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How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Training dogs to respond to basic dog commands is an important part of raising any dog. If you are a pet owner, you should know that teaching your dog these basic commands is a vital part of keeping them safe, happy and healthy. Commands are not just parlor tricks–basic commands, like sit and stay, can help keep your dog from dangerous situations; it can also help keep other people and animals interacting with your dog from having a potentially harmful interaction with them. Basic commands are also important for the socialization of your dog and to teach your dog basic etiquette—such as, for example, teaching your dog that it is not appropriate for them to jump up on houseguests or sit on certain pieces of furniture.

How_to_Teach_a_Dog_to_Lay_DownOne of the most common basic commands that pet owners teach their dogs is “Lay Down.” This command is used to teach your dog to assume a low, laying position. This position can be helpful in keeping your dog from jumping up on people or other animals; it can also help calm down the dog down if they become overexcited. It is especially useful for larger breeds of dogs, such as Mastiffs, Great Danes, and Saint Bernard.

In order for your dog to learn how to lie down, your dog will need to understand the “sit” command first. If you have not already taught your dog the “sit” command, you will need to accomplish that before tackling “lay down.” You will also need a treat or treats for this particular type of training.

Let’s go step by step through the process of teaching your dog the lay down command.

Step One

First, you need to command your dog to sit.

Step Two

Next, you will need to hold a treat over your dog’s head—it’s important that your dog is paying attention to the treat above their head.

Step Three

Next, you need to slowly bring your hand down, while still holding the treat, until it is lying on the ground. Then give the command: “Lay down.” You may also want to use a briefer command, such as “Lay” or “Down.” If you intend on teaching your dog the command “down”—as in, “get down,”—it may be more helpful to use “lay” instead of “lay down” to help keep your dog from getting too confused at the similar sound.

Step Four

If your dog has gotten into a laying down position, praise them and give them the treat. It may take some dogs multiple tries to get ahold of the idea—remember to have patience, especially with older dogs or dogs which are known to be particularly stubborn against training.

Step Five

Repeat this process until the dog has learned the command. You should eventually be able to accomplish the training without using treats; it is important to constantly reward your dog, however, with verbal praise and physical affection.