How to Teach Your Dog the Down Command

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You can use the Down command to get your dog to control his impulses or to stay in one place for a prolonged period of time. A well-trained dog obeys a “Down” from you until you release him (or until he falls asleep!). The Down command is also one of the commands your dog will be tested on as part of the Canine Good Citizen test. Check out this video to see how to teach your dog the Down command.

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It’s easier to teach your dog the Down command if he already knows how to sit. Here’s how to teach Down:

  1. Have your dog sit in front of you and show him a treat.

  2. Lower the treat to the ground and toward you.

    Your dog will follow the movement with his body, lowering his head and stretching toward the treat.

  3. When your dog reaches the Down position, say “Down,” give him the treat, and praise him.

Practice this exercise a couple of times every day. As your dog understands what you expect him to do, start rewarding him with a treat every other time he lies down. Eventually your dog will lie down on command.


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