Basic Commands Part 2 - Teach Your Dog to Lie Down

Once your dog has mastered 'sit', it is time to move on to another useful basic command. Being able to ask your dog to lie down is useful in many situations and also acts as a stepping stone for other commands like 'roll over.' If you haven't already, check out our guide on teaching your dog to sit first to familiarise yourself with the basic principles of 'luring' and 'capturing'.


Step 1

Decide on what command you would like to use when asking your dog to lie down. Most people will use either 'drop' or 'down.' To avoid confusion be sure that you don't use your chosen word in another situation, for example if you wanted your dog to drop a toy or get down off the couch.


Step 2

Hold a tasty treat in your hand so your dog can see it. Very very slowly lure him down towards the floor, as your dog follows the treat he should drop towards the ground. As soon as his belly touches the ground capture the behaviour with the clicker or a 'yes!' and reward him with the treat. If you are having trouble getting him to drop his belly right on to the floor, you can try moving the treat out along the floor in an L-shape. Alternatively you can move the treat towards his body in a reverse L-shape to gently cause him to overbalance and drop to the floor.


Step 3

Repeat step 3 until your dog readily drops in response to the luring hand gesture. Once you have achieved this you can begin to add in your chosen command word while you are asking for the behaviour. Continue to practice using both the luring gesture and command word to begin with, gradually over time you will be able to remove the gesture altogether and just use the verbal command.

Posted by Dr Teagan Lever

When Teagan's not busy sharing her knowledge of all things pets as Pet Circle's resident vet, she is the human companion of two intense English staffies and a three-legged cat named Steve.

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