LESSON THREE. DOWN.
In the last lesson your dog learned Sit. Now we’re going to use the same steps to teach him Down,
Once again, get your good treats ready.
l. Just like when you were teaching sit, put a treat between your index finger and your thumb.
2. Say nothing at this point.
3. Slowly lower your hand with the treat to the floor between your dog’s front paws and toward his rear. To follow the treat, your dog will have to lay down.
6. When your dog is down on the floor, do not give the treat from your hand. Place it between his paws, and say “Yes!”
4. Do this three times without saying anything.
Add in the word, Down.
- When your dog has done the exercise above correctly three times, lower a treat down to the floor and toward his rear and say “Down”.
- Again, when he’s down say “Yes” and place the treat on the floor between his paws.
- Only say down once. If he doesn’t go down right away, repeating the word won’t help.
1. After your dog lays down three times when he hears the word, add in the hand signal: Palm down.
2. Like you did with sit, hide the treat in your pocket or behind your back and give him the command while holding your palm down.
3. When he does it correctly, treat him from the hidden spot.
4. To encourage to him stay down, slowly put several treats – one at a time – between his front paws. If treats fall from the sky, why bother to get up?
Once again remember The Rule of Three. Your dog should respond to your command three times before adding in the next step. When he’s successful, move on. If he’s not successful drop back and repeat the part he did perfectly a few times, then move to the next step
Ask your dog to lay down in every room of your house, as well as on different outdoor surfaces – grass, sidewalks, driveways, etc.
Paws for Problems
Your dog simply won’t lay down. This is sometimes the case for small dogs. They may feel vulnerable in a down position. Or maybe the floor is too cold. Practice on a carpeted area or put a mat on the floor.
Your dog thinks he’s doing yoga. If what’s happening looks more like downward dog than down, try teaching your dog the limbo.
1. Sit on the floor, bend your knees and make a tunnel with your legs. Put your dog on one side of your legs and a treat on the other. (You may have to put him on leash so he doesn’t jump over your legs.)
2. Then, slowly lure your dog under your legs to get the treat. (Don’t crush him.) You may have to up the ante and treat with something special, like cheese or leftover meat.
3. Slowly increase the amount of space between your dog and your legs until he lays down when he hears the word.
Keep practicing and be patient. It took Penelope a full week to learn down and look at her now.
See you in a few days for LESSON FOUR. LEAVE IT AND DROP IT.
Sometimes the dog-gonest things happen.
Like with Shadow and Racer.
Shadow was a Xoloitzcuintil, or Mexican hairless, that refused to lay down. When you have no hair or fur, the floor is cold. To practice down, Shadow’s owner put a towel on the floor. Before long, Shadow was down on the ground.
Racer was a rescued greyhound. Greyhounds also sometimes have trouble learning this command, because on the racing circuit they are not allowed to and, unfortunately, even punished for laying down. So Racer’s owner stuck to sit, and Racer was rewarded with a treat for trying his best