Teaching your dog to lay or sit 'down' is a fundamental of dog training. My article here will show you the basics of the 'down' command, and adopts technique from 'Secrets to Dog Training', the best selling dog training program you can get.
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This lesson is best taught outside, in a open area your dog trusts, free from ALL distractions. An quiet park, or your back yard is really ideal.
Start by getting your dogs attention and attendance with a favourite treat (cut up cheese, chicken or sausage perhaps). The idea is to get the dog to be positioned standing in front of you.. Now hold a little reward out in fron of his nose, and then place it towards the ground out in front of him. Keep it far enough away that he knows he cant hoave it yet though. Restrain the dog if you need to. Use the 'down' command you have chosen both spoken and motioned (ie hand signal) and repeat it until your dog lays down.
After he lies down, let him have his treat by moving it to him, as he is lying down.
We dont want him to get the reward, until he has done the whole motion. Dont give him the reward if hes only done a half job. Often, the dog wont know what to do first off. Coax him down by hand, and reward him when hes lying to satisfaction. Keep this up, you want to keep going until the dog learns that he is rewarded when he lies right down. It shouldnt take very long if he is hungry!
Once you feel that your dog is going well and lying down with confidence, hold the reward a off the ground away from him. We hope that he learns to lie down in anticipation of getting the reward!
This will most likely confuse him initially, but again motion him with guidance, and reward on FULL completion of the lie down manoeuver.
After practise of this, start giving the ‘down’ command (hand motion and voice instruction) before you present the treat to lead the dog down.
Gradually, you should now wean the dog off of the treat, so that he begins to respond to a simple downward sweep of your hand and a 'down' call. Hold the treat further and further away from him, and praise him more and pat him each time he lys down, placing less focus on giving the treat. Get him to accept your praise as reward for following the hand and voice command.
You can get to the rest of our great articles and read the end of this one, at my website www.dog-hobbyist.com
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