Teaching a dog to lay down on cue or command is probably one of the most useful tools that any dog owners should have in their arsenal. It does not only allow you to calm or settle your dog in any place, but it is also the first step in teaching other basic tricks such as “roll over” and “bang”.
At the beginning of the training session, you would want to stock your pouch or pocket with treats and go to a place where your pup is comfortable without any distractions. Also, it is much easier to train your pup if he is on a leash.
Probably, the most important thing for you to remember when teaching your pup to lay down on cue is to not “force” him into the position. Pups can become aggressive if you put your hands on him and encourages distrust which can cause him to resist future training.
Teaching “lay down” on command, the easy way, is to lure your dog from a sitting position using treats.
If your pup is not going down through the traditional lure, then you might need to be a little creative in order to get him down.
You can try and lure your pup under your knee in order to get him to lie down. Just sit on the floor with your knees bent in order to make a low bridge. Move his treats under your leg so that he will crawl under your leg in order to get his treat. Once his rear end and elbow touch the ground, offer him a reward and praise heavily.
You can also capture this behavior when is naturally laying down. If you saw him lying down, offer him treats and praise him to show him that it is a positive or desirable position.
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Once your pup easily goes down into a down position, offers the focus cue and then wait to be released, you need to begin fading our o removing the lure.
Start to give the verbal cue before the lure and give him rewards when he obeys. After trying this for several times, your pup will begin to anticipate the lure in the down position once the verbal cue has been said.
If you see your dog anticipating the down cue, try to stop doing the lure and just tell him “Down”. Wait for a couple of seconds for your pup to think about what he should do next. In case he does not go down, go and offer him the lure again in order to help him out. Then, try again.
When your pup goes into the down position without any lure or help, then start giving him better treats for a faster response and improve his performance.
Even though teaching a dog how to lie down on command can be extremely difficult and frustrating, it is such a very useful command you should definitely teach. Whether your pup needs an extra help it takes to the command quickly, it is important that you stay positive and patient during the whole training.
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