How to Teach Your Dog to Lie Down - Easy Dog Training Lesson
Dog Training for Dummies!
Teaching a dog to lie down takes some repetition, a little patience, but it can be mastered fairly easily. It can't be too hard since I was able to accomplish it with my dog.
I am not an expert dog trainer and am sometimes not strict enough my little guy. What can I say? I'm a softie. Still, with my short-comings as a disciplinarian, I have taught my dog to sit, lie down, and stay.
Gizmo will even pick out on a toy on command for playing fetch. He knows what a "bath" is after hearing it only a few times and skulks away under a piece of furniture. Oh, he's a funny one. I'm so proud! Now, back to lying down.
Teach Your Dog to Sit First
Before you teach your dog to lie down, teaching him to sit will make learning to lie down much easier. At least it seemed to work that way for Gizmo and me.
My dog as a pup learned how to sit in a matter of a few tries. From the sitting position, I found it much easier to get him to understand how to lie down.
Now, remember, this is dog training for dummies. A dog professional might have a more high-tech way of teaching a dog to sit or lie down, but for regular people like me, with regular (well, he's remarkable, really!) dogs like Gizmo, I have a simple way that works.
Dogs learn to sit quickly, in general, so, if your dog hasn't learned, take a little time to teach him. Before you teach your best buddy to lie down, teach him or her to sit first.
Learning to lie down doesn't have a lot of steps, either. It is, however, a little harder for a dog to grasp than the simpler "sit" command.
Grammar Lesson: Lie vs. Lay
I'm an English teacher, and I love language. I'm a grammar geek, for sure. I appreciate the opportunity to teach proper usage in everyday life. "Lie" and "lay" are often misused. You are correct in teaching your dog to "lie" down.
"Lay" is actually the past tense of "lie," as in "I lay on the couch all day yesterday." When used in the present tense, "lay" means "to put" or "to place." Example: "I'll lay the book on the table." The past tense of "lay" is "laid" as in "Yesterday, I laid the book on the table."
So, if you tell your dog to "lay down," you are telling him to "put down" or "place down." How confusing, even for a smart dog. Please don't teach your dog bad grammar!
Teach Your Dog to Lie Down
After you've taught your dog to sit, try to get him to lie down. For these instructions, I will use the masculine "he," since my dog is a male.
First, get your dog to sit again. Then, lower a treat to the ground out in front of him enough so that he has to slide down to the floor to follow it. Pull it far enough away to make him stretch out a bit. If he goes down with his head and paws but lifts his back end, tell him no, and then get him back into the sitting position. Try again to get him to lie down. After several tries, he should have it down (pun intended). Reward him with a treat. The video below will help you see how it works.
Practice your dog's lying down several times a day for about a week, giving a treat every time at first, then spreading it out to every other time, or just now and then. Your dog shouldn't be taught to listen to you ONLY if you have a treat.
Good methods, even though the trainer says "lay"
Poll: Lie down!
Does your dog know how to lie down?
Expert Hubber Resources; These guys are no dummies!
Check out DrMark1961 for a variety of hubs on dog health and training.
Alexadry also has a lot of experience with dogs--health, nutrition, training, behavior--and writes primarily about them.
Both of these writers have answered questions for me, and I'm sure they will prove to be an excellent resource to you, as well, for all your dog questions.