Dog Training

How to Teach Your Dog to Lay Down: Step-By-Step Guide

The down command is one of the basics of successful dog training and is a key element in raising a good-mannered dog. It's crucial that you, as an owner, know how to teach your dog to lay down in order to make training sessions fun. The more fun both of you have, the more effective the training is.

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Why Knowing How to Teach Your Dog to Lay Down Is So Important

Knowing how to teach your dog to lay down is must for any owner. The 'down' command is great for calming down pets that are too excited. For example, when the doorbell rings at home, but you can't greet your visitors without your dog jumping on them. Also, certain buildings, like restaurants, let people eat their meals with their pets as long as they behave.

The 'down' command is also useful in public areas, like parks and trains. If your dog runs free, a reliable "Down!" from a distance can be useful when you get near a road or encounter a rider, for example.

The command needs a little preparation, though! But once you've grasped how to teach your dog to lay down, you can move more confidently with them in your everyday life. With a few tricks, learning this is very easy.

How to Teach Your Dog to Lay Down in Simple 3 Steps

Despite how important the 'down' command is, learning how to teach your dog to lay down is fairly easy. Here's a guide full of tips and instructions that will help with your pet's training.

1) Shift Your Dog’s Position With Treats

It is easier for dogs to lie down from a sitting position than from a standing position. Therefore, it is an advantage if your pet already knows this command. Show a treat to your dog while it's sitting. As soon as they focus on it, bring the treat close to the dog's nose, then to the floor and say your 'down' cue. Do this slowly. Your pet will follow the treat with their head and try to reach the treat. Eventually, they will lie down - this is the moment when you have to react quickly and reinforce this behavior! Now, let them eat the treat and praise him profusely.

2) Encourage the Lying Position

Your dog may want to sit up right now. However, it's vital that your dog remains in the lying position for as long as you decide. You can give them snacks to encourage this behavior. In this way, you'll prolong the time spent on the ground. Finally, when enough time has passed, release your pet with another cue, like 'okay' or 'yes'. Play around with your them to show them that they are now free to move around again. It's advisable to slowly extend how much time your dog stays in the 'down' position.

3) Add a Hand Cue

You can also link a hand cue with the verbal command. In fact, after some practice, you can instruct your pet to lay down just by using hand gestures. To do this, point the ground with the hand that is not holding the treat and stretch it out flat. Then, say the 'down' command in a clear voice. After a few sessions, your dog will associate the hand cue with the command. As always, timing is important! Once they've successfully laid down, reward them with treats and verbal praise.


Successful Training


How to teach your dog to lay down is quickly accomplished with a some practice. Try out our guide and you'll see for yourself! Before long, your pet will happily lie down in any situation. You'll be able to chat with the neighbor peacefully or get yourself a refresher without any issue. What's more, you can even take the train with your puppy without worrying at all!

Tips on how to teach your dog to lay down:

  • Consistency is important, but never force your dog to lay down. They learn best when they're having fun! If you have trouble with your pet following your orders, you might as well try using a clicker for dog training.
  • Build short workouts into your every day - practice makes perfect!
  • Take into account the amount of treats you used in your training and subtract that much in their next meal.
  • Don't focus your training solely on the time your dog lies down. You can also practice the distance from which your pet follows the 'down' command.
  • Conclude the training with a sense of achievement for your dog! Shower them with praise to reinforce the idea they're doing great.

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Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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