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Training your dog to show his teeth is a cute trick that you can use for fun and to show off his talents. But this is also a trick you can teach your dog when you or he feel threatened. Having your dog show his teeth can either be a beautiful smile or a menacing grimace. You can decide what times you would like your dog to show teeth by the command you give to him. Teach him to smile, show his teeth, or grimace without sound by having him show his teeth.
Just imagine the laughs, smiles, or even fear your dog can portray just by a simple task like showing his teeth. When you ask your dog to smile in front of others and he shows his teeth, you can expect smiles from your friends as well. Asking your dog to show his teeth by command around other dogs might be intimidating to others.
Training your dog to show his teeth might occur best when you show him what the action looks like and he is rewarded for doing the action. Another way is to catch him in the act during times when he normally shows his teeth, mark the behavior, and reward him as he learns to connect the behavior with the command.
This positive reinforcement training rewards him for learning while commands give him the incentive to practice and keep learning.
This is a trick you can use to get your pup to smile or grimace. Dogs at any age can learn to show their teeth though it might a bit easier to teach a puppy than an older dog. The key at any age will be repetition and rewards.
Schedule some quiet time with your dog to train this cute, fun, or menacing trick. You will need lots of tasty treats to reward him for listening, obeying, good behavior, and catching on to the command.
The Click to Smile Method
Gather all the supplies you will need to teach your dog to show his teeth while also rewarding him with your training clicker and lots of treats.
Whiskers or cheek
Gently touch your dog's whiskers or his cheek. This should get his attention causing him to slightly open his mouth or a lift up his jowls to show his teeth.
Click and treat
If it’s as simple as that and your dog immediately shows his teeth just from touching his cheek or whiskers, give him a click and a treat. For many dogs, it will not be that simple, and you may actually have to lift his jowls slightly.
Touch and lift
After you have tried to gently touch your dog's cheek or whiskers, very slowly lift up your dog's upper lip showing the teeth.
This time because the result was what you wanted with his teeth showing, you will click and reward.
Continue to repeat this action, gently lifting up the lips as you touch your dog's cheek, but this time, give it a command such as 'show your teeth' or 'smile' and end with a click and treat.
Practice a lot with the command and the action. With lots of practice and time, you should be able to give your dog the command and expect him to lift his lips on his own showing you his teeth.
Each time your dog successfully shows his teeth whether you have assisted or he’s doing it on his own by command, be sure to click your clicker, mark the behavior, and give him a treat.
The Tickle Method
Make these training sessions fairly short for this trick because this is not a natural movement for your dog and he may tire or bore easily. Have lots of treats on hand to reward him once he shows you his teeth.
Tickle your dog's whiskers. This will get him to lift up his upper lips slightly, but possibly out of annoyance.
Give the command 'show your teeth.'
After you’ve said the command, give your dog a treat.
You need to practice this a lot before your dog connects the command ‘show your teeth’ with the action of lifting his lips to show his teeth. Practice several times by tickling his whiskers to get him to lift that upper lip. Be sure to reward him as soon as he lifts his lips. With time and practice, he should get to the point where you say the command only and don’t have to touch his whiskers.
Be sure to continue to offer rewards to your dog each time he is successful at showing you his teeth. Continue rewarding your dog as he learns the trick and practices it for other people as well.
The Showing Teeth Method
There are many times your dog may show his teeth on his own without being enticed to do so or asked by command. Pay attention to these times, give him a command and a treat when he does this, and turn it into a new trick.
During tooth brushing your dog lifts his lips to accommodate the toothbrush. If your dog is used to brushing his teeth, when he sees the toothbrush, he may automatically lift his lips up in preparation for the brushing.
Anytime you give your dog a treat he may open his mouth and raise his upper lips showing his teeth automatically.
When you pet your dog's face or tickle his lips, he may automatically lift his upper lip showing his teeth.
Anytime you catch your dog in the act of showing his teeth, give him the command to smile or show his teeth. After giving the command give him a treat.
Practice and reward
Be sure to practice this often, and anytime you catch your dog showing his teeth, say the command and give him a treat. With practice your dog should be able to show his teeth, lift in his upper lips by command only, and earn a treat.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 04/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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