Down! Basic Commands for Therapy Dogs
In my last post, I introduced you to obedience training and described how to teach your dog to sit using the Sit command. Today’s blog post is going to be about teaching your dog to lay down using the Down command.
Have treats your dog likes ready. Small pieces work best when training since you will be repeating the command several times.
First, get your dog’s attention by showing that you have treats in your hand. Next, get your dog in a Sit position as described in the previous post and give them a treat once they are sitting.
Next say Down while showing your dog what Down means by placing a treat close to your dog’s nose and mouth then slowly moving the treat down to the ground until your dog lies down.
Just as you did when teaching the Sit command, only say Down once. Don’t repeat it. If your dog does not get it the first time, stop, do NOT give a treat, wait a few seconds and try again.
As soon as your dog goes into the Down position, say “Yes,” give your dog several small treats and lots of praise.
Keep up with training even after your dog gets it. An easy way to do this is to ask your dog to go into the Sit position and then the Down position for various other activities – playing fetch, dinner, treats, etc. Doing so will reinforce both the Sit and the Down commands.
Eventually you won’t have to show your dog a treat to get them to go into a Down position. They will have learned the word and will know what to do, even without a treat. Even if you have asked your dog to go into the Down position and do not have a treat, remember to still praise them for listening and responding to your command.