Located in Rudy, Arkansas
Serving Fort Smith, Van Buren, and surrounding areas

Down 103: Adding the Cue

Down: Adding the Cue


  • You should have practiced capturing down with your clicker several times a day for the last week.
  • Your dog should now be offering you a down when you start your training session. In order to proceed, it should look like this:
    • You start training session. Your dog lies down.
    • You toss a treat several feet from him so he has to get up.
    • He gets up, eats his treat and immediately lies down.
    • He does this six times in a row without hesitation.
  • If your dog is not doing all of these, please do not proceed to the next step. Go back to the first lesson on down and practice some more.

For this step we are going to make sure your dog associates the sound of the word “down” with the action of putting his lying down on the floor and staying there. He’s already been offering you this behavior, so he knows you like it. Now we just have to name it and extend the amount of time he does it.



  • Clicker
  • Treats
  • Treat pouch


TRAINING ENVIRONMENT: Start in the least distracting (most boring) place in your home.





  • Stand in one place with your treats where your dog cannot see them.
  • Do NOT ask your dog for anything. Just wait.
    If you’ve done your homework from last week, your dog will approach you and lie down. Click and throw a treat. Do this six times. If there is no pause between the time he finishes his treat and the time he lies down (all six times), you now have a predictable behavior that can be named.
  • After the sixth time, as soon as your dog finishes his treat say “Down!”
    When your dog lies down (which he was going to do anyway) click and treat.
    As soon as he is done chewing say “Down!” When he does, click and treat.
  • Repeat this process “Down”, he does, click treat. Etc.



  • PUPPIES: Practice for 5 minutes, two to three times each day.
  • DOGS: Practice this for ten repetitions, three times each day.


You should be able to say “Down” and have your dog lie down the first time without any treats in view in a low distraction environment.
He should stay down for five or more seconds for puppies, and ten or more seconds for dogs.



My dog won’t lie down. He just stands there.

  • Consider if there is a less distracting environment.
    Consider if he has pent up energy you can get rid of by taking him for a walk or playing a game of fetch.
  • Does he like the treats you are using? When first acquiring a behavior, your dog will only work for you if you pay him with something he likes.


I ask my dog to down and he won’t do it.

  • You probably named it before it was predictable. If you wait until you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the next thing your dog will do is lie down, name it. If you aren’t there yet keep practicing without the word. Try again in a day or two.
  • Your dog may know down in a less distracting environment, but where you are trying to work is too much for him. Make it easier by selecting a less distracting environment and working up to where you are.