As with Sit, being able to command your dog to lie down is a good way to control him, and it will calm him down if he’s excitable. Make sure you have mastered the Sit command before you move on to Down command.
Choose a quiet place to teach your dog to lie down. Remember that he may feel unsafe in a lying-down position, so give him lots of praise, affection, and reassurance.
Steps on how to teach your dog to lie down
- First command your dog to Sit, see previous tutorial on how to teach your dog to sit.
- Once he is sitting, hold a treat under his nose but don’t give it to him yet.
- Gradually lower your hand toward the ground and say “Down”. Your dog’s nose should follow the treat. You may have to move the treat along the floor away from your dog to get him to lie down properly.
- Once he is lying down, feed him the treat, and praise him. If he stays lying down, give him another treat.
- Eventually, pointing to the floor using a hand signal, such as the one shown on the photo below, should be enough to make your dog lie down.
- A dog feels that he is in a weak position when lying down. Don’t attempt to make your dog lie down in a place where he may feel threatened, such as where there are other dogs, or people he doesn’t know.
- Make it comfortable. Practice the Down technique on your dog’s soft bed so that he gets comfort as well as treats.
- If your dog won’t lie down, try sitting on the floor with your knees up and tempting him under your knees, so that he has to lie down to get the treat.
- Don’t confuse your dog by saying “Down” when, for example, you want him to get off a piece of furniture. Choose the word “Off” instead.
Share this information to your family and friends for them to learn these steps.