- Treat pouch
- Tired dog
TRAINING ENVIRONMENT: Start in the least distracting (most boring) place in your home.
RECOMMENDED TREAT POSITION: Toss the treats far enough away that your dog has to get up, or place them on his mat if it is far enough away.
PLEASE DO NOT USE THE CUE (DOWN) YET. We want to be sure your dog is doing the behavior immediately and consistently before we add the cue.
- Sit or stand in one place with your treats where your dog cannot see them.
- Do NOT ask your dog for anything. Wait for your dog to act.
- If your dog is tired, he will lie down on his own.
- Click and place a treat in the middle of your dog’s mat( or toss the treat if you don’t have the mat) so he has to get up and get it.
- Repeat steps 1 through 4, increasing the amount of time between your dog lying down and the click.
- Your dog will begin to offer the behavior each time he finishes his treat.
- Switch environments. Practice in each room in your home. He’s going to take a minute each time you change venues, but after a few times he’s going to be offering you a down in every room.
- Practice five repetitions once or twice a day.
- A repetition is one down. This is true for all down exercises going forward.
AT THE END OF THIS STEP:
Your dog should be offering to down without you asking for anything. Your dog may not stay very long, but he should lay down for a few seconds.
I’ve waited a few minutes and my dog isn’t lying down.
- Your dog may not be tired enough. Try taking a walk, or wait until he’s going to lie down on his own anyway. For example, if the family watches TV in the evening and the dog sleeps at your feet while you watch, wait for him to lie down for 30 seconds, then click and treat. Do this 3-4 times each night and you’ll find your dog begins to offer you the down in training. NOTE: Don’t do this more than 4-5 times in a row. Imagine if you were tired and wanted to go to sleep and someone got you up for your very favorite treat. It would be fun the first few times, but after a while you just want to get some rest! Stop while your dog is still having a good time.
- Shape the down.
- Because you’ve worked on sit, wait for your dog to sit and click and treat it once.
- Wait for him to look at the floor while he is sitting. Just a glance is fine. Click and treat three times.
- Wait for any lowering of his head while he is sitting. Click and treat three times.
- Pause and see if he won’t go a little further.
- Click and treat each tiny progression up to three times.
- Wait for a little more… click and treat three times.
- Continue until he is lying all the way down.
- Click and jackpot your dog between his feet.
- Stop practicing. Let him rest!
As a last resort, try luring the down. Find instructions for that here.
I ask my dog to down and he won’t do it.
You’ve named the behavior before your dog understood what you were looking for. Stop asking for the behavior and simply click and treat when he does it on his own.
Do not force or cajole your dog in any way. This will slow down (or even stop) his progress.