If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to teach a dog the “lie down” command is then you’ve come to the right place. San Diego dog trainer David Greene of Performance K9 Training revealed one of the top ways to teach a dog the “down” command.
Find The Right Dog Treat
When training a dog, a tasty treat can be a pet parent’s best friend. That said, not all dog treats are the same when it comes to training.
“Be sure to find a treat that is soft, easy to chew, and in small bite sizes,” Greene said.
Crunchy treats take time to eat so stick with soft treats to avoid long periods of chewing during the training session.
Engage With Your Dog
Once you’ve found an irresistible dog treat, calmly engage with your dog. And let them know you have a treat (chances are they will smell it first).
“After they notice the treat, ask them to perform a sit. When your dog is in a sit position, slowly lower the treat in front of them down to ground level,” Greene said. He added, “Some pet parents may find it easier to kneel while doing this.”
Use the treat to help guide your dog into the down position.
Guiding Your Dog Downward
While some dogs may lie down on their own with the guidance of a treat, other dogs may need a little assistance on the way down. In this instance, pet parents may want to gently place the palm of their hand on their dog’s shoulders/back region and lightly press the area to assist them with the exercise.
“Remember to be extremely gentle and never force a dog into a position,” Greene said.
The second your dog lies down, immediately mark the word with a “yes” (or use a clicker) and quickly give your dog a treat.
“Timing and consistency is everything. Also, stay positive and patient during the training process,” he said.
Practice Makes Perfect
Continue to repeat the “lie down” exercise. In the early stages, the goal is for your dog to understand the “down” command with a treat. If possible, practice this exercise every day.
Every dog learns at their own pace and has their own learning curve.
When To Name The Command
Consistency and keeping things clear for a dog is super important. More times than not, people start naming a command too early in the learning process.
“The perfect time to name the command is when your dog doesn’t need a treat anymore to lure them into the down position,” Greene said.
Don’t rush the naming the command – this may take a week or more. The goal is for your dog to understand the gymnastics of the exercise before naming the command.
Most of all, don’t forget to have fun!
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