Dog Training Tips

How to learn the Down command! to his dog?

Learn the order: Down! to his dog is very useful and it is part of the basic commands that any doggie can learn without great difficulty. This posture is indeed useful to make your pet wait, to keep it in place when you are in a public space surrounded by people or when you have to reassure an intimidated or frightened person at the sight of your dog.

Moreover, this position is proof of your pet’s submission and a good way to remind him that you are his master, to calm him down and reframe him without difficulty. Discover our advice and tips for successfully teaching this simple order to your little companion and the right things to do to achieve it more easily.

How to learn the command “Down!” to his dog?

Before you start, know that you will need to be very patient. Your pet may need time to integrate each stage of this learning. We will introduce you to three different learning methods. Test one or more of them, but take the time to repeat each step well until it is perfectly integrated before moving on to the next one. Repetition is essential.

Always be kind to your dog, encouraging him, praising him and rewarding him for success. He will feel supported in his learning and will develop a relationship of trust with you. Violence, bullying, brutality, humiliation and punishment have no place in learning and will on the contrary be counterproductive. Always act gently and firmly and remember to solicit your animal when it is ready (not when it sleeps, when it eats or when it plays) and for short sessions.

The basic method

If your dog knows how to respond to the command “Sit!” », you can start from this one to teach him the order « Down! “. To do this, ask your pooch to sit down and then pull his paws gently and without forcing until he is lying down. Once done, tell him “Down!” so that it associates the order with the position.

Repeat several times until your pet has fully integrated the order and then try to get him to lie down directly.

The passive method

As soon as you see your pet go to bed, simply tell him “Down!” “. Wait well for this that the animal is just perfectly lying on the ground, do not say it too early, nor too late.

As the rehearsals go on, your doggie will eventually understand that the command “Down!” is associated with this position and will eventually fold on its own when you command it to.

This simple passive method is also applicable with the command “Sit!” “.

The active method

This method involves your pet more. You can invite him to sit down, if he masters this command well. Place a treat in your hand and show it to her. Let him approach to smell it then lower your hand to ground level and move your hand away from your animal while brushing the ground.

Your pet will then be forced to lie down to reach it. Once in the right position, say the command “Down!” before giving him the treat as a reward. Repeat several times until your animal finally associates the command with the position. You can also keep the treat hidden in your fist and only give it to him when he has carried out the order correctly;

you can also space out the treats by not giving them systematically, but by rewarding him with a caress. Over time and repetitions, your pooch will be able to do the gesture without receiving a treat.

What are the right actions to adopt in the context of this learning?

Here are our tips to follow in order to avoid certain errors when learning the command “Down!” » :

  • Do not go too fast by burning the steps. This order is simple and requires few gestures. However, be sure to respect your dog’s progress so as not to go faster than his pace, otherwise you risk often returning to the starting point.
  • Do not yell at your pet if it fails to carry out the command. Try again later, otherwise he may associate your anger with the words and get scared every time he hears it. Take a break and start again or postpone the session to another more convenient time.
  • Never use this order to punish your animal or to send it to its basket if it has made a mistake. The command “Down!” must only have a useful use. If you also use it to punish him, he won’t know the difference and will be afraid of you every time you ask him.
  • You can help your pet into position by gently stretching its legs, but don’t force it by pressing on its head or back, as you could injure it.
  • Ask your pet as soon as he is ready. Avoid saying “Down!” when he eats, sleeps or plays, because he will no longer be able to associate the right gestures with the right words. If he is unable to concentrate, all your efforts will be counterproductive. Likewise, stick to short sessions. And if he seems bored or distracted, stop and come back later. You risk getting tired of it and not achieving your goals despite your efforts.

Ema Clark

Dog Trainer and Writer Since 2016. Over 17 years of experience working with all breeds and ages of dogs, using a variety of training techniques.
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