How To Teach a Puppy To Lie Down

How to teach a puppy to lie down
Photo by Alison Pang on Unsplash

If you’re here because you are wanting to teach your puppy how to lie down, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll share everything you need to know to train your little pup to lay!

Having a puppy is a super exciting time for any dog owner and we recommend embracing it while it lasts, as they will soon grow up and become bigger in a short span of time, and you shouldn’t overlook training your puppy the basic tricks early on as it’s a much easier and less stressful process the sooner you start!

Once your puppy has mastered other training techniques, like how to sit, it may be time to teach them how to lie down. Here’s everything you need to know to teach a puppy to lie down!

Why is it important to teach a puppy to lie down?

Teaching your dog how to lie down is a useful training and bonding technique for when you want your dog to settle on the floor, calm themselves, wait for a treat or maintain their position. It’s an incredibly useful command when you’re in the house or out and about, as you may be put in a situation where you need to take control of your puppy, or you need to have the freedom to do other things while your dog is safe and under control, like meeting friends and family.

Let’s not forget that training helps build a long-lasting relationship with your dog, provides mental stimulus to keep their wellbeing in check, and ensures they are safe at all times. It’s also a big perk for you too, as you’ll be able to control your dog comfortably when out in public.

How To Teach Your Puppy To Lie Down

To help make the process easier, we suggest teaching your puppy how to sit first, as this will help inform the technique that we’re suggesting to encourage your puppy to lie down, plus, they’ll understand that if they follow instructions, they’ll be rewarded. This will boost your dog’s enthusiasm and commitment to learning a new command, especially if they’ve learnt a trick before.

1) Encourage your dog to get into the sitting position first

This is the first step of the process and your puppy will need to be in the sitting position, this can be done by holding a treat above their nose and moving it towards their back, this will encourage them to sit.

Don’t force your pet into the sitting position, but help guide them. Repeat this process and say “Sit!” – with a tasty reward they should get the hang of it relatively quickly.

2) Get your dogs attention with a treat

You’ll need your dog’s full attention in order to train them effectively, with no distractions nearby.

We recommend picking a quiet location such as a garden or an empty room in the house where it’s just you and your dog.

If there are distractions nearby, this will only make the training process more difficult and your dog’s attention will get diverted elsewhere during its training. Try and eliminate all forms of sound, including outdoor sound, TV, radio, dog toys and anything else that may cause a distraction. You’ll want them 100% focused on you the entire time!

3) Hold a treat up to their nose, towards their chest and straight down to the floor

Once your dog is sat and focused, you’ll need to get your dogs favourite treat and hold it up to their nose.

Move the treat slowly towards their chest from their nose and straight down to the floor.

Your dog should follow the movement of the treat to the floor and encourage them to go into the lying down position on the floor.

If your puppy doesn’t respond to this movement, you may need to repeat the process a few times, and if they still aren’t following, you could ask a friend or family member to guide them to the floor during this process. This can be done by pushing their back down ever so slightly, but not too much as the point of this is to guide the dog and not hurt them.

For some breeds, such as Dachshunds, you will need to go extra careful as they have very fragile spines.

4) Give lots of praise and reward them with tasty treats!

Once your puppy moves to the floor give them lots of tasty treats and praise, say “good boy!” (or girl) so they know they’ve done a good job!

Dogs react to the tone of their human’s voice, so if it’s said very positively and enthusiastically, your dog will know that they have done something positive and great.

5) Use your command word and keep practising

Once your puppy has got the hang of it and they move to the floor when asked to, start incorporating your command word in with your training.

Repeat the process and hold a treat up to their nose, towards their chest and straight down to the floor, however, this time, say your command word with it, such as “Down!”. Do this enough time and they’ll realise that when you say “Down!” they will need to move to the floor in order to get their tasty treat!

6) Reduce the number of treats each go

You can’t forever give your pet a treat every time you ask them to lie down with your command word, therefore, once they’ve become quite good at it, you’ll need to wiggle them off the treats. Increase the time between each reward.

At first, you may give them a treat every time they go to the floor, but after a while, reduce the treatment to every 3 successful attempts, and then 5, and then 10. Eventually, they’ll respond to your command without any treats.

7) Practice, practice, practice!

Keep it consistent and keep practising with your puppy, you could even switch up the area in which you teach your puppy to lie down, so they get used to responding to your command in different settings. Once they become a pro, you could even add distractions to the mix, like the local park where there are other dogs nearby.

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