Having a dog is great. But having a well-trained dog is even better! From a very young age, puppies can learn simple tricks like “sit”, “down”, “heel”, and “paw” and they should be taught how to do these tricks in that specific order. After training your dog to sit on command, your dog is ready to learn how to lie down on command.
Lying down is natural for dogs to do when they want to relax or take a nap. However, teaching your dog to get in this position on command is a whole different story. It takes patience and persevearance. In this article, we will teach you everything you need to know before training your dog to lie down on command.
The “down” command: why teach it to your dog?
When we ask a dog to lie down, we aren’t asking them to take a nap. Instead, the “down” command is used in other types of situations like when you need your pooch to wait when you are busy, when you are in a public place, or on public transport. When dogs are lying still and are attentive to their environment, people generally feel more reassured.
Lying down is considered to be a submissive position. You’ve probably already noticed this when you raise your voice when your dog does something wrong. Dogs lie down on the floor and tuck in their tails because they are afraid of being reprimanded. For this reason, the “down” command is important. It will show your dog that you are in charge when they start to test your authority.
For unruly dogs or dogs that are aggressive towards humans and other animals, the “down” command is particularly useful.
What you need to know before getting started
Dogs lie down when they need to rest. Because of this, they have a difficult time understand what you want from them when you ask them to lie down.
That’s why it’s easier to train a puppy than an adult dog. However, in both cases, you need a lot of patience and preparation. Organization, patience, preparation, and perseverance are the keys to successful training.
Before you begin each training session, make sure to have some treats on hand. Giving your dog rewards lets them know that they’re on the right track. Training should also be done in a quiet place, away from distractions and other animals. Otherwise, your dog will be distracted and won’t learn properly. It is best to start in a quiet room in your home rather than in the garden. Gradually, as you make the train more and more difficult, you can start to train your down in more crowded areas.
Teaching your dog to lie down should be done at a time when your dog is calm. Avoid replacing walking or playing sessions with a training exercise. Otherwise, your dog will have a hard time concentrating because they will be thinking about going on walks or playing with their favorite toy. It is also important to note that training sessions should not exceed 15 minutes per day.
Techniques for teaching a dog to lie down
There are three main ways to teach a dog to lie down. You can try all of them, but make sure that each step is well understood before moving on to the next.
The basic method
This is the simplest method. It can be used as soon as your dog learns how to sit on command. To do this, tell your dog to sit. As soon as your dog gets into a sitting position, gently take hold of their two front paws and gently pull them until your dog is completely in a lying position. When you do this, say the word “down”.
If you do it this way, your pet will associate this command with their posture. It is recommended that you repeat this process several times in a row until your pet has fully understood what you mean by this. Note that for each time your dog succeeds, you should reward them by giving them a treat. This is how your dog will understand that you are supporting their behavior. Above all, never force your pet to get into a lying down position. This will only make your dog frustrated or angry.
The passive method
This method does not require you to pull your dogs less or make them sit first. The idea behind this method is waiting for your dog to lie down on their own and then simply say “down”. Be careful not to do this too early or too late. It’s important to be patient and listen to your dog’s needs.
If you do this every time your find your dog lying down, they will eventually understand the command. You can also use this passive method to teach your dog how to sit on command.
The active method
This is the technique that asks the most from your dog. To do this, encourage your dog to sit. After that, put a treat in your hand and show your dog that it’s there. Then, hold out your hand and let your dog approach you. When they’re about to sniff it, slowly lower your hand to the ground. Gradually move your hand away from them, brushing it against the ground. To reach the treat in your hand, your dog will be forced to lie down. When your dog is in the lying down osition, say “down”, and give them the treat. Repeat this exercise several times a week until your dog starts to associate the position with the command.
The right gestures to adopt when teaching your dog to lie down
While it’s true that not everyone is a dog trainer, you can still train your dog by adopting the right gestures. Due to a lack of experience, many people tend to rush through the steps. However, in trying to go faster, people can make mistakes. If you don’t respect your pet, they will quickly get bored of your training sessions. As a result, you will be forced to start back at the beginning.
Training a dog to lie down should never be associated with punishment. Do not yell at your dog if they disobey. If you notice that they are not in the mood for a training session, let them do something else and try again later. Otherwise, if you lose your patience and raise your voice, they will associate the “down” command with your anger.
It is also important to only use the word “down” when it is useful. Do not use it to punish them.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should not ask your dog to lie down if they are in the middle of playing or eating.
Lastly, praise your dog with petting and words of encouragement, not just treats, when they obey.