Obedience - 'Down'



It is important that you have taught the dog to sit, before you teach your dog the down position.  We approach it the same way as the “sit” lesson.  This command helps you put your dog on the down when needed, i.e.: lying down in the car or on the bus.  On each lesson I will repeatedly say, to take your time and go slowly and always make sure you end on a good note.  So be sure to make the teaching lessons short, fun and often.  Always take one stage at a time and do not move on until you are satisfied that he is able to respond to each completion of the task on a regular basis.


Stage one


Have the dog in the sit position and placing the tit-bit near his nose, whilst touching his body at all times, run the treat down his chest, down one of his paws onto the floor and along the floor, the moment his body lies on the floor give him his treat and praise him.  If at any time the dog sits up or takes his nose off the tit-bit and your hand has any type of distance from his nose, move your hand to his nose immediately and get him to follow your hand and start over again.  Let him have a lick at the treat as this will encourage him to follow your hand and only when he has his whole body flat on the ground does he get the whole treat and remember to praise him well.


Stage two


When he starts to go down before you can finish the process of going down his body and onto the floor, this is the time to introduce the command word “down”.  When his body lies flat on the floor call out the command word, “down” and give him his reward immediately and praise him well.


Stage three

Let him be aware of the tit-bit in your hand whilst he is in the sit position.  Use the command word, “down” and use your hand to guide him in the down position in an exaggerated manner sweeping your hand down and along the floor.  The moment he is flat, give him the treat and praise him.  Repeat this until he has associated the word and hand signal together.

Stage four


Once you have your dog going “down” when you give the hand signal and command, hold off for five seconds before giving him his treat and praise.  He should be looking up at you waiting in anticipation.  Over the days/weeks increase the time up to one minute but remember to take it slowly by only introducing 5 second increases every few days; and don’t be frustrated if he goes backwards on occasions, it is up to you to take him through the stages again so that learning is fun and not frustrating.  If you find yourself feeling frustrated then stop the exercise on a good note and go back to it when some time has passed. 

If you would like more advanced lessons on “down” please ask, as your dog enjoys the stimulation and learning how to please you, as it means “fun” time for both of you !