A dog makes all of its choices based upon the value of the reward it anticipates as a result of that choice. If the behavior is rewarding, the likelihood of choosing that behavior is increased. If the behavior is “not” rewarding, the likelihood of a dog choosing that behavior is significantly decreased. We reward the behaviors we want with lots of praise & high quality treats.
“Down” was the second command we taught Vík and he picked it up within a few days, but it took a bit longer than “sit” for him to obey consistently it without treats. We used Natural Rapport chicken bites during our training sessions and they worked well to keep his attention and drive high. I worked with him each day 3-4 times a day for about 10-15 minutes.
How to Train Your Dog to lay down
- Get your dog’s attention and show her that you have a high-quality treat in your hand.
- Move the treat from in front of their face down to the ground. Then hold the treat in front of the dog covered with your hand.
- The second he/she lays down, say “Yes” or “Good Dog” in a super positive and motivating voice.
- Immediately give your dog the treat followed by more praise and some pets!
- Repeat steps 1-5 until your dog is laying down as you place your hand on the ground.
- Now you can start to add a cue word. Say your dog’s name followed by the word “Down,” while still holding the treat in the position as before.
- Continue these steps several times, using the word “Down” each time and gradually phasing out the hand motion and limiting the treats given each time. Reserve the treats for only the best immediate “downs”. Always continue to give praise for any obedient “downs.”
- After your dog has mastered “Down” within the home take them out to a park or coffee shop and put the command to the test. This might be a little challenging at first because there will be so many distractions. Stay calm, regain your dog’s focus, and resort back to step one if needed.
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