How to Teach a Dog to Lie Down

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August 22, 2023
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Teach Your Dog To Lie Down

The particular dog training command of down has two purposes: it’s meant to keep your dog out of trouble + it encourages calm, controlled behavior. 

And a controlled dog is a dog that can be trusted to behave appropriately in many situations.  It’s what most people dream of when thinking about adding a dog to their family!  

There are a couple of different techniques for dog training, and at Minnesota Canine Consulting, we generally employ the luring technique as our preferred method. We have years of proven experience to show how this top-notch method really works! 

In this how-to article, you will learn how to teach your dog – puppy or older – how to lie down! 

Setting the Stage

It’s best to teach the lie down command after your dog masters sit. With that in mind, when your dog is ready to learn how to lie down, be sure you are in the right training environment. 

When you study these steps, you’ll soon realize there’s not much to coaching the behavior. What makes it most effective is your immediate response to your dog’s behavior, either positive or negative.  

Be sure to quickly give them their rewarding treat nibble or enforce a consequence for failure to comply (like a quick tap on the back end). Both methods of response are needed for success! 

While training, distractions should be limited. As the dog owner, you also need to bring consistency and positivity to each training session! 

6 Quick Steps

Follow these quick six steps to teach your dog how to lie down.  

1 - Get your dog in the sitting position. Be sure to have some nibbles of their food in your hand (this will become your lure).

2 - Place your hand with the food right by your dog’s nose. From the nose, move it towards their chest, and finally straight to the ground. Put your hand in between their paws. 

3 - This movement trail should encourage your dog to follow the treat to the lying down position. When they get in this position, immediately reward them with a nibble! Add in some verbal praise to provide extra positive reinforcement. 

4 - Keep practicing at different times throughout the day and in different environments as you increase the training rigor. Doing so will help your dog transfer this skill to different real-world situations. 

5 - After several sessions, start to fade the food lure by using an empty hand lure. The non-luring hand can still offer a nibble for positive reinforcement!

6 - When the dog masters the hand signal, add a verbal command of “down” right before you use the hand lure. With time, your dog will catch on to the verbal command!

Conclusion - How to Teach a Dog to Lie Down

There you have it: six steps to follow to teach your dog how to lie down! With time and patience, your dog will learn this skill in no time.

Once your dog has mastered this skill, the next time he or she is getting a bit too excited, you can verbally cue them to lie down (italics) so they can settle to the floor. It’s a great tool to have as a dog owner!

If you and your dog aren’t jiving with training or you simply don’t have the time to devote to a solid training regime, contact us at Minnesota Canine Consulting so a professional dog trainer can help out!


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