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Dog Training - The Down Command
By John M Williams
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This command is a very useful command and is relatively easy to teach your dog. After learning the sit command, this command should be a breeze for you. Getting your dog to be able to lie down and wait while you go into a shop or walk away is a very useful command and is also key to gaining trust and a good relationship with your dog.
This command should be firstly taught indoors or in a comfortable place your dog is used to learning and doing commands for you, and then as time goes on and your dog gets better at achieving success with the command, you should take it into a public place with lots of interests and new smells to distract them. This should test the strength and commitment your dog has for the down command.
To start, make sure your dog is in the mood for training and preferably in a hungry and wanting mood where they will be more than happy to please you if it means they get a treat, just before meal times is generally a good time for training and will help the progress of your dog.
When you are ready to begin and you have your dogs treats to-hand, start by getting your dog to sit for you, followed by a reward .Then let your dog know you have another treat in your hand for him and slowly lower it in front of him, going lower and lower, as the treat gets lowered closer to the ground your dog will be forced into the down position with their belly firmly on the floor and paws ahead of them.
As soon as your dogs belly touches the floor, the command 'down' should be said and you should reward them with praise, encouragement and the treat you used. This makes the dog associate the command with the action and the action with a reward to help your process.
If your dog steps out of line during the training exercise, gently punish them accordingly. After you have learnt this command and you now think you're ready for the next step, try taking your dog into a distracting place or area, or playing with their ball around them. When you have your dog under control at all times using the down command it is time to move on to more advanced and you have now got a new trick to show your friends and family.
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