Laying down is something that dogs already do naturally. If you have had a dog as a pet for some time now, you will notice your dog laying down on his/her own in order to sleep or just to take a rest. The problem lies in getting your dog to lay down when you want him/her to, not just when he/she wants to do so.
So, in order to help you out with this, here are the techniques that I suggest for how to train your dog to lay down. Before I move forward, here are a few things I would like to note first. Firstly, you will want to exercise your dog since doing so will allow him/her to use up at least a portion of his/her energy. That will make it more likely your dog will lay down when you want him/her to.
So, go for a walk or play some frisbee with your dog. Secondly, take care that you don’t physically force your dog to lay down as doing so will frighten him/her and/or make him/her more resistant to laying down upon your request. Thirdly, you will want to purchase a training clicker to use during this training.
A training clicker will make a sound when used in order to signal the correct behavior to your dog. So, with these things in mind, we are ready to go.
1. When Your Dog Is Sitting
The easiest way for getting your dog to lay down is when he/she is sitting down. So, you will want to be able to command your dog to sit down. If you are not sure how to get your dog to sit down on command, you can learn how to do that here. Once your dog is sitting down, hold a treat, such as a piece of hot dog, near his/her nose. Now, gently lower your closed hand straight down towards the floor.
Once your closed hand is on the floor, gently pull it backwards away from your dog. Your dog will follow your closed hand with his nose which should prompt him/her to lay down. Once your dog lays down, click the training clicker to signal the correct behavior and then reward him/her with the treat.
2. When Your Dog Is Standing
If you haven’t taught your dog the sit command or you are in the process of doing so, you will want to lure him/her to lay down while he/she is standing. With your dog standing, hold the treat near his/her nose. Then gently lower your closed hand straight down towards the floor. Now, instead of pulling your closed hand backwards as was done with the first technique, you will want to gently push it forward to get between your dog’s front paws.
That will cause your dog to lay down so that he/she can effectively follow your closed hand with his/her nose. With your dog laid down, click the training clicker to signal to him/her that laying down is the correct behavior. Then reward your dog with the treat.
3. When You And Your Dog Are Both Sitting
You can also train your dog to lay down when the both of you are sitting down. When you are sitting down, make sure that your legs are positioned as so to form a vertical triangle. Once that is done, hold the treat near your dog’s nose. Then pull your closed hand backwards away from your dog and lower it to under your legs. Once your hands are in that position, gently push it forward under your legs.
As soon as your dog sees your closed hand going under your legs, gently pull it backwards away from your dog. You want your dog to be following your closed hand by pushing his/her head under your legs. In order for your dog to do that effectively, he/she will need to lay down. Click the training clicker as soon as your dog lays down in order to convey your approval of this behavior.
Then go ahead and give your dog a treat as a reward. If your dog is too big to fit his/her head under your legs, then you can try this technique using a chair.
4. Replace Your Luring Hand With A Command
As soon as your dog starts to get the hang of laying down under the previous three techniques, it is time for you to start phasing out your luring hand and replace it with a command for getting him/her to lay down. To get started, give your dog the command to lay down. You can use a hand or verbal command or both. If you are going to use a verbal command, the best word for you to use for getting your dog to lay down is “down.”
You want to be careful that you don’t confuse the down command with the off command. That is especially true if your dog jumps on your furniture and you want to command him/her to get off of it. As far as the hand command is concerned, I would suggest that you use a finger and point it at the floor. So, either way, after you give your dog the command to lay down, go ahead and do the luring hand process.
You can use any of the previous three techniques for luring your dog to lay down with your closed hand. Once your dog lays down, go ahead and click the training clicker and reward him/her with a treat. Continue to repeat this multiple more times and eventually, your dog will start to associate your command with laying down. At that point, all you need to do to get your dog to lay down is to give him/her a simple command. Wouldn’t that be easier for you?
All in all, if you are looking for how to train your dog to lay down, these are the techniques that I suggest you to use. Don’t forget to give your dog some exercise first in order to increase the chances for your laying down training to be successful. Oh and just in case you are wondering, no, this not a April’s Fool joke. You can actually get your dog to lay down whenever you want him/her to.
What are your thoughts? Does your dog lay down when you tell him/her to or does he/she only do it when he/she wants to? Feel free to leave a comment below.