As in lie down that is. I had no problem teaching Jaida this command, but Bali is just way to eagar to get the treat. He will sit and give his paw, and I have him sitting and staying while I put his food in his crate at meal time, but when I try to do down, he just gets overly excited and tries to get the food from my hand. Any suggestions for my little food monster?
How are you trying to do it? Are you moving the treat down and away from you between his paws? If you push forward a little bit as you bring the treat down, that usually encourages them to fold into a down.
Nathan, I have been trying that, but instead of remaining in a sit position and then folding into a down, he just gets up and moves back and tries to get the treat from my hand. The problem, it seems, is he is too eagar to get the treat, and I don't want to keep telling hime to sit everytime he gets up because I am afraid he will become confused. :-\
Restrict his options. Try it with his rump against the wall. Or cup his butt with your opposite hand. Down can be tricky with pups (and it's much harder still with toy breeds). You also needn't worry about commands at this point, so you don't have to keep saying "sit" or "down." Just encourage him with happy talk if he's going in the right direction, and say "uh uh!" or "oops!" or "too bad!" if he's going in the wrong direction.
-Use a lower impact treat (not cheese or sausage, but kibble or cheerios).
-try shaping - rewarding for approximations of the behaviour - ie reward first for just a head lowering. Then wait for the shoulders to drop. Then for the head and shoulders to lower significantly. etc.
-Ian Dunbar also recommends trying to lure them under your raised legs, as you sit with your legs extended. I use that as a last resort, though. The shaping is usually enough to get the ball rolling.
I would try to teach the fold down with your puppy standing next to a wall or a couch, so you only worry about his movement in one plane. So, get your puppy's side along a wall. I'm right handed, so this is how I taught down. Put your treat in your right hand and make the puppy face your right hand. Start with the treat right under his nose, then move your hand down and to the left at the same time (on a diagonal). If you don't move down, just to the left, your puppy will move back. So, it's important to do the diagonal. Hope this helps.
I was kind of clueless when I started teaching Lexie down. :-\ (Well I'm still pretty clueless)
What I did was put the treat in the palm of my closed hand and let Lexie sniff it and get rather excited when she was sitting, then I would knock my hand on the ground and she would pop to a down position. I would praise and give her the treat. We graduated from that to just a knock on the ground and now I can just push my palm down when I'm standing and she will USUALLY down. She's not to good at the "down" voice command, but she will down with a hand signal now with no distractions.
Another way that we learned in obedience class is to teach it on a leash to be able to control their movement. If they try to get back up right away, pull the leash down and say "No, Down".
We didn't have any problem teaching Bailey Down, but she will only do it if you make the motion to "Down", not just at the command itself which we're now working on!!
great suggestions above.
i have had good success with standing or sitting in front of the dog, streching out my arm and lowering it to touch the ground or simply patting the ground for snuggles and bellyrubs, and then naming the action with "DOWN" everytime they did it. i also lure with treats. use the treat as a target to help guide the head downward and then wait for the body to follow and say "DOWN" as they move into position.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford