24 Feb Train the “Down” Command
Lying down is one of the harder commands for dogs to learn, but it’s very useful. Dogs who understand ‘down’ are much more welcome in cafes and other public places, and much more pleasant to have near the dinner table. ‘Down’ is also a handy command if you want to keep your puppy in place for a while: it takes more energy to get up from a down than a sit, so dogs are less likely to break the position.
Steps to teaching “down”
- Find a quiet spot free of distractions.
- Ask your puppy to sit. (Later on you can teach him to lie down from standing, but it’s easiest to start from a sit.)
- Holding a food lure near your pup’s nose, say “Down,” and slowly bring your hand straight down to the ground between his front paws.
- If your puppy sinks into a down position immediately: say “Yes” in an upbeat, happy tone and reward him with a bit of food. If your pup doesn’t follow the lure right away: keep your hand on the floor, covering the food, and give him a moment to figure it out. He’ll probably lie down soon; reward him enthusiastically when he does!