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Tip #4                   Teaching your dog to lay down

Using the Clicker, show your dog a treat, but do not allow him to have it. Hold your hand in front of the dog’s nose and draw your hand down to his front paws.  You can tell your dog “down” but do not repeat the command if the dog does not respond.  Sometimes dogs will stand there waiting to see what you are going to do with that treat.  Hold on to it, be patient, give your dog a few moments to figure out what you want.  Dogs that are not inclined to easily go into the down position may need a little help by putting light pressure on their shoulder blades.  Do not force your dog down as they will fight against it, just a little pressure to indicate the direction you would like them to go.  Fearful, and dominant dogs will not like being forced into a down position.  This is a vulnerable position to be in. Consult a qualified professional dog trainer for help. 

Once the dog goes into the down, click and reward your dog.  Reward the dog quickly several times to help ensure they do not just pop right up.  So long as the dog is in a down position, continually reward to help the dog understand this is when the reward comes.  Do not let the dog get up without giving it a command.  This means before it’s the dog’s idea, let it be yours.  Tell the dog to heel and walk a couple of steps then stop and sit the dog.  Repeat this exercise many times through out the day; 3 to 5 times each exercise.  As the dog improves, begin to decrease the frequency of treats with intermittent treating sessions. Always vary the amount of time between treating this will keep your dogs attention and they will not begin anticipating or pushing for the treat by popping up just to get some more food.