If you want a docile dog, teaching it to lie down is a must. Lie down is one of the most basic and useful commands to train a dog. This command keeps the dog out of trouble and encourages the puppy to be calmer. Lying down is a great relaxation exercise for hyperactive puppies and a positive way for you to help your puppy practice self-control. Learning the “down” command prevents puppies from jumping on guests, disturbing cats, or chasing children and becoming a severe unwanted behavior. But many puppies refuse to lie on the ground at first or for longer than a second. How to teach your dog how to lie down? Here are some helpful training methods for your dog:
Luring a Down – Method 01
Luring is one of the easiest and most effective methods of dog training. This method uses a tempting treat or toy to lure your puppy into the position or action you want. For example: If you hold a tasty treat near its nose, move your hand (holding the treat) in an arc over the dog’s head. Its bottom will touch the floor when the puppy raises its head in response to the treatment, and it will sit down.
This method teaches puppies what behavior you expect from them. Still, you must reduce the frequency of the lure as soon as possible and ask the dog to respond to manual or verbal cues instead of waiting for temptation.
Use bait to amuse your dog and willingly obey your commands. You can also use the clicker to train. The clicker’s sound signals to the puppy that their behavior (in this case, lying down) is what you want and that you reward the puppy with a treat or toys. Here are the steps for training your dog to lie down with a lure:
- Step 1: When your puppies are sitting, hold the treat close to their nose.
- Step 2: Lower the treat handle gradually to the floor between the puppy’s front legs. Now they will bow to the bait.
- Step 3: Continue moving the treat along the ground away from your dog. The whole movement of the lure is an “L” shape with your hand. When your puppy follows the treat, he should lie down.
- Step 4: As soon as the puppy lies down, click and reward them with the lure. Don’t forget to praise them.
- Step 5: After many repetitions, use the treat from your other hand as a reward and no longer use the lure to reward them.
- Step 6: Finally, lure him to the floor, using the same “L” motion, but without the lure in your hand, and reward the treats from the other. You have now taught your dog to lie down by lowering your arms to the ground.
- Step 7: As the puppy responds to the hand signal, instead of guiding your dog to the floor with your hand like before, say “down” a second before you give the hand signal. At the time, your dogs should respond to verbal cues.
Sit the dog down first or have the lure lie flat on the ground, between their front paws while they are still standing. However, since your puppy has to learn more to lie down, you may find it easier to use shaping techniques.
Capturing a Down – Method 02
If your dog is particularly resistant to the lure technique, instead of learning to lie down with the method above, they learn faster through other ways, including “capturing.” You can reward puppies whenever they do it themselves. Always have a toy or a treat ready in the bag whenever you see the puppy lying down and reward them. After you do this a few times, your dog will begin to deliberately lie down in front of you, hoping for a reward. To be able to perform this method, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Observe your dog and wait for them to lie down.
- Step 2: When they take this action on their own, praise and reward them or click the clickers, make any signs to help them understand that they have done something you are hoping for.
- Step 3: Repeat this continuously for several days (preferably for a few short sessions of about 10 minutes) until your dog begins to lie down on purpose.
- Step 4: As they repeatedly lay down for the reward, you can move on to naming the command.
Now you can teach more hand or verbal cues before you even know they’re about to lie down. Your puppy will learn to associate your words or gestures with their actions, and you’ll soon ask them to lie down comfortably.
Shaping a Down – Method 03
Shaping can be understood as training the dog on everything step by step. That means teaching your puppy to look at the ground, lower his elbows, and finally lie down. The most useful trick is to set up your puppy for success. Make the first step easy for the dog, then increase each step slowly. However, the steps should not be too far apart, making it difficult for the dog. It is better to make it easier for the dog to keep up than to ask for too much too soon. Follow these steps to do this method:
- Step 1: Start by having the puppy look at the ground.
- Step 2: Praise and then reward them.
- Step 3: After your puppy has mastered it, ask them to move its head to the ground before rewarding them.
- Step 4: Next, you can ask them to lower their elbows and so on.
- Step 5: Continue to lure dogs and cue them until you succeed.
Training Tips and Tricks
Even though this is a basic command with many techniques to teach a dog to lay down, your puppy will not be easy to get into the correct position. To increase the likelihood of successful coaching, refer to the following tips:
- Train when the puppy is tired. It won’t work if you force your puppy to lie down when they have too much energy. After letting your dogs play or go for a walk, you can teach them this skill.
- Dogs will want to stand more to resist your command. Get them excited about being rewarded for lying down instead of making them scared and confused.
- You can use a lure to encourage them to perform the behavior. Bring the bait from the puppy’s nose to the ground, then down to the feet. Your dog will have to lie down to continue following the trick. Reward them as soon as they are in the right place.
- Reward arrangements are essential because they help emphasize and clarify what the dog did right. If you always enjoy your dog’s food when they sit, you teach them to sit, not lie down. That causes problems when the puppy lies down for a short time and then gets up again.
- If your puppy is having a hard time understanding what to do to make you happy. Don’t try to repeat the training process over and over, as it will become useless. Take a few minutes to relax and then start over.
All dog breeds that want to perform complicated and advanced exercises must start with basic commands such as standing, sitting, and lying down. Therefore, try to spend time practicing with your pet until you are most proficient. Thus, the following exercises will become much simpler and more manageable. Hopefully, through this article, you will know the simplest way to teach your dog to lie down in the right place. Wish you have excellent and obedient dogs!