K8's Gr8 K9s

fun for both ends of the leash

DOWN

GOAL:       Our goal is to have our dogs place their whole bodies on the ground when given the command “down” and to stay there until given a release word.

WHY:        The “Down” is a very stable position for a dog to remain in for a long period of time.  With a reliable “Down” we can sit with our dogs at our feet and watch TV or read in peace (a laudable goal). Reliable “Down” is one of the building blocks for many future behaviors.

HOW:  

    1. Have a small treat in your hand.  Have the dog standing with his/her side toward you.
    2. Slowly place your hand holding the treat near your dog’s nose.  Move your hand down to the floor luring your dog’s nose, and eventually the dog’s whole body, will follow. 
    3. If your dog began from a standing position, bring the treat to the floor slightly back and between the dog’s front legs. 
    4. Give the dog the treat and praise only when s/he is actually down. 
    5. Repeat these actions several times, and then add the dog’s name and the command “down”.  Release your dog, using your release word, after the dog has completed the down.
    6.  Strive to get your dog to “down” from a stand so your dog doesn’t have to sit before lying down.  This will also help your dog understand the difference between “Sit” and “Down”.  If, however, your dog began from a sitting position, bring the treat to the floor between the dog’s front legs and then slide the treat forward away from the dog until s/he is down. 

    PROBLEM SOLVING:

    Your dog won’t go into the down position.

    Try sitting on the floor with one knee bent off the ground.  Lure your dog under your leg so that your dog has to lie down and crawl under your leg to get to the treat.  Give the treat and praise when the dog does actually lie down.

    You can also use a piece of furniture to be the “low bridge” if that is more convenient or comfortable.

    Your dog bounces up after lying down briefly.

    Give the treat in tiny nibbles until the dog is released.  Give lots of praise while the dog is down.  Be very sure to always use a release word.

    HINTS:

    Praise while your dog is in the down position.

    Always give a release command, Practice in a variety of environments.