Dog Training- Down

Down- Dog Training

The step is about introducing down. Often it’s helpful to introduce this exercise on slick floors such as tile, hardwood, or linoleum, as it’s sometimes easier for a dog to slide into down initially. Once they’ve understood the basic concept, work on whatever surface you like. Remember, say the word “down” only once, and only after your dog moves into the correct position; see the sidebar “On the Early Timing of Words and Treats”.


With your dog in a sit position and her
attention on the treat, slowly draw the treat
to the ground, luring her to follow. If you
lose her attention, either slow down or use
a better treat.




Be sure to bring the treat straight down.
If you bring it forward, your dog will likely
stand up.





As her elbows touch the ground and she
commits to the behavior, say, “Down,”
but ONLY ONCE. Do not repeat or chant
“down.” The point is to associate the down
position with the sound “down” and the

Down: Under the Leg

If your dog’s rear end keeps popping up — which is a common problem for dogs whose legs are shorter than
their body, such as dachshunds and French bulldogs — try this alternate approach. Some dogs don’t actually
have to collapse their front legs in order for their nose to reach the ground for the treat, so they’ll often just sit
sniffing or hoist their rear end. Repeat this sequence five to ten times, and you should be able to dispense with
the under-the-leg gimmick.


From a sit …






… some dogs will stand as you lower the
treat to the floor.






If so, sit on the floor with your dog to the
side and raise your leg. Hold a treat under
the raised knee.





Lure her so that she slowly bends down to get her head
under your leg, and keep pulling the treat forward until your
dog’s rear end goes down.






Once her rear end hits the ground, say, “Down,” but ONLY







Once you’ve gotten this far, lure your
dog farther under your leg.







Then slowly lure her back halfway into
a sit, but before she locks her elbows






… lure her back into a down. Then give
her the treat.






Note: As you’re luring your dog under your leg, be sure not to put too much downward pressure on her shoulders. This can kick in the “opposition reflex,” and she’ll resist upward, which defeats the purpose of the exercise

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