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How to Train Your Dog to Lie Down

4 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Training Your Dog in Basic Commands

Your dog already knows how to lie down, she just needs to be taught to lie down on command. “Down” is the command to use when you want your dog to lie down in place, right now, and stay there until you release her.

The following steps can help you teach this command to your canine companion:

  1. With your dog sitting at your left side and a treat in your right hand, put one or two fingers of your left hand, palm facing you, through her collar at the side of her neck.

  2. Show your dog the treat and lower it straight down and in front of her as you apply gentle downward pressure on the collar, at the same time saying “Down.”

    With a small dog, you may want to do this on a table.

  3. When your dog lies down, give her the treat and praise her by telling her what a good puppy she is.

    Keep your left hand in the collar and your right hand off your dog while telling her how clever she is so that she learns she’s being praised for lying down.

  4. Reverse the process by showing her a treat and bringing it up slightly above her head with upward pressure on the collar as you tell her to sit.

  5. Practice having your dog lie down at your side five times in a row for five days, or until she does it on command with minimal pressure on the collar.

    Praise and reward with a treat every time.

Practice over the course of several days until your obedient pup lies down on command without any pressure on the collar.

Traditionally, the Down command can be a safety tool that gets your pet to stop wherever she is and stay there. For example, if your puppy finds herself on the other side of the road and starts towards you just as a car comes, you can say “Down” to keep her in place until you can get to her.

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