Sometimes you wish your high-energy pooch would just chill out and lie down. It may be when he's playing too rambunctiously or jumps all over the dinner guests the moment they step through the front door or becomes overly-excited at the sight of another dog while you're taking him for a walk. The good news is you can train him to lie down by teaching him to associate a command with positive reinforcement.
Step #1 - Get your pup to sit.
Step #2 - Say your pooch's name and then "Down" or "Lie down." Don't yell or give the command in an angry tone. Keep your voice firm, but non-threatening.
Step #3 - Get his attention by waving a yummy treat at the level of his nose. Hold it close enough so he can smell it.
Step #4 - Lower the treat until it's between Fido's paws and slightly above the ground. Slowly pull it away from him, as though you're tracing an invisible line across the floor. As the hungry guy continues to follow the treat, his head will drop and he'll get into the "Down" position. If he only lowers the top half of his body to the ground, pull the treat forwards or backwards until his entire body is lying down.
Step #5 - Reward the good boy with the treat and positive words when he successfully lies down. Pet and praise him. With practice, your four-legged pal will learn to associate the command with the reward of a delicious treat once he obeys.
By Liza Blau
RaisingSpot.com: Teaching Your Dog the Down Command
Dog Breed Info Center: Training Your New Puppy or Dog
ASPCA: Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down
Jack-Russell-Terrier.Co.Uk: Training Tips-Down Boy
The Humane Society of the United States: Dogs: Positive Reinforcement Training
About the Author
Liza Blau received a B.A. in English from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in fiction anthologies from Penguin Press, W.W. Norton, NYU Press and others. After healing her own life-threatening asthma by switching to a whole, natural foods diet, she founded the NYC Asthma Wellness Center. Blau counsels individuals on healing their own asthma and allergies with dietary and lifestyle changes.