Join Date: Feb 2017
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This is what my trainer did with Scarlett. She learned it in one session and has not forgotten even though we haven't done it in a while ( I tested her today). She was 8 months old at the time.
1. Start with your dog in a SIT position. When you tell him to sit, do not praise because that would release him and not let him know he still has to keep working.
2. Hold a larger, smellier treat in your hand between your thumb and forefinger with your palm facing down.
3. Keep the treat very near your dog’s nose and even allow him to lick and nibble at the treat as you SLOWLY lower your hand to the floor. Your dog’s head should follow your hand.
4. As soon as his body is completely flat on the floor, treat him and praise him. (We are not saying the word Down yet!!)
5. See if you can have him do this 7 times in a row. Once he’s mastered it with the food lure, it’s time to remove the lure.
6. Rub your treat over your hand so your hand smells like the treat and try to lure him down with just your hand (no treat in it). Once again, when he is completely flat on the floor, praise and treat.
7. Now it’s time to add the word (once he’s done Step 6 seven times in a row). Repeat what you have been doing, but now when he is completely flat, say “Down”, treat and praise.
8. You’ve created your hand signal: moving your hand towards the floor.
9. If you have been kneeling on the floor during all this, it’s time to get up! I don’t want you to have to get on the floor for the rest of your dog’s life when it’s time to down! You may have to bend over a bit when you start, but ultimately you should be able to stand straight up and have your dog do a “down”.
10. Don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t catch on to this right away. This can be a challenge for some dogs, especially the smaller ones. But be patient and soon your dog will be a master of “Down”!
11. Remember to only say the cue ONCE. If your dog does not respond immediately, let him think about it and within a few seconds he should be doing his “down”. Do not keep repeating the cue. This will only lead to teaching your dog to ignore you.
12. Once your dog is good at this, you should be able to have him “down” from a standing position also. So you don’t always need to do a two step cue. Give it a try. When he is standing, give him his hand signal and say “Down”. If he doesn’t get it right away, go back to using the food lure to bring him down. He should catch on very quickly.
Last edited by Scarlett's mom; 10-17-2018 at 08:28 PM.