How many of you haven't had difficulties when trying to teach your dog how to lie down? I must admit I had! Some say it's just as easy as training your dog how to sit, but I think that many of you pet-owners agree with me when I say that it takes a lot more patience. And the fact that there are so many methods recommended out there of how to train your dog to lie down says it all! As it follows I am going to describe to you some of the methods I have used in the past that have helped me to educate my dog. First of all: - you must prepare yourself - patience is very important! Trying to teach your dog how to lie down by yelling at him or hitting him will not help you at all! But there is good news too - if your dog already knows the command "sit" you will have a way easier job. First of all try to make your dog sit.
Next try to help him to lie down by forcing his legs out in front gently while saying firmly "down". And don't forget to reward him by showing enthusiasm when saying "good dog!" or by petting him. The first time, your dog will get up pretty fast, but with every training session try to make him lie down longer by delaying the moment of rewarding. Because your dog will wait for you to praise him, he will keep the down position for a longer period of time.
Repeating the steps mentioned above several times a day is important. I have done it three to five times a session, but it can also be done during several training sessions, per day, spaced out. Though this method makes everything seem easy and fast, it might not work on your dog. Therefore, I also have another method to recommend to you by using the trick of a "submissive reflex". First of all make your dog sit in front of a stool. Give him a treat, but use the stool at the same time.
How? Simply - by passing the treat through under the stool. This way the dog will have to go underneath it. While giving him the treat, also say "down". In order to make him keep the "down position" longer give him another treat. Of course, you can anytime replace the stool with your own legs.
Another method that also works, but requires more patience, is the following: hold a treat in your hand and show it to your dog, while you stand straight; than hide the treat behind your back and say "down". In this situation, in the beginning, dogs usually sit down or they extend their paw just so they will receive the reward, however, in time, they will understand what we expect from them. As he accomplishes it, reward him. Try to have your dog lie down wherever you want. Repeating the exercise in different places, like the park, a terrace, a garden, will help you. Having your dog understand what you expect him to do when you say "down" supposes in fact to make him understand the actual word.
While you say "down", try to draw one of your dog's forelegs forward and gently exert sideways pressure between his shoulder blades by using your other hand. By doing this, your dog will have a tripod position. Using pressure toward the destabilized side will make your dog lie down.
It's all about trigonometry. Who would have thought that trigonometry will be so useful someday?! I have been through all this and I admit is not easy, however during the whole process try to remember how much you love your dog and that patience is the most important!.
Terence Young - For more dog obedience and training tips and ideas visit: http://www.obediencedoggytraining.com