Thursday, December 17, 2009

How do I teach my dog to smile ( raise his lips to show some teeth) ?

I saw this trick shown on youtube with a number of dogs where their owners ask them to smile and they look like they are. Does anyone know how to teach this? I would love for my English Mastiff to raise his jowls and smile....How do I teach my dog to smile ( raise his lips to show some teeth) ?
I think my dogs do this naturally. It's not really a big toothy grin or anything, they just have a little smile on their face and a really gleeful look in their eyes.How do I teach my dog to smile ( raise his lips to show some teeth) ?
Some breeds do this naturally, i.e. Dalmatians. We taught ours to do it by telling him to ';smile'; when ever he did it on his own. We reinforced the behavior. I don't know if it can be taught without the behavior already being there. In a mastiff, I doubt that they will exhibit the behavior because of the size of their dew laps (lips).
This may be easiest if you 'catch' him doing it naturally and then reward the behavior. Animals tend to repeat those actions that earn them something they want. You will need to be both quick and patient. Start by rewarding a smile with no teeth and then rewarding for a little looser smile, etc. If you use clicker training, it will go even faster. Best wishes!

(I don't subscribe to the idea of physically forcing a dog to teach a desired behavior - learning happens faster if the dog does it naturally, with a high rate of reinforcement initially)
my dad had my dog doing it first off dogs can learn anything i mean anything with one word commands and treats nearby i hear people training dogs like'; try and sitdown'; its ';SIT'; or ';come on and bark'; its ';SPEAK'; lift his lips and say ';TEETH'; he'll associate one with another after a while and offer treats. dont give up after a couple sessions he'll get it
Try 'teasing' his lips to get those teeth showing. Brushing a treat by his mouth should cause his lips to wiggle. Gently poking his lips with a treat should expose some teeth. You can use your fingers too, though treats work best.

I haven't trained my dog to ';smile,'; but I have trained him to open his mouth on command. It uses the same principles. Good luck with training, and don't give up! He'll get it eventually.

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