Dogs are fantastic all on their own, but teaching a pup tricks to perform takes their greatness to a new level; a dog who does tricks is a joy to watch. This month, we will be teaching you how to teach your pup to play peek-a-boo, a great party trick!
Meet Evie, my god-pug! She enjoys long snoozles on fluffy blankets, and snacks. Always snacks. My friend Isabella and her daughter Talia worked with me to demonstrate how to teach Evie to play peek-a-boo.
First, it is necessary to note that peek-a-boo is a little more advanced, so if your dog is still working on basic commands (come, their name, sit…) it may be best to master those before working on this trick. In order to set yourself up for peek-a-boo success, make sure your dog knows their name and knows the command “come” or “place.”
Next, grab some treats. We like Zuke’s Mini Training Treats in our house because they are small and healthy, and my pups love them! Grab a short leash too as a leash can provide some direction if your pup is easily distracted.
Finding a fairly quiet place indoors where your pup will be less distracted, warm up your pup with a few simple commands like “come” or “sit.”
Once you have their attention and they are dialed into the game, work on teaching your pup to follow the treat. For pups who are a little reluctant to training, like pugs, following the treat with encouragement is a great way to get them to participate.
Using the treat as the guide, encourage your dog to sneak between your knees while you angle one knee out to the side and say, “Peek-a-Boo.” If your pup complies and steps between your legs, reward them with the treat and reinforce the command by saying, “Good Peek-a-Boo!” Remember: Dogs don’t speak our language, so whenever we are teaching a new command re-stating the command after they successfully do it helps them learn to connect the two. Some pups don’t understand that you want them to walk between your legs, so using the leash to gently prompt them in the right direction using lots of verbal encouragement can help.
Don’t be discouraged if your dog seems confused at first and does not pop up to look at you after the first few tries! Some dogs are going to take longer to learn than others. I did not realize how tough it is to train pugs until I tried teaching Evie! Lots of patience and even more treats, guys…phew.
The end goal is to give the command and end up with a pooch who peeks out from behind your knees. This trick is a great crowd-pleaser, and I’ve used it a few times to refocus and calm my anxious pup in a stressful situation. Reinforced with treats, it’s a great way to please both pups and humans.
Watch below as my pup, Kibeth, shows Evie and her mom, Isabella Matacotta, how it’s done! This is actually one of Kibeth’s favorite tricks 🙂
- Use small treats that your dog can enjoy and move on from quickly
- Start with wide-spread legs and slowly narrow your stance as your dog gains experience with this trick for a more dramatic effect when performing it
- Keep training sessions 10-15 minutes long at a maximum to avoid fatigue for both you and your dog. Puppies may need shorter sessions to keep it light and fun 🙂
- Be sure to try it with your pup and post your results on Instagram #dailybarkerpeekaboo !
Special thanks to Isabella and Talia Matacotta and to Evie the Pug for being my beautiful models for this post!
Have you trained your pup to do an advanced trick? Tell us about it in the comments!
Hailing from sunny Southern California, Brianna is a Registered Nurse, former dog foster mom, and Marine Corps spouse. She enjoys beach trips, hikes, and any other various adventures with her two rescue pups, Kibeth and Ajax, as well as writing or reading about anything canine.
Dogs give us the purest physical example of unconditional love and pure unadulterated joy in the world.