Jump to section
Training your small dog to close a curtain is a playful trick that can be useful in all kinds of situations. Maybe you have all kinds of household tasks that you would like your energetic and athletic little dog to help you with. Letting your little dog close the curtains for you gives you one less chore to do, and your little dog will love the challenge. Maybe you have a little show planned, and want your little wonder dog to close the curtain at the end.
No matter why you want your little dog to learn to close a curtain, it is a fun and easy trick to learn and teach. It is a great trick for energetic little dogs who don’t want to slow down enough to learn 'down' or 'sit'. It is also a great mouth training activity to teach little dogs who are sometimes more tentative about using their mouths. A curtain offers a little dog a game of tug that, with enough perseverance, they can play on their own and win!
Your little dog will need to learn two distinct behaviors in order to master this fun trick. The first behavior is to pull the curtain and not let go. Lots of dogs, especially terriers, have a tendency to see this trick as an opportunity to attack the draperies, at least at first. Your little dog must learn that the point is to pull continuously with consistent pressure. The second behavior is to understand that the curtain must be pulled all the way until what is behind it is concealed. This can take some time to learn, as it requires that your little dog understand a goal behind the behavior, not just the behavior itself.
In order to teach this trick you will need an energetic dog and a curtain of the right height for your dog to pull, that you don’t mind having ripped up a bit. Make sure that there is no way that the curtain could accidentally be pulled off the rod. Having the entire curtain fall on your little dog at this stage in training could scare her away from curtains forever. Check that the curtain pulls smoothly and easily on the rod, so as to make it as easy as possible for your little dog. Pull from your little dog’s height and the angles at which she will approach the curtain, so as to make sure it will pull for her.
The Tug Method
Play tug with your little dog, using a favorite toy. Attach a command word to the activity of pulling. Encourage consistent pulling. Play until your little dog is pulling on command.
Tie the tug toy to your curtain, making sure the curtain will still pull easily if pulled by the tug. Give your little dog the command to pull and play like you were before attaching the toy to the curtain. For now, create resistance yourself, don’t allow the curtain to move.
As your dog is into her pulling, carefully allow the tug to move more into the curtain, allowing it to offer the resistance. If this startles your little dog into letting go, pick up the toy again and keep playing. Try until your dog is ok with the curtain moving around her.
Tug the curtain directly
Take away the tug toy and have your dog tug on the curtain itself.
Practice closing fully
When your dog fully closes the curtain, reward her enthusiastically and name the behavior, “close the curtain”. Keep practicing until your little dog understands that she should fully close the curtain.
The Little at a Time Method
Encourage curtain tugging
Play around with your little dog using the end of the curtain as a lure until she bites at it. Encourage her to bite and reward her for pulling on the curtain.
Transfer resistance from yourself to the curtain. If your dog is startled by the curtain moving, pick up the end of the curtain and play again.
Excitedly encourage your little dog to keep pulling until she has pulled the curtain closed. When she does, name the behavior “close the curtain” and reward your dog.
Keep playing with your dog, encouraging her to close the curtain all the way before rewarding
Let your dog do it
Tell your little dog to close the curtain and encourage her to pull it closed on her own before rewarding. Keep practicing until she is closing it completely every time.
The Frustration Pull Method
Play fetch with your little dog with a soft toy. Let her get very used to bringing it back and be enthusiastic about your dog returning to you each time.
Tie the toy to the curtain
Tie the toy to the curtain using a line and throw the toy as you would if you were playing fetch.
Encourage your dog to bring it back
When your little dog brings the toy towards you she will pull the curtain. Encourage her to keep pulling and not be startled. If she drops the toy pick it up and encourage her to keep playing.
Close the curtain
Encourage your little dog to close the curtain all the way by backing away while giving the command to close the curtain. Reward enthusiastically when she closes the curtain.
Remove the toy
Try having your dog pull the curtain without the toy. If she is unwilling, try tying the toy to the curtain for awhile first.
By Coral Drake
Published: 01/12/2018, edited: 01/08/2021