5 Step Guide to Training Your Dog to Lie Down

Getting Started

Training dogs to lie down is a useful command that can be beneficial in a number of settings: in the home, at the veterinarian’s, when visiting other people, or when you and your dog are around other animals. Follow these steps below, and your dog will learn how to lie down in no time.

Training Your Dog to Lie Down

What You Will Need:

  • A yard, or a room with plenty of space for your dog to stand, sit, and lie down
  • Treats
  • A dog that already knows the “sit” command

Step One:

It is particularly important that you have your dog’s complete attention when you are teaching this command. Your dog will not understand what you are doing at first, so be sure to use a positive happy voice and praise the dog continually throughout and after the lesson.

Step Two:

When you have your dog’s attention using a favorite treat, have the dog sit. Place a treat in your hand for your dog to see. Say “lie down” as you move the treat in front of his face towards the floor. Once your hand reaches the floor, tap on it, to encourage him to move to the floor. His head will instinctively move towards the treat. Once his head is near the floor, pull the treat forward. You’ll be creating an “L” shape with your luring motion.

Step Three:

If your dog lunges at the treat without lying down, start over. Don’t give him the treat until he actually places his front legs and belly on the floor. You may have to show him what you want him to do by guiding his legs as you say “lie down.” As soon as he reaches the position, shower him with praise and offer the treat.

Step Four:

Repeat the action a few times a day, for many days in a row, and eventually your dog will associate the words ‘lie down’ with the action. Once your dog has made this connection, keep the lessons up. Now you can hold up a treat or toy, say the words lie down, and when the dog follows up with the action immediately give a reward with lots of praise.

Step Five:

Over time tray to stop using a treat or toy as a reward, and stick to verbal praise and petting as you continue with the lesson. Perform the lessons at least 3 times a day until your dog has mastered the lying down command. Remember to continually reinforce the lessons as needed, and always follow up with some sort of praise.

Helpful Tips:

If your dog is not following the treat, try switching to a different flavor or brand to entice him. Some dogs don’t like to lie down on cold or hard floors. Try practicing the “lie down” command in your yard or a carpeted room of the house. Once your dog has mastered the command, try it in different rooms of the house and eventually move to public spaces like the park or the pet store. You want your dog to listen to you outside of your home, so it is important to try new commands in new areas once you know your dog understands what those commands are.

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