Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Training A Dog to Lay Down

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Using force is never an option when training a dog any command. As well as causing discomfort it can confuse the dog to the point that it may feel threatened and develop serious behaviour problems. An alternative method is as follows. Firstly withhold the dogs meal, either morning or evening to suit your free time, the aim being that the dog is hungry and will focus on the treat more. Start with a short training session using the commands that he has already mastered to obtain his interest and get him concentrating on you.

Do not encourage the puppy to jump up to you.Make the dog sit on your right side. Kneel on the ground with on leg extended, heel on the ground making a space. Have a really tasty treat (I use a small piece of cheese) Holding the treat in your left hand, reach under your leg letting the dog sniff the treat. Slowly bring your hand under your leg and the dogs head will follow causing his body to lower to the ground. Ultimately to get to the treat the dogs body will automatically be in the down position. Repeat the exercise till the dog is comfortable with doing this then as his body is fully in the down position introduce the word DOWN and give the treat immediately. Intersperse this exercise with other commands so the dog doesn’t become bored and to reinforce the command as part of normal routine.

Now your dog is comfortable with this new game try sitting with your legs outstretched and holding the treat near you. By now he should know that to get the treat he has to lie down. Indoors as your dog walks around and lies down quickly say DOWN and have a treat to reward him instantly. If you have difficulty kneeling to do this exercise you can use a low table or a bench and guide the dog underneath till his body is flat on the floor. The only criteria is that it must be low enough to cause the dog to assume a flat, tummy on ground position and your arm must be able to reach underneath.

Dog Training Secrets

As with teaching the dog any new commands don’t rush the exercise. Keep calm and have patience or your dog will quickly pick up on your moods. Only reward your dog when he is fully down as this is one of the four NON-NEGOTIONABLE commands.

  • Withhold the meal so your dog is eager for the treat
  • Choose a place where you wont be disturbed
  • Kneel with dog on the right and your right leg outstretched
  • Have a really tasty treat in your left hand
  • Reach under your leg and guide the dogs head then its body under and down
  • Only say DOWN when your dog’s body is flat on the ground
  • Remember NO half measures. This is a non-negotiable command
  • The dogs body must be FLAT to the ground to receive the reward and praise

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