In this video I use food treats because most dogs, like Keeper, will work for food. It makes it just that much easier to teach your dog a well accomplished down.
Step # 1 – Lure Your Dog Down to the Ground
Now with food treat in hand, lure your dog all the way to the ground, right between his front feet. When his elbows hit the ground, you praise him and then toss the treat so he gets up and you can repeat this. Do it over and over until he’s doing it quickly.
Step #2 – You Do Less – He Does More
Again – food treat in hand it’s time to go to the next step. Now you want to do less and expect your dog to do more, so take your food treat hand right in front of his nose and lure him only halfway down, expecting him to go the rest of the way on his own, just like Keeper. Now when his elbows hit the ground, you praise him and then toss the treat so that he gets up.
Step # 3 – Dog Does The Down With No Luring
Your next step is to just put your food treat hand right in front of his nose as you say the word down and expect that he drops all the way without any luring from you. Once he’s down, elbows on the ground, praise him and drop the food treat. Repeat this as many times as necessary to get him to do it quickly. Then you’re ready for the next step.
Step # 4 – Tease Your Dog Into Doing A Down – Say The Word
If your dog is ready for the next step, here’s what you do. This is called the tease. You just let him briefly smell the treat, take your hand quickly away and say the word down, and see if he’ll drop all the way to the ground. If he does elbows on the ground, praise him then drop the treat so he gets up. You can rinse and repeat until he’s doing that quickly.
Step # 5 – Add The Hand Signal to the Tease for the Down Command
Next pair the hand signal with the tease. Once your dog is in a sit, tease him with your food treat hand and then give him a down hand signal and say the word down. Once he’s down you praise him, then treat him. Rinse and repeat until he’s doing this quickly.
Step # 6 – The Completed Down Command With No Tease
Here’s the cool part. Now you eliminate the tease and just put him on a hand signal. Put him in a sit, give him a hand signal to down. Once he drops you praise him and drop the treat. Repeat that until he does it quickly, and you’ve reached your goal. Your next step is to simply work on longer downs and release him once you’re ready to let him up.
Always remember to build time first in a down before you add distance from your dog. Then you add distractions after that. The formula is time, distance, and distractions. That’s how you easily teach your dog the down.
There you have it, folks, a very easy way to teach your dog the down command. Wean him off of food treats and put this to use for you and your dog. I’m Jim Burwell. Keeper and I can still be found at petiquettedog.com.