How Do I Teach My Dog the Down Command?
By Armen Ghazarians
Teaching the down command can be a dawnting task if you don’t use the proper techniques. The method that I’ve used to quickly train my dog involves three steps. First you must make sure that your dog understands what it must do when it is given the “down” command. Second, you must be certain that you have practiced the down command 3X a day for 5min. each time for a period of 1 week.. The last step is to use a technique I learned from Winnifred Strickland to teach your dog the down command by signal rather than by a verbal command.
Without further adieu, here’s my three step plan. First find a secluded location where there are no distractions. Put your dog’s choke collar and leash on and use a little bit of kibble as enticement for the next three days. Now, take one kibble in you hand, bring it up close to your dogs mouth, move you hand down to the ground as you dog tries to nibble at it and say the command “down”. You will need to repeat this process 3x/day for 5min. for the next three days.
From day 4-7 repeat your training again in a secluded area where there are no distractions for your dog. Except, now, in step two, do not use food as an enticement. This time take the right front paw of you dog and stretch it forward. At the same time, grab the dog’s choke collar and gently push your dog over to its side as you say the command “down”.
Now, you’re ready for the third phase of your training session. As before, set up an environment where your dog won’t be distracted. Put the collar and leash back on, stand next to your dog, and say the command “down” and see if you dog will respond. If your dog responds, then great, you’re done. However, most dog’s won’t respond to your command because the down command is putting them in a submissive position and they prefer not to be told what to do. At this point you know that your dog understands what is expected of it and it is still refusing to obey.
In order to complete the third phase of your dog’s training, stand in front of your dog with your leash at hand and say the command “down”. When your dog refuses to obey, gently tap the tip of its nose with the palm of your fingers as your point to the ground. You dog must be able to see you point to the ground. ONLY repeat this procedure once or twice per session because you don’t want to give your dog the impression that you’re hitting it. Repeat this procedure for the next 3 days. On the 4th day, follow the same procedure except with one variation. This time simply hold the palm of your hand over your dog’s head, look into its eyes, and see if it obeys your command. If your dog does not respond, again tap its nose gently with the palm of your fingers and say the command “down”. The key to the last technique is to be GENTLE and not use a lot of force when tapping the tip of your dog’s nose. Within a matter of a few days, your dog will respond to you command and “down” with your signal rather than with your verbal command.
Armen T. Ghazarians offers advice, information, and articles regarding many aspects of professional dog training for all those who are not professional dog trainers themselves. For more articles like this one, visit his website at http://www.newdogtrainingsecrets.com .
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