Learning to Lay Down with Your Dog


The fundamental command “down” or “lay down” must be taught to your dog. Ideally, every dog should be able to lie down when asked by their owners. The order “down” can be quite useful when you need your dog to relax in a stressful situation or keep him in a stay position for a long time. It’s also the initial step in a few well-known dog tricks, such the rollover. Thankfully, teaching your dog to “down” is about as simple as teaching them to “sit.”

Your dog should be in a backwards position with its elbows, hocks, and chest on the ground. The ideal situation is for it to stay there until you release it. With some practice, your dog can master the down command, which is also a straightforward one to teach.

How to Teach Your Dog to Lie Down

Before you begin, make sure you have enough of tempting training snacks on hand. Little, soft, and sweet dog treats are the best. Save these treats for training sessions solely and substitute other treats for general rewards.

Set aside five to ten minutes where you won’t be interrupted. If you use a clicker to train your dog, be sure you have it with you.

  1. First, get your dog’s attention. Show him that you have a reward in your possession.
  2. Hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose rather than letting him take it just yet. Then, as you gradually lower the treat to the ground, let your dog follow it.
  3. Repeat step 3 until your dog is totally seated. Try pulling the treat a little bit away from your dog if he isn’t moving his body down to follow it.
  4. After giving your dog the treat and letting him lie down entirely, pet and praise him (with his elbows and hocks on the ground).
  5. After your dog consistently gives the down signal while receiving the treat, add the verbal cue. Say “down” sternly and emphatically while lowering the treat to the ground.
  6. Continue doing this without giving your dog a treat as a reward until it nods off. Reward your dog with a treat once more once he has calmed down.

Once or twice a day, quick training sessions should be held. Lessons ought to be taught in a range of environments, including both indoor and outdoor ones. Always make an effort to smile when you end sessions. Use another cue that your dog is accustomed to at the conclusion, such as “sit,” and finish with a treat.

Submit the Release

Once your dog can properly lie down when requested, it’s time to use your release word. This will let your dog know it’s alright to stand up. Although any phrase can be used as a release trigger as long as you’re consistent, “OK” is usually utilized as one.

A maximum of 30 seconds should be used to force your dog to lie down before releasing him. When you’re ready to release the dog, use your release command after using the “stay” command. Work your way up to longer intervals so that your dog will stay down until you say “OK” no matter how long it takes.

Problems and Proofing Techniques

If you are still having trouble coaxing your dog to lie down while being bribed with treats, try noting the behavior. The next time your dog naturally lies down, say “down,” and reward it with praise and a goodie. Try this each time you find it curled up. You’ll probably need to offer goodies if you want this to be successful. Additionally, it is quite easy to record actions with a clicker.

When your dog responds quickly to the down cue, you might think about gradually introducing distractions. You should also practice the behavior in various contexts and situations.

You won’t need to give your dog treats every time he successfully lies down once he has mastered the skill. Occasionally providing rewards will aid in reinforcing the desired behavior. Furthermore, it’s always wise to offer appreciation as a reward. The goodies are actually simply a bonus because your dog enjoys doing what you want.


  • Avoid forcing your dog into a posture if, despite numerous attempts, he still won’t lie down on his own. This is a common mistake made by owners, and dogs usually do not pick it up in this way.
  • Spanking or yelling at your dog will only make him lose interest.
  • If the usual nibbles aren’t working, try offering your dog a more valuable treat, like fresh meat.