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How To Teach A Dog To Lay Down? Guide for Novice Owners

How To Teach A Dog To Lay Down
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When you get a dog, be it through buying from a reputable breeder or adopting one from a shelter, the first few weeks and months you have to work on obedience training. The first thing is teaching a dog to sit down. And among the top 5 most important commands, we have lie down. Once your dog masters sit, it is time to learn how to teach a dog to lay down.

This basic command is useful to get your dog to settle on the floor. You can use it when you are outside, or when you are at home.

Why Do You Need To Teach “Lie Down”?

If you want to improve your pooch’s behavior, teaching it to lie down is essential. If you want to get a desired behavior out of your puppy, “lie down” is the way to go. When your dog is down, it is not jumping on guests, it is not weaving between your legs, it is not barking, or stealing things from the dinner table.

And the best part is it is quite easy to teach this command. You can use either a verbal cue or a hand signal to do it.

Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog you want to teach new dog tricks, let’s take a look at how to teach a dog to lay down.

dog lay down

Why Do We Use Lures?

The easiest way to teach a desired behavior is to lure your dog into it. Usually, lures are treats that your dog loves. But there are three types of lures. It depends on what motivates your puppy. Lures can be treats, toys, or even human affection and attention. For example, Pitbulls are often motivated by human affection. They crave it!

Here is an example of luring your dog. You hold a treat to its nose and move it in a circle parallel to the ground, your puppy will follow it and do a spin.

Or the way we teach sit. We lure with a treat, hold it to the nose, and lure the dog into a sitting position.

Yet, no matter which lures you use, it is important to fade them out until they become a bribe.

In the end, your dog should respond to a hand signal or verbal command rather than the lure.

How To Teach “Lie Down”?

Here is the simplest and easiest guide for teaching your dog to lie down in six steps. Let’s go.

  1. Start by getting your dog in a sit position. Hold a treat in your hand, and move your hand from your dog’s nose towards the chest, and then straight down toward the floor
  2. At this point, your dog should follow the treat into a lying down position. Praise the behavior and reward with the treat immediately
  3. Practice and repeat the exercise several times. Always do one obedience training session at a time. Do not try to teach different things at once. Do short, but regular repeats of the lie down command
  4. Once your dog is easily following the treat to a down position, add the verbal command “down” the moment your dog is getting into the down position
  5. Practice it several times in short and regular sessions
  6. Once you get your dog in a lie down position, give him plenty of treats to reinforce the time your dog spends lying down

How Long Does It Take To Teach A Dog To Lie Down?

It depends on many factors. Some puppies learn it in a day or two. Others take a lot more training sessions. For example, smart dogs like Retrievers will do it quite quickly. Most dogs, however, will learn to lie down within three to ten training sessions of about 5 to 10 minutes.

Every dog is different, so allow your puppy to take its time. Do not rush anything. The more you rush it, the less success you will have.

What If Your Dog Refuses To Lie Down?

In most cases, dogs are not hesitant to lie down. Yet, if that happens, there are quite a few explanations:

  • They need more time to practice the command
  • They do not understand that the lie down command applies everywhere and at anytime
  • The surface is not comfortable
  • Your dog might be experiencing joint pain that makes the movement painful
  • You are in a busy and crowded space where your dog feels unsafe and vulnerable to lie down

Whatever the case, remember, your dog doesn’t refuse to lie down for the sake of refusing. There is a reason behind it. Try to understand it.

How To Teach A Dog To Lay Down

Training Secrets

I would love to finish the article with some obedience training tips. Hopefully, these tips can help you get better at teaching your dog to perform different tricks, including lying down.

  • Always start with a tasty training treat that your dog really loves to provide extra motivation
  • Hold the treat firmly in your hand, do not allow your dog to steal it from your hand
  • Give your dog the training treat as soon as it gets the behavior right. You have to be clear about what you are rewarding
  • Do not use a leash or hands to force the behavior
  • Do not repeat steps over and over again if your dog has trouble understanding. Making the session longer is not going to help
  • Make sure you always end a training session with a win. If your dog struggles with lying down, finish the session with a command he knows and gets rewarded for it
  • Until you perfect a behavior at home, do not try it outside where there are plenty of distractions

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