How to Teach your Collie to Cover Their Eyes (Peekaboo!)

Whether you call this trick shy, shame, cry, hide, or peekaboo, training your collie to cover their face with their paws is an adorable trick, and learning it is a great way to stimulate them mentally.

The easiest method to teach your collie to cover their eyes is by using a sticky piece of paper as a training aide. Stick the paper to their nose, so that your collie instinctively places their hands over their face to remove it. When their paws are in the correct position, reinforce the behavior with a command and a reward so that they associate the action with the command and the reward.

In this article I’ll go over the step-by-step process I used to teach my collie Luna how to do this trick. All you need is a post-it note and some tasty treats! I’ll also go over some of the benefits of learning this trick with your collie and some tips for if they aren’t picking it up straight away.

How to Teach Your Collie to Cover Their Eyes

1. Use a Sticky Note to Get Them into Position

The first step to teaching your collie peekaboo is to get them to put their paws in the desired position.

The simplest way to do this is by using a harmless sticker or sticky note and sticking it to their nose. This will instinctively cause your collie to remove the sticky note with their paws.

When they put their paws to their face, say the command verbally (There are lots of commands for this trick, peekaboo or cry are the most common) and reward them with a treat.

2. Drop a Treat when they Remove the Sticky Note

As soon as your collie reaches to their nose with their paws to try to remove the stick note, drop a treat for them so that they learn to associate the action of putting their paws to their face with receiving a treat.

To make sure your collie understands the treat is a reward for covering their eyes, only give them the treat when they perform the action correctly, or when they make progress towards the trick.

To begin with, you might give them a treat just for removing the sticky note, then for holding their paw on their nose for a second or two, then for hiding their face without there being any sticky note (the verbal commands will help with this part).

3. Use a Verbal and Visual Command

Once your collie understands the action of removing the sticky note with their paws, it’s time to reinforce the trick by giving them a verbal and visual command.

I use the command “Shy” but you can choose whatever you like. Peekaboo, cry, shy, shame, and hide all work fine.

For the hand signal, you can use anything distinctive, but the most obvious is to put your hand up to your nose, imitating the movement of your collie.

Once you’ve picked a verbal and visual command for this trick, try not to change it. Collies are smart enough to pick up on subtle changes in your voice or your visual commands so consistency will help them learn faster and help prevent them from getting confused.

Eventually, your collie will associate the command and the visual signal with the action and you won’t need to use a sticky note.

4. Reinforce The Trick with Multiple Training Sessions

Collies have a short attention span and that’s not something you can really fix, but you can work around it and tailor your training sessions to their abilities.

Even after your collie is getting the hang of cry/shame/peekaboo, they will need multiple training sessions to understand that the command, action, and reward are all connected and to really cement the knowledge in their brains.

Keep training sessions to around 10 – 15 minutes at a time to ensure you have their full attention. If you see your collie is getting bored then it’s time to end the training session.

Always end the session on a positive note such as with a trick they do know and then some praise along with a treat.

FAQs:

What is the trick called when a dog covers their eyes?

When a dog covers their eyes or face as a trick, it’s sometimes called hide, peekaboo, shame, cry, or shy. You can use whatever command you like, just pick one and be consistent.

How Long does it take to Teach a Collie Peekaboo?

It will take several training sessions before your collie starts to understand what it is you want them to do, and maybe several weeks for them to understand the trick and command.

This is because covering up their eyes isn’t a normal or instinctual action for a collie (except briefly to remove something from their eyes) so this can take a bit longer than some other, more instinctual tricks like sit, paw, and lie down.

Collie Climbing Stairs in Slow Moti... x
Collie Climbing Stairs in Slow Motion

About the author:

About the author:

Hollie and Border Collie

 

Howling and Growling Editor

 

Howling and Growling Editor

I'm an experienced collie owner from Scotland and the original founder of Howling and Growling. Wherever I go, my beloved collie Luna is never far behind!

Learn More about me and Luna's story on the about page!