Training dogs to lie down is a useful command that can be helpful at home, at the vet, when visiting other people, or when you and your dog are around other animals. If you follow the steps below, your dog will quickly learn how to lie down.
Things You’ll Need:
A yard or a room with enough space for your dog to stand, sit, and lie down.
A dog who already knows how to “sit”
When you teach your dog this command, it is very important that he or she pays full attention. At first, your dog won’t know what you’re doing, so make sure to use a happy, positive voice and praise the dog often during and after the lesson.
If you use a favorite treat to get your dog’s attention, tell the dog to sit. Show your dog a treat you have in your hand. Say “lie down” as you move the treat toward the floor in front of his face. Tap on the floor once your hand reaches it to get him to move to the floor. His head will move toward the treat on its own. When his head is almost touching the ground, pull the treat toward him. With your luring motion, you will make an “L” shape.
If your dog lunges for the treat instead of lying down, you need to start over. Don’t give him the treat until his front legs and belly are actually on the floor. You might have to move his legs as you say “lie down” to show him what you want him to do. As soon as he gets to the spot, praise him a lot and give him the treat.
Your dog will ultimately associate the motion with the term “lay down” if you repeat it a few times each day for a number of days in a row. As soon as your dog understands this, you should continue training him. Now you may say, “Lie down,” while holding out a reward or a toy. As soon as the dog complies with your request, reward and compliment it.
As the lesson goes on, you should stop using treats or toys as rewards and stick to verbal praise and petting. Do the lessons at least three times a day until your dog knows how to lie down when told to. Remember to keep going over the lessons as often as you need to, and always end with some kind of praise.
If your dog isn’t interested in the treat, try a different flavor or brand to get his attention. Some dogs don’t like to sleep on floors that are cold or hard. Try teaching your dog the “lie down” command in the yard or in a room with carpet. Once your dog knows the command, try it in different rooms of the house and then in public places like the park or the pet store. If you want your dog to listen to you outside of your home, you should try new commands in new places once you know your dog understands them.