Getting a dog to lie down is an important tool for any owner because it helps to calm and control them when they are being disobedient or overly friendly with new people. Teaching them this trick is fairly straightforward because it is a natural motion, but it still requires patience, consistency and plenty of positive reinforcement. There are three important things that you need to remember when learning how to teach your dog to lay down
: the command, the motion and the reward.
The command is an important part of the process because this is what they dog will respond to every time you want them to lie down from now on. They need to be able to distinguish this call from others that you use and this means that it cannot change. Not only should you use the same word, you should use the same tone and pitch to help them understand. The best word is a simple, sharp “down” rather than “lie down”, but be careful how you use the word around your pet. If you tell them to get “down” from the sofa, they may lie down and think they are welcome there.
With the command determined, it it time to consider the motions that you are going to use to instruct your dog. There are different ways of performing this training technique and it is important to find the method that provides that balance between controlling the dog and allowing them to progress. Some dog owners choose to get their pup to follow their hand down to the floor in order to get a treat, only giving up the food when the dog lies down. This methods relies on the dog realizing that they need to lie down and not just lower their head. One solution is to hold the dog’s collar in the other hand and apply gentle pressure downwards on their shoulder on the “down” command to encourage them to lie down. It shouldn’t be forceful, simply encouraging.
You dog needs a reason to keep lying down on command so you need to offer a suitable reward for their efforts and a for trick that is performed correctly. A treat or piece of food in the hand gives something for them to aim for as they lower to the ground. Give them a lick before they start and then release the whole thing once they lie down. Positive reinforcement will lead to better results and more enjoyment for the dog so provide a tasty treat and plenty of praise.
As your dog begins to learn the command, you can cut down on these methods.
To begin with, it is important to have this tasty incentive and a strong hand guiding the dog into the right position. As they progress with their training, you can reign it all in. The pressure on the shoulder and the handling of the collar can ease until it is no longer necessary and eventually the dog will learn to lie down on command without the need for the treats. Learning how to teach your dog to lay down doesn’t have to be hard. Stay consistent with the commands and your demands from your pet, keep up the positive reinforcement and be patient.