Teaching Puppy "Down"

Posted by finerflower
Oct 21, 2011
My 4.5 month old puppy really understands the sit command. I would now like to progress to "Down". I tell him to sit and he sits. Then I tell him to sit, stay. I walk back like 10 steps and say "come" and he comes. He is also doing pretty well with the come command in general so I want to progress.

I put pup in sitting position. When I tell my puppy "down" then take the treat to his nose and slowly take it to the floor then try to lead him down, he stands up and puts is face down. I have to pull his paws ad push him down and then everything becomes a flurry of activity that turns into a confusing mess. While I'm holding him down on the floor and he is laying, I give him the treat and say good dog.

Basically, I feel that I'm training him to allow me to force him in the down position and then he gets rewarded for putting up with the forceing down. I want him to go down on his own.

(Here is a pic of him "peanut")

Can you tell me an alternative way to teach "down"?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 22, 2011
Hi finerflower,

When you bring the treat down, make sure you bring it in between his front paws, or even further in. When the treat is forward of his paws, he would stand up. (sorry, it is hard to explain)

Don't push him to "down" position. You should be able to just lure him with a treat if the treat position is further in between his paws. This way, he will have to really look down to look at the treat and he would not step forward (which I think he is doing now to stand up) and eventually he would have to push his body a little backward into a "down" position.

Hope this will help
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 23, 2011
Hey there,

MHN's advice sounds like how I trained my dog "down". I used treats only half the time, and just my hand flat open the rest of the time.

After a sit, I just patted the ground directly under my dogs chin, and he naturally went to a down position. Once he learned it from sit, he picked up on going "down" from a standing position pretty well.

So I'd echo the advice of trying to put the treat closer to your pups body, instead of out in front of him.