Training your puppy to lay down is a great way to teach them how to stay in the position that you have told them. This is also an important part of reinforcing to your puppy that you are the leader of the pack and that they should obey your commands.
There are a few different methods that you can use when teaching the ‘lay down’ command, and you should try them all to see which your dog best responds to.
Many people find that the ‘down’ command is easier to teach once your dog has mastered the ‘sit’ command. So if you haven’t already followed the steps to teach your puppy how to sit, then you should do this before commencing with training your puppy to lay down.
One of the most basic ways to teach your puppy to lay down is to start saying ‘down’ every time you see your puppy is about to lay down of its own accord. This will start the mental association with laying down and the ‘down’ command.
Remember to always use a firm but friendly tone when you are training your puppy. It’s important to show that you are in control, while also not making them feel intimidated. Also, remember to praise your puppy every time they follow a command that you give, they will soon start associating correct behaviors with being praised and will want to please you every time you give a command.
To get into training your puppy to lay down, first give the ‘sit’ command so that you have your dogs attention. Then, firmly say down and pat the floor in front of you. If your dog needs some additional pointers, you can either push gently on their shoulders so that their legs give way, or you can take their two front legs and lay them in the down position.
Once your puppy is in the correct position, you need to praise them so they understand what you want them to do.
As an alternative, it is possible to train your puppy to lay down using a leash and collar. Once again, have them sitting with their full attention on you. Give the ‘down’ command and gently pull the leash towards the floor. Another trick that works well in combination with this is to hold a small piece of liver treat near their nose, and move your hand downwards towards the floor.
Your puppy’s nose should follow the strong and tempting smell of this treat until they are in the downward position. Always remember to praise your puppy once they are in the desired position, this is a great way of showing your puppy how you want them to respond to a given command.
Not all puppies will follow this command immediately, so keep training in short, regular bursts so that your puppy regards training as something fun and is focused on what you are trying to achieve.
Remember that persistence and consistency are the two most important points in training your puppy!