Crawling for beginners

Pippin, the cat, still keeps telling me that he isn’t speaking to me after the tale I told recently. I pointed out to him that every time he tells me that, he is in fact speaking to me – he wasn’t amused! He said that I should be doing some crawling if I want to get back into his good books.

I know he meant it in the sense of being extra nice to him and not literally, but it reminded me that I have found it very useful at times to be able to crawl. I’ve already told you about being able to crawl through the dog gates at the side of some stiles.

I’ve been meaning to explain how I learnt to crawl. I said it was quite easy, but when I thought about explaining it I realised that it was only easy once I had the idea that my biped wanted me to shuffle forwards without getting up. It was then a case of doing a tiny bit more each time for the treat, but getting started was a little harder.

My biped asked a trainer for tips on how to teach me to crawl when I was still a puppy. The advice was for her to sit on the floor with her knees raised while I was in the down position.

Stick figure seated on floor

Like this, but both knees raised

She was told to hold a treat under her knees just out of my reach. There were only two problems with this! I was already too large to wriggle under her knees without knocking her over. And it was still tricky to be on the floor with me because I didn’t yet have the good manners that I have now! My biped tried a couple of times, but it was a failure and she decided to wait a while.

We had lots of short training sessions and I learnt lots of new tricks. One of my favourites was taking a treat when told! We also fitted in all the things I found boring, such as the “down” position.

Sphinx of Hetepheres

A sphinx demonstrating the classic “down” position
Attribution: By Jon Bodsworth [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

She would often bend over me and touch my shoulders or my back. If I kept still I would get extra treats, but if I tried to turn it into a game by grabbing her sleeve she would take her arm away and ask me to do something else.

A few months later she did start getting on the floor with me again when I was in the “down” position. She would offer me a treat but it would be just out of reach!

Cartoon dog and bone

Down with a treat just out of reach

My first reaction was to get up to get it, but that wasn’t what she wanted – I didn’t get the treat. She would put her hand on me when she saw me about to get up. We had a number of sessions where I was trying to understand. It can be quite frustrating as a dog when you want that treat and can’t figure out what to do to get it! My biped must have been watching my body language quite carefully because as soon as I started to get frustrated she would ask me to do some easy and fun things – guaranteed treats!

The day I decided to shuffle forwards a fraction to get the treat, I hit the jackpot! After I’d eaten the treat I was given a few more. She told me how clever I was and we had a game of football – that’s my favourite game!

From then on I was keen to shuffle forwards. She gradually expected me to move a little bit farther and added the word “crawl”. It wasn’t long before I could crawl a few feet. She would stand close to me when I was crawling to encourage me. Some dogs may find it intimidating to have someone standing over them and may need to practise together to feel relaxed before trying to learn to crawl.

It isn’t difficult to crawl – the hard part is understanding what the bipeds want, but that is so often the case!

See you next Wednesday!


  1. haha – Now if our humans only spoke “dog” 🙂

  2. Yes if only peeps spoke dog life would be far easier. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. How low does a dog go to get a little treat.
    Bit like sitting up and begging but crawling to beg, nooooo

  4. A lot of patience involved all round! Well done your human and you – it’s not easy when you’re such a big girl.

  5. Wow you and your hooman are so clever! That must have taken a lot of patience and time!

    Happy Wednesday


  6. Bawahwhahhahhwha I flop along when I crawl, Humom thinks it’s hilarious. Wez back now Clowie and wez mizzed you xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

    • She shouldn’t laugh when you’re doing something so clever, but I sometimes suspect that my bipeds have a sneaky giggle!
      It’s great to see you again, Mollie!

  7. I don’t know how to crawl, but I’m so tiny I can get into most places anyway. Your bipeds are very patient and smart when they train you, C. Mom sometimes says I have rocks in my head. Not helpful….

    Love and licks,

    • It wouldn’t be as useful for you to crawl, Cupcake – I imagine you can walk through a much smaller space than I can crawl through!
      I wouldn’t worry about being told you have rocks in your head, they say the strangest things at times – my bipeds sometimes say I have fluff for brains!

  8. Good for you Clowie…..seems to me it’s a smart way to teach a large pup to crawl……you must be an expert crawler by now!

    Hugs, Sammy

  9. I think you have done very well in helping your bipeds teach you so many tricks!!

  10. Ahhh ok! I have always wondered the best way to teach crawl! Koda has crawled on his own a few times, so I think he would be the easiest to teach, I will definitely be trying this!
    Clowie, you are one smart girl!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    • Thank you! Koda probably would be the easiest to teach if he crawls on his own occasionally. I expect the others will copy when they see crawling gets treats!

  11. Clowie, I really admire your female biped and the way she trained you when you were a puppy (I almost wrote “small” … but THAT isn’t a good description, is it?! 🙂 ) It’s good you can express yourself so well now, so us other bipeds learn what to do for our canine companions!

  12. You always seem to find the most interest things to illustrate your posts! I’ll bet seeing you crawl is really interesting. I am always amazed by how well your bipeds have trained you and how well you take to the lessons, even the boring ones. I saw Jack a few days ago, the Mountain Dog who lives over in the subdivision across from our woods. His biped, Melissa, was walking him in our area, down to the creek. I went out and gave him a hug and said, this hug is for you and this next one will be for my friend Clowie. he likes getting two hugs, regardless and always smiles. You take care. and as you know, cats are not always logical…:-)

  13. Very educational but the best part for us was, “Pippin, the cat, still keeps telling me that he isn’t speaking to me after the tale I told recently. I pointed out to him that every time he tells me that, he is in fact speaking to me – he wasn’t amused!”. Now if that isn’t one of the best opening lines, next to Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities, I don’t know what is. Way to go Clowie! <3 (you make us all smile with loving admiration)

  14. Sounds like both you and the bipeds are quick studies, Clowie. Way to go! 🙂

  15. That is exactly how I taught Leia how to crawl. 🙂

    Hope you’ll join us for NaNoWoofMo! The story is about a homeless dog this time. 😀

  16. We do crawling too, but Mom calls it sneaking as we usually prefer to do it when we are supposed to stay 😉

  17. You did great, Clowie. But maybe you don’t mind me asking a question? What is crawling good for when being a dog?

    • Thank you. I don’t mind you asking at all.
      As a large dog, it can be very useful on a walk in the country. Stiles are often not dog-friendly and I’m too large to be lifted over, but there’s often a space underneath that I can wriggle through. My bipeds like to take me on holiday with them and when they’re eating it is useful if I can crawl under the table so that I am not in everyone’s way. My bipeds can relax then and not worry about people falling over me or standing on me.
      It can be a fun trick to liven up training sessions for any dog. We need to keep repeating the important things like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ but it gets very dull if that’s all we do – it’s fun to learn new things.

  18. Aww great job, Clowie!! Why do so many pups find learning the ‘down’ command so boring do you think? All 3 of mine aren’t keen! We haven’t tried crawl but may give it a go! You’re inspiring!
    Hugs, Carrie & Pups x

    • Thank you. It’s hard to get into much mischief when in a “down” so that makes it quite boring! It’s a lot more fun to be doing something active. I hope you have fun together with crawling!

  19. Oh this is cool! I want to teach Luke to do that….thanks for the tips!

  20. Really is amazing how you and your Mom had the patience to learn that valuable trick Clowie, it isn’t an easy thing to do!

  21. You are a clever girl, Clowie! And I hope Pippin will soon be getting over his embarrassment. I’d hate for you two to stop being friends!

  22. Hi Clowie, first Aspen is 91lbs. And turned 6 months November 2. We have learned to crawl on purpose like on woods walks when a big tree is down and it’s to big to jump over but too far down to walk under. I have to point and say under (I have before laid down and rolled under) but if they want to keep going have to crawl under. The other was what Emma referred to. On a long down with us across the area the keep inching closer by crawling a little at a time.
    Great post Clowie, Aspen crawled last week on long down. 🙂

    • Thank you. You wouldn’t want to carry Aspen now! It is very useful for large dogs to be able to crawl through a gap. Yes, my bipeds call it cheating or sneaking if I wriggle across the floor when I’m supposed to be staying still!

  23. My English Bull Terrier sister Gracie taught herself to crawl. When she was younger, and even less patient, our person would hold a biscuit up and say “sit” and Gracie would sit, then fall over, then crawl. Our person would laugh, then make Gracie sit. Our person found that just telling Gracie “down” and holding a biscuit low was enough to get her crawling. Since Gracie can already get into too many places where she isn’t even supposed to go though, crawling hasn’t proved to have any real benefit for her or our person.

  24. Mom L never had to teach her Sibes to do this; amazing

  25. It’s so good you are patience with your peeps Clowie:-)

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