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Category: Dog Trainer Certification Programs | Author: admin 10.03.2015
Teaching your puppy to lie down can be a useful skill in many situations, from visiting a new home to waiting in the vet’s office to staying calm when meeting another dog. The best time for training sessions is right when your puppy starts to get hungry, as this will motivate him to earn his rewards, or treats.
It’s important that you place the treats in a spot where they cannot be seen by your puppy. Use the cue “down” or “lie down” to teach your puppy to get down on the ground and not use it for other actions, like getting off of the couch or off of a step. Avoid using your hands to push your dog down to the ground as this can be seen as an aggressive move by your dog and spook him or put him on edge.
If your dog doesn’t follow your empty hand into the down position, do not bring out a treat to encourage him.
Over time, you will not need to bend over at all and you should be able to say the “Lie down” command while standing up straight and pointing to the floor. This version of How to Teach Your Puppy to Lie Down was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on September 3, 2015. A dog who can lie down on command is a controlled and calm dog, as he cannot jump up or run away without his owner’s permission. Before your puppy can tackle the “lie down” command, he will need to be comfortable with sitting on command. Conduct the training session in a spot that is free of distractions or noises that could interfere with your dog’s concentration.

You can place several treats in your pockets before the training session if you tend to keep treats in your pockets while training your dog. If he does not do this, move one to two steps away to encourage him to move out of the down position. Once your dog gets the hang of the down position with the use of a treat, you can move on to using a hand signal to get your dog to lie down.
Try to have two five to ten minute training sessions a day where your dog follows your hand signal.
Over time, you likely will not want to continue to bend all the way down to the floor to get your dog into the down position with the hand signal.
Instead of moving your hand all the way to the floor, move it down until it is an inch or two above the floor.
Now that your pup has mastered the lie down command, it’s time to practice the new skill in different settings and situations. If you’d rather not carry pockets full of dog treats every time you ask your dog to lie down, you can start to reduce the number of treats he receives during the training sessions.
If he lies down slowly and with reluctance, give him praise and a head scratch but do not give him a treat.
Ask your dog for a down position before you attach his leash for a walk, before you give him his dinner, before you throw his favorite toy and before he can greet someone. You want to ensure your dog’s focus remains on only you for the duration of the training session.

Continue to hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose and move it down toward the floor, between his front legs.
If you dog’s back end pops up when you move him into the down position, you should not give him the treat. You can try to shrink the signal so it is a smaller movement and you do not need to bend down towards the floor.
Continue to practice the down command with this new, smaller hand signal for one to two days.
Withhold the treats for only the faster lie downs so he does not receive a treat every time he lies down.
This way, he will see the lie down command as a positive cue that leads to rewards other than treats. Instead, ask your dog to sit and try the sequence again until his whole body goes down to the ground. You can try allowing your dog to sniff or nibble at the treat as you move it to the floor to encourage him to lie down fully.

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