Teaching Your Dog To Lie Down On Command

Training your dog to lie down reliably on your command is a very useful lesson for a dog to learn.

Not only is it an essential aspect of basic obedience, but it can also help you to keep them out of potentially troublesome situations, too.

Additionally, when your dog is obedient to the “lie down” command, you’re less likely to have problems with them jumping up or visitors, counter surfing, and more.

So with this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can train your dog to listen to the “lie down” command.

The Step By Step Method

  • To begin, start with your dog on a leash to your side, then give the ‘sit’ command. Next, kneel down and tuck the leash under your knees. Hold your dog’s collar with your left hand, and hold a food reward in your right palm.
  • With the food reward in your hand, let the dog smell the scent. This will focus your dog’s mind on the reward, while your hand under his collar prevents your dog from moving forwards.
  • Move your right hand down, then forwards between your dog’s front paws. As your dog drops down to follow the food, give the command to ‘lie down’. As soon as your dog lies down, give the food reward. This should help your dog associate the food reward with the verbal command and correct position.

Potential Problems

If you follow these steps patiently and consistently, then before you know it your dog will learn to lie down on your command. However, there are a few common issues you may experience along your way, so let’s take a look at how to overcome them in your training sessions.

Firstly, if your dog’s shoulders rise from the down position before you want them to, run your hand gently down the leash to the collar.

This will control the upwards movement, and it will also apply some very mild pressure downwards which will show your dog that you want them to maintain the lying down position.

As your dog lies back down, you can repeat the ‘down’ command again to help reinforce that the command is still in place.

Remember that your dog should only leave the down position when you have released them from the training session by saying ‘ok’. By doing this, it’ll be much easier to teach them to lie down for a longer period of time.

Another problem you may have is when your dog isn’t very motivated by the prospect of receiving the food reward. In these cases, it’s best to find a different reward – something that your dog does find appealing. Maybe use a chew toy that your dog enjoys or something similar that gets them excited.

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