For this trick you will be teaching your dog to go behind you and between your legs. This is a cute trick and can also be really useful to position your dog if you are waiting in line together to go to a dog-friendly event, or if your dog is nervous around people. Having your dog between your legs is a great way to deter (all but the rudest) strangers from trying to pet your dog!
- Have your dog in front of you and have treats in both your right and left hand.
- Face your dog and lure them with your left hand toward you.
- Reach between your legs with your right hand and a treat.
- Bring your dog through your legs, stopping them with their shoulders even with your knees. Give your dog the treat and praise, then release. If your dog is reluctant to move forward, you can toss another treat forward to move them out of the peek-a-boo position.
- As your dog becomes more familiar with what you want, you can phase out the treat lure and transition to an empty hand, which will become your physical lure. You can also add in your verbal cue of choice—“middle,” “peek-a-boo,” and “center” are great options but, as with any trick, you can call this one whatever you want.
You can teach your dog to come into peek-a-boo position from your right side by repeating the above steps on the right side. Even though your dog might be very familiar with the trick on your left, you might need to go slowly. Also practice out on your walks—be careful not to get your dog tangled with the leash.
20. Walk on Your Feet
This is a more advanced version of the peek-a-boo trick. For this trick, your dog will go between your legs, put their front feet onto your feet, and together you will crab-walk forward. Hint: if you want to do this trick but have a very small dog, you may need to keep your toes pointed very close together for your dog to be able to reach each of your feet with their front feet. This trick is also challenging if you have a very large dog; my Newfoundland (giant breed) and I are physically incapable of doing this one because I am too short, and she is too tall!
- Ask your dog to come into the peek-a-boo position.
- Have treats in your hand that your dog is really excited about and point your toes toward each other (this will make it easier for your dog).
- Lift your hand up and toward the right; with your dog’s nose on the treat, you should be able to steer your dog’s body by moving their head. Your goal here is to support your dog by guiding them into the position of (to start) putting their right front paw onto your right foot, or their left front paw onto your left foot. To start, just focus on getting one paw on one foot. As soon as your dog’s paw gets onto your foot, click/praise and treat.
- Once you are consistently able to lure your dog to put one paw onto one of your feet, start trying to get their second paw onto your second foot. Use the same lure technique of moving your dog’s head (and the feet will follow) by keeping their nose on a treat, and lure them forward and up. Make sure to keep your toes pressed close together to help make it easier for your dog to get their paws onto your feet. This might take some practice because a lot of us teach our dogs not to walk on us, so some dogs will take a little bit of encouragement and practice to understand that you actually do want them to walk on you.
- Once your dog is comfortably being lured onto both of your feet, you can add your verbal cue. You can call this trick anything you want. Some cute examples are “shuffle,” “slippers,” and “tootsies.” Start by introducing the verbal cue right before your dog puts their paws up onto your feet, then click, praise and treat. Then begin verbally cuing without the lure. If at any point your dog seems to get confused or frustrated, just return to the previous step and practice that more in your training sessions, before making things a bit more difficult again.
- Next, you’ll start walking—well, it’s more like a waddle. Start very slow, with lots of praise as you begin to just start shuffling your feet. Allow your dog to get comfortable with the feeling of your feet moving under theirs. It can help to put the food lure back on your dog’s nose to more heavily reinforce, along with the verbal praise, as you begin to move your feet.
- Build up the number of steps you take very slowly and start to experiment with how high you can lift your feet with your dog’s paws staying on. Keep it fun and playful, lots of treats and praise!