Best Way to Train Your Dog to Lie Down

“Down” is a tricky command to teach because it asks the dog to assume a submissive posture. Because most puppies and preadolescents do this easily and naturally, even rolling onto their backs for a belly rub, youth is the easiest time to teach this command. Once a dog is an adolescent, and in that how larger than life am I frame of mind, or an adult, it is more difficult, at first, to get an amiable response when teaching “Down.” But because it is a submissive posture, and because having your dog lie down on command is a clear, benign reminder that you, not he, are top dog, you really need to teach it.

Here are some tips before you begin.

Dog Lie Down Best Way to Train Your Dog to Lie Down

  • Teach “Down” slowly, working a minute or two at a time. Don’t keep pressing your dog. Don’t rush the teaching.
  • Teach “Down” indoors with no other dogs present. Your male will feel he’s losing face to assume a submissive posture in front of another male dog, even if it’s your own. Once he knows the command, you can use it as you need it.
  • Most important, until your dog lies down on command with­out a fuss, do these lessons after his exercise, preferably when he’s pooped. Cheating? Smart!

If your pet is still a pup, ask him to sit, pat the floor in front of him with one hand, then scoop up his front legs, lifting them a little higher than you would have to in order to bring them forward, then bring them forward, slowly, and place them back on the floor. Work on a carpet. Speak gently. Encourage your dog to roll over for a belly rub. This makes the “Down” command appealing and benign.

Dog Lie Down 1 Best Way to Train Your Dog to Lie Down

Some young dogs will learn this easily. Others won’t. If yours won’t, try a toy as a lure. With your dog on a “Sit/stay,” pat the floor, saying “Down,” and bring the toy in an L pattern, straight down in front of him, then along the floor, stopping where his paws will be when he lies down to get it.

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