Peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo is such a cute dog trick! Your dog learns to pop up between your legs, which is a fun game some dogs discover on their own (typically, while in attendance at formal parties.) I’ve taught my dogs to ‘peek-a-boo-you’ so that  I can send them to goose someone else (while in attendance at informal parties, mostly.) Though, this trick can be classy; adding ‘chorus line kicks,’ so that your dog walks dramatically along with you will delight any dog dancing enthusiast. You can teach your dog to ‘peek-a-boo’ too, in just a 3 easy steps!

Teach ‘Peek-a-boo!’

  1. Cue ‘peek-a-boo’ by putting your hands on your hips, and popping both knees out.

  2. Lure your dog into position

  3. Say ‘yes!’ and reward

It’s smart to practice luring your dog through a few times before you add the cue. Begin with treats in both hands, holding one behind you so that your dog can see the teat between your legs. Once your dog is through and behind you, reach through your legs with your other hand from the front so that you can lure them forward and into position. Say ‘yes!’ when your dog is right between your legs, and reward. As you get better at luring, and your dog gets the hang of it, you’ll find that you can lure them easily with just one hand.

Don’t forget to release! I always release my dog from the peek-a-boo position with ‘okay’ so that I can have them hold that position as long as I want and perform the advanced peek-a-boo tricks.

Stimulus Control, for Safety’s Sake!

Getting this trick under stimulus control means that your dog won’t perform the trick absent of the cue. While you could choose almost any combination of verbal or hand signals you’d like as your cue, I recommend that bending your knees always be part of your ‘peek-a-boo’ cue. Don’t reward your dog’s peek-a-boo unless you bent your knees and asked for it. This will prevent your dog from trying to peek-a-boo people who may be knocked over, justifiably surprised by a large dog suddenly appearing in their crotch.

Bonus Tricks

The peek-a-boo walk: Feed your dog as you take steps forward, then start feeding after a step or two, then after 3 or 4 steps, increasing the time spent walking in the peek-a-boo position gradually. Always release your dog.

Chorus line kicks: Ask your dog to ‘shake-a-paw’ or ‘wave’ a few times before your next ‘peek-a-boo.’ Now, cue your dog to ‘shake-a-paw’ from the ‘peek-a-boo’ position. You may need to lean forward at first, but you’ll eventually fade your hand signal to just a quick flash of fingers at your hip. Kick out your right leg and cue your dog to shake/wave with your right hand. I like to use ‘right’ and ‘left’ because it is easy way to teach the meaning of those words while my dog is facing the same direction as me. Now, kick your left leg out and cue your ‘left’ shake. It still looks rough in the video, but soon this trick will look like my dog is high kicking along with me as I walk!

Add another dog: Once you have your first dog in position, pop your knees out again and ask your second dog to ‘peek-a-boo’ too! So cute!

Play ‘peek-a-boo you!’: This is a fun version of the ‘go to’ game that you can play with a friend or family member. Begin with just two people, standing just a few feet apart, facing one another. Cue your dog to ‘peek-a-boo you,’ (or name names), and point. Now, stand completely still and silent, and let your partner cue your dog to ‘peek-a-boo.’ Both people should have treats, luring if necessary. Ensure the dog is successful 90% of the time before increasing distance or adding more people.

Peek-a-boo makes a fun frisbee trick too! I like to let Doug grab the frisbee as he comes through, and I’ll reward him with a game of tug and another chance to catch the frisbee.

You may find that your dog is nervous to go through your legs at first. Let them eat as they go, and reward them with genuine enthusiasm. Soon, they will learn to love this trick, and their confidence in themselves, and trust in you, will have increased. If you’ve ever wanted your dog to stare up at you, wondering what fun thing you’ll do together next, then this trick is for you! Give it a try and have fun with your dog!