How to Teach a Dog to Lie Down


Training Your Dog to Lie Down

How to Teach a Dog to Lie Down
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Most dog owners will agree that a calm dog who is lying quietly next to them as they watch TV, read a book or have dinner with the family is far preferable than an in-your-face dog who just won’t relax. Get your dog to lie down with these dog training tips.

Dog Training Methods

Use Food Lures

One method of teaching a dog the “down” cue is to food-lure the dog into position using yummy, potent-smelling treats and praising her when she gets in position accurately and in a timely manner.

However, what if your dog won’t allow you to lure her into the down position? What if she just doesn’t seem to be catching on? Many dog owners would consult a dog trainer in this instance, though it’s relatively simple to train your dog on your own or with some guidance from a professional animal trainer.

Catch Her in the Act

Another way to teach the “down” cue is to capture the dog’s behavior on a regular basis. Capturing the “down” behavior every time you see her lying down quietly is considered capturing the “opportunistic” or “natural” down. Make sure to praise and treat your dog whenever you observe her lying in the down position. Some owners find treats, toys or praise–whatever the dog finds most rewarding–are sufficient for capturing the behavior. There are others who may choose to also use a clicker.

RELATED: How to Train a Dog to “Leave It”

How to Capture the Behavior

To capture the “down” behavior, place a handful of food treats between your dog’s front paws whenever she’s calmly resting in the “down” position. If she doesn’t find food treats rewarding, try giving her a chew toy or verbal praise (e.g. “Good!”). Remember to do this every time you find her in the “down” position.

She’ll soon learn lying in that position is beneficial to her, prompting her to offer the behavior more often. After repeated captures and rewards for her good behavior, you’ll be able to include the verbal cue “down” with the command. Your dog will soon become much easier to coax into the “down” position.

Seek a Professional Dog Trainer

If you have any questions or problems, contact a certified dog trainer for advice and tips. Frequent brush-up dog training sessions can be helpful to your dog’s level of obedience.

How do you teach dogs to lie down?

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  1. says

    Thanks for the tips! My dog has a habit of jumping on people, so I need to train him to lie down on command. It’s interesting that one of the tricks to getting them to learn this command is by rewarding the dog while they’re already laying down. I must admit, that seems like a good way to capture the behavior to help let them know when you want them to lie down.

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