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How To Train A Dog To Down
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How to Train a Dog to Down

One quite important behavior for your dog to learn is the down command. Combined with a hand signal, the down command can be a life saver for your dog. When you can stop you dog before it races across the street in front of a car, this can be a lifesaving situation. When learning how to train a dog to lie down you may run into some resistance. Laying down is a submissive posture and will cause many dogs to fight this position.

Starting off with the down command we will mold the dog into position, when the dog understands what is required, we can move on to luring the dog into the down position. Finally, we will tell the dog what to do and expect that it will happen. If you have followed the steps, when it come time to expect the behavior, it will be easy for the dog to comply as it already understands what is required.

To start off, position the dog on your left side in a sitting position. ( see my previous article " How to train a dog to sit") Place your leash under your knees to prevent the dog from running away. Reach over the dog with your Left hand and grasp the Left elbow. Grasp the Right elbow with your Right hand. Lift the elbows and lower the dog to the down position. Say the word down when the elbows touch the floor. In this position you have good control of the dog if it wiggles or tries to get away from you. Maintain your position until the dog stops struggling and relaxes. When this happens, release the dog and with a happy voice praise the dog and make a big deal of it. Repeat this process daily, or a couple of times a day for at least a week or until the pup will maintain the position by itself.

The next step is to lure the dog into the down position we will also start to teach the dog that collar pressure is a signal to go down. With the dog sitting next to you get a treat ( I use microwaved hot dog strips, String cheese is a good choice too) hook your Left thumb in the collar and with the Right hand holding a treat, lower the treat as you press down on the collar. Use the down command as you are doing this and drop the treat on the floor between the dogs front legs. After it eats the treat, release and treat again. Keep your voice happy and animated.

The final step is to expect the behavior. Tell the dog to sit and stay, take one step out in front of the dog and turn to face it. Tell it to go down, if/when it doesn't go down, step in and with your Left hand, grasp the collar and press down and back in an L shape. If you have done your preliminary work, the dog should go down for you. Step back and let it hold the position for a bit then release with a huge "OK". It may help at this point to drop a treat between the dog's legs when it goes down to reinforce the behavior.

Practice the down command frequently while teaching the sit, stand and stay commands and you will have an obedient dog that loves to work for you. Learning how to train a dog isn't all that hard but it does require a time commitment and a lot of practice. Keep at it and you will have a wonderful relationship with your dog.


Street Talk

Barbara9  

very nice article

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Excellent suggestions. I had never thought that training like this could save a dog's life. Good point.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Nice training article, I taught my dog some tricks he still obeys today which makes you feel like a proud owner. Our dog (Levi) drops and sits on voice command, just to name a few. Pets are great!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
iZero  

I'm going to have to remember these tips whenever I get a dog of my own. Thank you for the informative article ;D

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Great article, Really like the information on teaching my dog this command. Thank you

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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