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The Down Command

The second most common command that everyone teaches their dog is the "DOWN". Itís nice to have a dog that will lie down when you want him to. The down can be used in many instances when dealing with your dog. Think about how many times you might want your dog to lie down for you.

Lie down away from the table while you are eating a meal

Lie down at the door when someone comes to visit, without jumping on them.

Lie quietly on the back seat when riding in the car.

Lie quietly while you place his food bowl on the floor and wait for you to tell him "OK"

Lie quietly in the waiting room when youíre in the vets office.

Lie quietly in the evening while you watch TV together.

Lie down when you tell him even when heís not near you.

Lie down when you want to keep him from crossing a street if a car is coming.

Lie down when you tell him if he is chasing something you donít want him to chase (like a cat or another dog)

WOW! The down is a really great command that gives you more control over your dogs behavior. It can also be a life saving command at times. If youíre going to teach it, you might as well teach it effectively so it will work when you need it to work.

Follow the progression of how the down command should be taught. Take your time and go slowly. If you go too fast you will frustrate your dog and yourself. Each of the steps should take at least a week to thoroughly teach the concept you want your dog to understand. Donít move ahead until you are sure your dog understands the step you are teaching.

The method used is with a food lure although there are other ways to teach it. The important thing is to be consistent in your training and donít go too fast or the entire exercise might break down on you.

There are some things you need to know about the down before you begin. The down position is a submissive position for a dog. Many dominant dogs and some dogs that are very timid might be difficult to teach the down to. They may be very uncomfortable being in such a submissive position. With those dogs, you might want to teach the down in an area where they feel very secure, free of distractions.

If you have a dog that is very dominant you may find it rather challenging to teach him the down. Trying to force him to go down may make him more determined to not go down. You can use a pure behavior shaping approach by using the food treats and the clicker and C/Ting the dog every time he lies down on his own. If you did the BOX after you charged your clicker, you have already seen how the clicker can shape a behavior without you doing anything. This method can work with the down also. If you C/T every time he lies down, he will begin to lie down more frequently, giving you a chance to introduce the CUE word the way you did with the SIT command. It might be a little slower, but it will work.


1. Timing is important

2 Always say Good Down followed by Petting and Praising. He should always be praised for being good. By saying "good down" after he lies down reinforces in his mind what heís getting praised for.

3. NEVER repeat a command. If the dog doesnít do it on the first command, you can gently put pressure on his shoulders and back to remind him to down. ONE COMMAND - ONE RESPONSE from the dog followed by PRAISE.
Now you're ready to teach the Down Command to your dog. You can use the page numbers at the bottom of the page to move back and forth between the down pages if you want.

One Two

Online Dog Training Lessons
Introduction To Clicker Training
The Clicker
Sit and Stand
Loose Lead Walking
Training Tips

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