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LacyDown will mean lay down on the ground.  If you are using down to mean get down off the furniture, choose a different word for this command.  Some examples might be:  lay or floor.  Be creative.  Remember your dog is learning a foreign language here.  They don’t know what you are asking them to do until you teach them what the word is.

Down is a control behavior.  If your dog is lying down it takes him longer to get up and start running.  This gives you more time to get your dog under control if he is starting to get overly excited.  You can use the look command to get your dog focused on you if he starts to get distracted.

The method for teaching down varies from dog to dog.  We will go over two most often used methods.  Down is another of those commands that might be a bit more challenging for some short legged dogs and very small dogs.  Don’t worry.  It doesn’t mean that your dog is unable to learn, it just means that you have to be patient.  If you have trouble, leave me a comment.  I’ll do what I can to give you suggestions.

Method One

Step one:

  • Lure your dog into a sitting position.  Do not say sit.
  • Put the treat to your dog’s nose and let hm sniff it
  • Lure your dog’s nose straight to the ground
  • Pull the treat SLOWLY away from your dog
  • Your dog should walk himself into the down position.  Give the treat
  • Do not say down.
  • If your dog’s rear comes up off the ground just start over without reprimanding your dog.
  • Practice this behavior at least 25 times per day until the dog does this position every time you lure him.

Step Two

  • Repeat step one
  • Lure your dog until the front legs hit the ground
  • Say “down”
  • Give the treat quickly

Method Two

  • Follow the method one instructions, except instead of pulling the treat out to get your dog to move forward to the treat, push the treat slowly toward the dog.
  • Your dog should keep his front paws in place and the rear should slide out into the down position.
  • Follow step two.

Remember if you don’t practice your dog won’t learn.

It is easiest to teach this particular behavior on a somewhat slippery surface like wood, tile, or vinyl.