Teach your dog to lie down

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Teaching your dog to lie down is a relatively simple task. Start with some tasty treats your dog loves, and in a location your dog is already comfortable. Smaller dogs can first learn this task on a sofa or soft chair, if need be.

Grab a big handful of treats. Ask your dog to sit or lure her into a sit by holding a treat above her nose, just out of reach. As soon as your dog sits, feed one little treat, then put your fist with the remaining treats right on her nose. (It’s OK if she sniffs or licks the treats — that’s the goal!)

Keeping your fistful of treats touching her nose, slowly lower your hand down — not out — to the ground. It’s important that you don’t pull your hand out away from your dog, or she will stand up and follow your fist. Try to draw a straight line from your fist down to the ground.

When your dog’s elbows touch the ground, say “Good down!” and open your hand and feed the treats. Repeat until your dog will lie down with your fist full of six, five, four, three, two, one and then no treats. You will still feed treats even when your dog is lying down for an empty fist — you’ll just pull those treats out of a pocket, your other hand, or off a nearby table, instead.

What if your dog stands up while you’re trying to teach Down? Say nothing, and show her the treats, then start over with your hand on her nose. As soon as her back feet go up, your fist with treats should go away. She’ll soon figure out to keep the treats where she can sniff them, she needs to stay down.

Creative Commons License photo credit: stuartpilbrow