Down is an important command to help teach your dog impulse control and relaxation. It can be especially important with larger dogs to help them be safe and under control around children and small dogs.
- Using a treat or toy, lure your dog’s nose downward and toward their chest
- As your dog’s elbows touch the ground use a clicker or marker word such as “Yes!” to mark the behavior and give them their reward.
- When your dog is completely in the down position, again use a clicker or marker word such as “Yes!” to mark the behavior and give them their reward.
- If your dog’s hind keeps popping up, work on shaping the behavior by marking as they get closer and closer to the actually down position.
Tips from the Dogologist
Some dogs struggle with going all the way down at first. Instead of forcing the dog to do this behavior and creating further issues with a negative association of going down, wait until you see your down laying down naturally. When you capture this behavior, mark it like you would during training with a click or “yes” and give your dog lots of treats and praise. They will soon associate the positivity with laying down and learn to do it when you ask.
If your dog pops up immediately after going into a down, feed them treats faster to keep them in the position.
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