog puts elbows down and rear end up


Great for stretching and core strength

How to train 

1.  Start with one piece of food in one hand and a handful of food in the other. Have the hand with the single treat near their nose then guide their head down and then move your hand slightly towards the dog. Feed at the exact moment when the rear is up in the air and elbows on the ground. Continue to feed in position.

(No marker words are given at this point; dogs know they’ve got it right when the food flows)

2.  This time leave a few seconds between rewarding. Find the right number you can count up to (count in your head); go too low and your training won’t progress – but go too high and your dog may become confused or frustrated and give up. 

3. Remove the food from the hand we were luring with and use a hand signal instead. Keep the handful of food in the other hand so you can continue to feed in position. 

4. Next add a verbal cue. The verbal cue is ‘bow’. 

Optional:  A continuation word can be useful when we want our dog to hold a position longer. E.g. ‘Goooooood, goooooood, gooooood’ in a much softer longer tone than your usual marker word. If your dog gets distracted by the sound of your voice, teach the continuation word first in a position they already know, such as ‘sit’, or try the exercise without it.

5. Now add your marker word and feed at the end when you use your marker word.  Only move on when you can get 5/5 confidently and smoothly at each stage.


The Three Ds of dog training: distance, duration and distraction. We can use these to increase the challenge for our dogs. Choose just one to focus on per training session. 


Distance is how far away you are from your dog when they perform the task. The farther away you get, the harder your dog is likely to find it. When you’re adding distance, start close and build slowly.


Duration is the length of time your dog stays in position. Some behaviours don’t have a duration factor, such as jumping in the ‘rabbit’ challenge. Behaviours like ‘sit’ or ‘bear’ do require your dog to hold the position longer. The longer we ask them to hold it, the more difficult the task becomes. Be sure to start with a very short duration, just one second and build slowly.


Distraction involves whatever else is going on around your dog at the time, from a deer running across the mountain to a thunderstorm. If your dog finds it exciting or disrupting, it’s a distraction. 

Example: add duration

The Enemy has challenged you to a Bow-off. Can you hold the position longer?