If your dog knows and understands the command “sit”, then “lie down” will be easy to go to the next level. And it is a great skill to learn.
You can easily teach your dog to lie down. Being calm, still, and relaxed are characteristics of a well-mannered dog. And you want one right? Well, it is time for you to learn how to teach a dog to lie down.
Why teach your dog to lie down?
By teaching your dog to lie down, you can control him and his impulses. You also increase the bond you have with your furry friend.
Lie down is one of the simplest, yet most effective and beneficial commands to learn. You can use this skill whether you are at home, or somewhere outside. Both sit and lie down commands help you keep the dog still.
Ideally, your dog already knows how to sit. From there, you can move to the next position, which is lie down.
Step by Step Guide to Lie Down
Step 1 – Prepare your treats
You cannot start any training process without treats. Dogs react to treats. Yes, some might react to toys. If your dog prefers a toy, you can use a toy for this training. Figure out what kind of treats your dog loves and have them ready.
Also, if you have used a clicker before, and your dog responds to it, then go for the clicker instead of a treat.
Step 2 – Sit
As mentioned previously, it is much easier to get a dog to lie down if he is already in a sitting position. If your dog doesn’t know how to sit, check how to do that.
When your dog is in a sitting position, just bring his favorite treat close to the nose. If he gets too excited and springs back up, move a step or two back, and get him to sit position again. Only when he is steady in sit and does not get overly excited about the treat, you can continue.
Step 3 – It is time to go down
At this point, you need to give your dog the command “down” or “lie down”. Do it every time, and eventually, your dog will get the cue.
Step 4 – Lure the dog to lie down position
As you are giving your dog the command “lie down”, squat down, and move the treat down to the floor. But move it in an elevator-vertical style.
You need to place the treat to the floor, right in between his front legs. Wait for your dog to follow the treat to the floor with his nose.
Naturally, he will move his body down. When his nose is close to the floor, bring the treat back out along the floor toward you, and he will fall down in lie-down position.
If your dog pops up while luring, quickly get the treat away. Get him back to the sit position, and repeat the process all over, starting from Step 2.
Step 5 – Keep him in lie down
When your dog is in the lie down position, put your hand gently on his shoulder. It will deter your dog from getting back up and walking toward the treat.
With your dog in lie down position, praise him, and give him the treat. Let him eat the treat immediately, and say “good boy” and pet him. If you use a clicker, this is the time to click the clicker.
Only give him the treat when his belly, elbows, and rear end touch the floor. Never before that.
Step 6 – Go back to normal
When your dog is done with the treat, you can release him. Give him a release command, say “Up”, “Ok”, or simply clap your hands. Step backward as you say the Up command to get him to stand up.
Tricks for reluctant dogs
Not all dogs love to learn tricks and obey your commands. If that is the case, you can try a couple of tricks for reluctant dogs.
Trick No.1 – Catch your dog in the act
When your dog is resistant to the luring technique, you can try and catch him lying down on his own. Just stand in a room with your dog, and wait for him to lie down on his own.
The moment his body is on the floor, say “down”, and give him a treat. Or click the clicker. Throw the treat just a few feet in front of him.
He will stand up, and you will have to wait for him to lie down and get the treat. If he doesn’t lie down, take the treat away. Repeat until he connects the command down to the treat.
Trick No.2 – Sit with your dog
For this purpose, you need to sit down in front of your dog. Your dog can be on the left or the right side. Put your legs out along the floor, and then raise them up.
They should look like a tent. Slowly show him a treat and let him sniff it. Then, slowly move the treat under your legs. Your dog will have to crouch down under your legs to get the treat.
If he lies down, give him the treat, and if not, repeat the process all over again.
Bonus tips for training
We want to make sure you succeed in your goal to learn how to teach a dog to lie down. With that in mind, here are some training lessons that will make your life easier.
Preparation is important
You cannot train your dog or teach him new tricks whenever you like. It is important that you prepare your dog for the training lesson. You can do that by playing with him before a training lesson.
Happy dogs are more willing to learn. And he will be happy after a short playtime.
You should also prepare for the environment. Make sure that you start practicing in a quiet and calm place. The living room, for example, is a good option.
Remove any distraction, and make sure there is no temptation and interruption.
Repeat, repeat, and then repeat again
Dogs learn by repeating things. If you succeed once, do not think you have mastered the technique. You need to do it again. Once you make one successful try, try to increase the amount of work your dog needs to do to get a treat.
In this case, that means to make your dog to lie down, stand up, then lie down again. Give him the treat after the second or third lie down command.
Practice in different places
When you begin the learning and training process, you have to do it in a quiet and calm place. You want an environment where your dog feels safe. However, once your dog understands the command, it is time to try it in a different setup.
It is harder to practice in a busy place, with more distractions. Therefore, move there slowly and gradually.