Training

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How to Train Your Dog to Hide His Face

Training

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2 min read

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How to Train Your Dog to Hide His Face
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-2 Weeks
Fun training category iconFun

Introduction

Cute tricks, plus cute dogs, equals lots of fun for owners and their pets, and plenty of entertainment for friends and family. Teaching your dog to hide his face with his paws or against a piece of furniture is not only cute and fun, but training your dog any trick is a great relationship and obedience-building exercise for both of you. Besides, how talented will your pup look when you have a big party and can set up a scenario where your dog, “makes a mistake,”  and then hides his face from embarrassment. Your dog won't really be embarrassed, of course, but he will get lots of attention for his adorable behavior, and besides getting his reward for performing this trick, he will enjoy the adoration of his fans!

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Defining Tasks

You can teach your dog to cover his face with his paws, or hide his face against an obstacle, also called “playing shy”, or “peek a boo”, as a fun trick to entertain guests. It is usually not terribly difficult to teach your dog this trick, as it is not difficult for him physically, and many dogs put their paws up to their face naturally to rub eyes or remove debris, so capturing this behavior, adding a command, and reinforcing, and rewarding it can be achieved in a matter of a few weeks.  Even a fairly young dog can be trained to perform this trick. You can add a command, such as “Are you shy?”,  “Peek a boo”, or “How Embarrassing”, to get your dog to hide his face at an appropriate time, such as when he has made an innocent mistake, or when greeting people, to produce an adorable effect and get a good laugh from your friends. Your dog will have fun with the attention, get a reward, and endear himself to others.

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Getting Started

To teach your dog to hide his face you will need lots of treats to reward him for approximations of the behavior, and eventual success. Remember this is a fun trick and learning it should be fun too, after all, it is not a matter of life or death! Do not use negative reinforcement, ignore failed attempts, keep training sessions short at about 5 to 10 minutes, so you and your dog do not become bored or frustrated. If you are using clicker training, you will need a clicker.  Masking tape can also be useful to encourage your dog to bring his paws up to his nose.

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The Capture with Clicker Method

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Observe

If you have a dog that often touches his face when grooming, this works well. Observe your dog carefully throughout the day so that when he puts his paws to his face you are ready with your clicker.

2

Capture

When your dog puts his paw to his face, even a little, click and reward.

3

Repeat

Repeat over several days. Your dog will start to put his paw, or paws, to his face more often as he learns that he is rewarded for this behavior.

4

Add command

Now add a verbal command such as. “peek a boo”, or “are you shy?”. As soon as you see your dog put his paw to his face, click and reward.

5

Remove the clicker

As your dog learns to associate the command and the behavior, gradually remove the click. Provide the command and when your dog performs the trick, reward him.

The Tape Method

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Tape nose

Put a small piece of masking tape on your dog's nose.Your dog will lift his paw to brush the tape off, as it feels odd.

2

Mark and reinforce

When your dog lifts his paw, let him brush the tape off or assist him in removing it, and give him a reward. You may add a clicker as well to mark the behavior.

3

Practice

Repeat in short sessions every day, make sure your tape is not too sticky so it does not pull hair out and hurt your dog. You can touch the tape to another surface first to lessen its stickiness before putting on your dog's nose. Reward your dog when he lifts his paw to his nose.

4

Add command

Add a verbal command just before your dog lifts his paw to his face.

5

Stop using tape

Gradually stop using the tape and just provide the verbal command. Reward your dog for lifting his paw to his face.

The Shape With Furniture Method

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Teach paws up

Teach your dog the “paws up” command on a short platform or stack of books.

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Add furntiure

Move the 'paws up' command to a piece of furniture, such as the side of a sofa or ottoman.

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Lure face down

While your dog has his paws up on the furniture put your arm in front of his face and lure his face down, under and against your arm with a treat, say “hide your face”.

4

Reward face hide

Reward when he puts his face up against your arm, hiding his face.

5

Pracitce and add command

Continue to use the treat lower and lower to guide your dog's face down to the side of the couch, chair or ottoman. Give the hide your face command, reward your dog for tucking his face down and putting it against the furniture with his paws up on the furniture.

Written by Laurie Haggart

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 10/11/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

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