How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down: A Step-by-Step Guide

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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. In this guide you will learn all about how to teach a dog to lay down clearly and simply

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.

This essay will show you how to teach your dog to lay down. From picking the right training gifts to using positive reinforcement to inspire your dog, we’ll cover it all. Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

Why How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down is Important

As a caring pet owner, training your pup to “lay down” is essential. Teaching a pup to lay down can benefit you and your pet.

Importance of basic obedience training

Basic behavior training protects your dog from hazardous scenarios. Learning to lay down can help your worried or tense pup calm. Teaching your pup to lay down strengthens your bond as they learn to trust and honor you as their master.

The benefits of teaching your dog to lay down

Basic behavior training requires your dog to lay on the floor. It improves loyalty and has many other benefits, including

  • Promoting relaxation: One of the primary benefits of teaching your dog to lay down is promoting relaxation. Relaxed dogs behave better because they’re less stressed and anxious.
  • Strengthening the bond: Training your pup to lay down improves your bond. Teaching your dog new commands grows faith and strengthens your connection. It shows your dog you care about their health and want them to grow.
  • Helping with obedience training: Teaching your dog to lay down is an important part of basic obedience training that comes with many benefits. It promotes relaxation, strengthens the bond between you and your dog, helps with obedience training, provides a foundation for other commands, and can even be a life-saving command in emergency situations.
  • Establishing “stay” and “roll over” commands: Laying down teaches “stay” and “roll over.” When your dog learns to lay down, other commands are simple. Future teaching classes may benefit from this.
  • Emergency command: Laying down in emergencies can save lives. Laying down and staying still can help your pup stay safe until aid comes.

Prepare to Teach A Dog to Lay Down

Before teaching your pup to lay down, ready yourself and your dog.

Choosing the right training treats: Select the best dog training treats. These snacks should be tiny, soft, and smelly enough to grab your dog’s interest, but not so high in caloric that they make your dog too full to train.

Finding a quiet, distraction-free environment: To perform the training, you need a calm, distraction-free space. This will keep your pup focused and prevent them from getting excited or diverted.

Ensuring your dog is relaxed and calm: Ensure that your dog is relaxed and calm before starting the training session. You can achieve this by giving them a good walk or play session prior to starting the training session.

Patience and consistency: Patience and consistency are key when training your dog to lay down. Your dog may need time to learn and execute the command. Give your dog a lot of compliments and praise during training to keep him learning. With patience and consistency, you will be able to successfully teach your dog to lay down.

Quick Summary for Teaching Dogs to Lay Down

Training your dog to lie down is essential to basic behavior. Luckily, several ways can be used to attain this aim.

The lure-and-reward method: Holding a food in front of your dog’s nose and gently lowering it is the lure-and-reward method. As your dog follows the treat, their body will naturally lower to the ground, and you can then reward them with the treat.

The capture method: Which involves waiting for your dog to naturally lay down and then rewarding them. This method requires patience, as you’ll need to be vigilant for opportunities to capture the behavior. However, it may work for dogs that like to lay down on their own.

The shaping method: Involves rewarding your dog for gradually lowering their body into a laying down position. Start by rewarding them for simply looking at the ground, then for lowering their head, and eventually for laying down completely. This method can take longer than others, but it can be helpful for dogs who struggle with the other methods or who require a more gradual approach.

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down (3 Methods)

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. 

how to train your puppy lay down
Use the treats to lure puppy to lie 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.
way to train a puppy lie down
Reward your dog when it lies down on its own

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.

The Steps to Teach Your Dog to Lay Down

Step 1: Start in the sitting position

Teach your pup to sit before you. Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose, then slowly move it towards the ground. This will encourage your dog to follow the treat and eventually lead them into a laying down position.

Step 2: Luring your dog down

As your dog follows the treat towards the ground, gradually move it back towards their body. This will encourage them to lay down fully.

Step 3: Rewarding your dog

When your dog successfully lays down, reinforce the behavior by saying “yes” or “good” and giving them a treat. Repeat this process while gradually decreasing the amount of luring needed to achieve the desired behavior.

Step 4: Adding the command

Once your dog is comfortable laying down on command, introduce the verbal cue “lay down” before beginning the training. Over time, your dog will associate the command with the behavior.

Step 5: Practice and repetition lay down command

Practice regularly and encourage repetition of the command. Gradually increase the length of time your dog remains in the laying down position.

Step 6: Gradually increase the distance

As your pup gets used to the command, gradually increase the distance between you.

Step 7: Reinforcement and consistency

Reinforce the “lay down” command with treats and praise, and ensure consistency in obedience training by using the same command each time and rewarding successful responses.

Step 8: Adding distractions

When your dog can reliably perform the “lay down” command in a distraction-free environment, it’s time to introduce distractions. Start with small distractions and gradually increase the difficulty level. For example, you could start by having someone walk by while your dog is in the down position or tossing a toy nearby. The key is to train your dog to obey the command despite distractions present. It takes patient and constancy, but it will result in a well-behaved pup that can follow your commands in any situation.

Step 9: Incorporate lay down into everyday life

You should integrate the “lay down” command into your daily regimen once your pup has learned it. Using the command before meals or walks, for example, will help reinforce the behavior and keep your dog responsive to the command. Working together to train a well-behaved pup will improve your bond with your pet.

Step 10: Keep it fun teaching a dog to lie down

Remember that obedience training should be enjoyable for both you and your dog. Utilize playtime and other enjoyable activities during training sessions. This will help keep your dog engaged and excited about learning. Working together to train a well-behaved pup will improve your bond with your pet. With patience, consistency, and a positive attitude, you can successfully train your dog to lay down on command and enjoy the process together.

You can refer to the following article to read more commands: 22 Commands Basic to Advanced

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.

Reinforcing the Lay Down Command

Reinforcing the command is equally important to ensure that your dog responds reliably and consistently. One effective way to reinforce the “lay down” command is by incorporating it into your daily routines. For example, you can ask your dog to lay down before meals or walks, which will not only reinforce the behavior but also strengthen your bond with your pet.

Positive reinforcement is another effective way to encourage compliance with the “lay down” command. Praising your dog and offering treats when they obey the command reinforces the desired behavior and encourages them to continue obeying. This can be especially effective when starting out with the command or when addressing any common problems.

You should to address any issues that arise when teaching your dog the “lay down” command. For instance, some dogs may have difficulty staying in the “lay down” position for an extended period, while others may struggle to obey the command in distracting environments. By addressing these problems through additional training and patience, you can ensure that your dog obeys the “lay down” command reliably and consistently.

Troubleshooting Common Problems When Teaching Dogs to Lie Down

When teaching your pup to lay down, it’s essential to be aware of common issues. One issue that may occur is that your dog is not responding to the treat. In this case, it may be useful to move to a higher-value treat to entice your pup. Similarly, if your dog is getting up too quickly, it may be helpful to adjust the training technique by holding the treat closer to their nose or reducing the duration of time they are expected to lay down.

If your pup doesn’t respond to commands, that’s another usual issue. If this is the case, it may be helpful to go back to luring them down and gradually introducing the command again. Practice and constancy are key to teaching your pup, so it may take some time for them to fully comprehend and respond to the command. By being patient and consistent with your training, you can help your dog overcome these common problems and successfully learn the lay down command.


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!

FAQs about teaching your dog to lay down

What is the best age to start training a dog to lay down?

You can start teaching a dog to lie down as early as 8-10 weeks old. However, keep training sessions short and positive to avoid overwhelming the puppy.

Why won’t my dog lie down?

There could be various reasons why your dog won’t lie down, including not understanding the command, fear or anxiety, physical discomfort, or distractions in the environment. Identifying the cause and addressing it appropriately can help your dog learn to lie down.

Why should I teach my dog to lie down?

Training your pup to lay down helps them manage their impulses, strengthens your bond, and prepares them for advanced training like stay and leave it.

Can I teach my dog to lay down without using treats?

Positive reinforcement like vocal praise, patting, and play can teach your pup to bed down. However, treats are often the most effective and efficient way to teach a new behavior.

How long does it take to teach a dog to lay down?

The time it takes to teach a dog to lie down varies on the dog’s learning ability, the training method, and the frequency of teaching. Most pets can learn to lay down in a week or two with 5-10 minute daily training lessons.

Can I use negative reinforcement to teach my dog to lay down?

Negative reward to train a pup to lay down can cause fear, worry, and other bad feelings. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and verbal praise, is a more effective and humane way to teach a dog new behaviors.

How often should I practice training my dog to lay down?

Training your pup to lay down requires consistency. Quick training lessons of 5-10 minutes several times a day can encourage the behavior and enhance your dog’s capacity for responding to the command.

Can older dogs learn to lay down?

Older dogs can still learn new behaviors, including lying down, through positive reinforcement training. Be gentle and aware of their bodily constraints as they may take longer to learn.

Can any dog learn to lay down?

Any pup can learn to lay down if they can physically do so.

What should I do if my dog is not responding to the lay down command?

Your pup may not react to the lie down command due to diversions or a lack of motivation. You can try using higher value treats, practicing in a quieter environment, or breaking down the behavior into smaller steps to help your dog understand and respond to the command.

Can I use a clicker to train my dog to lay down?

A clicker can help you train your pup to lay down by signaling when the action is right. Before using a clicker in training, you must learn how to use it.

Can I teach my dog to lay down without professional help?

You can teach your pup to lay down without a trainer if you’re gentle, persistent, and use positive reinforcement. However, if you run into problems during training, an expert dog teacher can help.

Are there any breeds that are easier or harder to train to lay down?

While there is no breed-specific trait that impacts a dog’s ability to learn to lay down, individual dogs may have varying learning styles and dispositions that can affect the training process. It is important to be patient and adaptable when training any dog, regardless of breed.