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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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Teaching “lie down”

Hello! Things are going well with Coco! She learned how to sit very quickly but we are all stumped with teaching her to lie down. I watched Kikopup videos and used her method of starting at a sit and luring a treat down by her front paws. Instead of lying down, Coco stands up and backs up until she gets at the treat. Any suggestions on what we are doing wrong?

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 07:57 AM
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I feel your frustration....I too am having the same problem. For me itís cause she is so close to the ground. When she sits and I offer her the treat to lie down...there is not much distance from her mouth to the floor. She gets confused as to what I want, so usually jumps up instead. I hope you get a good response to your inquiry....I could use the instruction too!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 10:33 AM
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We had trouble with lie down, too. It was the hardest of all the commands we taught in the beginning, and I’m SURE it’s because we didn’t do it right. We were still navigating how to break things down and learning how to read our new puppy and approximations, and it was clear he couldn’t figure out what we wanted him to do. Then one day in the kitchen he really wanted something and was rotating through all of his best moves. Finally he just flopped himself down and gave me puppy eyes and I exclaimed, “Good lay!” After that I just tried to give him a treat and label it whenever he did it. He did get it but we didn’t really maintain it very well. I just don’t use it often on a day to day basis, I use sit a lot more. I should definitely add it back into our training rotation, because it would help to teach other skills on my list.

I labeled it as “lay” because we used “down” for something else. I planned to use “sleep” but I forgot and then it seemed too late. I’m okay with it now because I’ve seen people train “sleep” separately and I think it’s super cute. My family still giggles sometimes when they suddenly hear, “Good lay!”

I know this is not the right or best way to do it, and I’m sure someone will help out with some specific steps. I’m just suggesting that catching a certain behavior can be a useful tool. Also, you aren’t “giving up” if you work on something else and come back to it in a few days.
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Last edited by EvaE1izabeth; 10-15-2018 at 12:38 PM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 05:54 AM
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I saw an article that states, don't teach down from the sit position! Of course I read this after I had screwed Rocky up doing just that. Rocky became so confused when I said sit, he would sit then go to down as one move.

I waited a long time to start doing it right but then teaching sit, but then from the standing position teach down. He's finally relearning both commands and getting much better.
Wish I had read that article first.

Last edited by GlenK; 10-16-2018 at 05:57 AM. Reason: Add link.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 09:11 AM
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itís true that you donít want to teach down from a sit if you will be doing competition obedience, because the dog needs to move its feet forward to go down from a sit, which will lose you points. You also donít want them to think they have to sit to lay down, since they must go feom a stand to a down in competition. (And if you watch a dog go down naturally, you hardly ever see them go from a sit to a down, it is almost always a stand to a down)

It doesnít matter so much if you are not planning on competition.

EvaElizabethís solution of ďcapturingĒ the down can work... thatís how I taught Kodi, using a clicker. But I wanted a different method for Panda. What I did was to get down on the floor, legs out in front of me, and lure her under my leg (with my knee bent up) with a cookie. To start with, I had my knee high enough that she could just walk right under. Then, like playing ďLimboĒ, I made my knee lower and lower, until she had to get down on her belly to scoot through. The minute her belly hit the floor, I click/treated. Once she got the idea of putting her belly on the floor, it only took another time or two before she was able to do it without going under my leg.

Iím pretty sure there is a video of me doing this with her in the training section, because I know it has come up before.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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All this advice is very helpful! We're going to try it later this week! Yesterday we decided to give up on the lie down command and worked on "place". She TOTALLY got that after just a few times! This has been a really fun journey for the whole family so far.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 08:21 AM
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For lie down, my training class used one of those elevated mesh centered beds with four plastic legs for a lot of the training exercises. When the treat went below eye level and toward the floor past the edge of the bed, mine did lie down. 1st time!

Last edited by Marni; 10-17-2018 at 03:27 PM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 02:47 PM
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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.
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Last edited by Scarlett's mom; 10-17-2018 at 07:28 PM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 09:07 PM
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Iím so glad this came up because we have the same trouble here. 10 years ago, I gave up trying to teach my dachshund down because she was so low to the ground already, she just could not get it, and I didnít know what else to try. Maisy does the exact same thing (stands when I bring the treat down). Plus, Maisy is SO treat-crazy, itís hard to use treats for training at all.

Canít wait to try some of the suggestions here, including the clicker. So, once you get them responding to the clicker, can you stop using treats?

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 05:36 PM
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Kimm, once you get them responding to the clicker, you do still need to give them treats or some other reward every few clicks to maintain the positive association. But the more they get used to doing tricks, the less frequently they need to get treats. The purpose of the clicker is to minimize the time between performing the desired behavior and indicating to the dog that they are successful. Especially for more transient behaviors, it is hard to get the treat in the dogs mouth fast enough to get them to understand precisely what it was they did right, so you teach that the clicker means success. You can also just use the word 'yes!' or some other short distinctive sound to function the same way.

I also had a ton of trouble teaching my Watson 'down' when he was a puppy, it took by far the longest to teach him, and none of the tips mentioned above worked for me. He is just way too excitable around treats and would try all manner of contortions to get closer to the treat lure besides lying down. The trick my obedience classes taught was to put him on a leash tied to something and put a treat just out of reach on the ground, the idea being that the only way for them to get closer is to lie down and try to stretch along the floor. Watson did not do that. I finally managed to capture and name the behavior by just sitting on the floor with him in a closed room until he got bored and laid down. Then I was able to do the clicker so he got the idea of what I wanted and associated it with the command in only a few minutes.
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