Among the vast array of dogs tricks, the peek-a-boo trick is one that yields lots of success, because it’s funny to watch and can be applied to a variety of situations. The trick consists of the dog covering his eyes with his paw, almost to manifest shame, disgust or guilt. Some people put the behavior on cue by saying “shame on you” and asking him to do it when the dog fails to obey to a command or does some other doggy “immoral act” worthy of being published on the dog shaming website. The following guide explains how this trick can be taught.
How to Train Peek-a-boo
There are two ways this trick can be trained: one method is known as “capturing” and consists of rewarding natural, spontaneous behaviors as they unfold, the other method is known as “prompting” because it uses special prompts, which are simply training aids used to train the dog.
The Capturing Method
For this training method, dog owners will need a clicker and some tasty treats. There are instances where dogs will cover their eyes with their paws as if performing a peek-a-boo. This tends to happen when the dog uses his paw to clean his eyes or rub at this face. When this happens, the dog should be clicked and immediately given a treat. Because behaviors that are rewarded tend to be repeated, click after click, the dog should start pawing at his face more and more. When this happens, it’s a good idea to start putting the behavior on cue by saying “Peek-a-boo” right when he is about to paw at his face. At some point, upon saying “Peek-a-boo” the dog should automatically paw at his face. This method takes some time to train and requires patience.
The Prompting Method
For this training method, dog owners will need a small piece of masking tape, a clicker and some tasty treats. The piece of masking tape will be placed on the dog’s nose so that he will feel compelled to remove it with his paw. When this happens, the dog should be clicked and promptly rewarded with a treat and by removing the tape. The masking tape should then be reapplied and the sequence should be repeated over and over. Once the dog repeats the behavior, the cue “Peek-a-boo” can be added right before the dog paws at his nose to remove the tape. The tape can then no longer be applied and the dog should paw at his face the moment the command is given. If the dog responds to the command alone he should be clicked and given a jackpot of several treats. This method yields faster results than the capturing method, but the disadvantage is that sometimes the removal of training aids causes the dog’s training to undergo a setback.
The Bottom Line
As with training other tricks, in both the capturing and prompting method, the clicker can be faded as the dog progresses in the training and it can be replaced by a verbal marker such as a “Yes!” or a “Good boy.” At this point the trick can be used to entertain family and friends with Oliver’s antics.