Hi, I have two female Lab pups. Ruger, 14wks and Remmington, 12wks. I'm teaching them to lay down on command. They know commands come, sit, stay, wait and heel.
Here's what I do: I tell them to sit. After they sit, I tell them to lay down, pull down on the leash until they're laying down, then tell them the lay down command again (so they understand this is what it means). Then, I reward with praise and treats. If they do not do it correctly, I do not praise/reward. If only one does it correctly, that gets rewarded and I work on correcting the other.
Remmi did perfectly on this excersize. However, Ruger acts as if I'm disciplining her, like she's in trouble. So, when I lay her down, she rolls over onto her back. When I tell her to sit, she sits, then I tell her to lay down and she turns her head away like she didn't hear me. I don't use a harsh tone. If I put the treat between her paws, pat the ground in front of her, or pull on her leash, she'll lay down. But if I'm standing up, only Remmi will lay down. How can I get Ruger to understand that she's not in trouble? And how can I get her to lay down on command without me having to pull on her leash or pat the ground in front of her? I worked with them seperately at first. With Ruger, although she didn't have it to the full extent, I didn't want to burn her out, and kept it under 15min. With Remmi, she had it down on the third try. Then, I tried them together...the first time, Remmi was right on que, and Ruger just looked around like she didn't hear me. I understand that each dog is differet. But, is there another approach to this I don't know about? Am I doing this right? If anyone could give me any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
It sounds like you're training them both together -- or in each other's presence? If so, you might try it with only one at a time, the other absent from view. I have a suspicion that may be interfering with Ruger's responses.
This thread may have some suggestions helpful to you:
Also, the book by Donaldson, "Culture Clash", has a lot of instructions for teaching commands:
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
It could be that Ruger just doesn't have 'down' solid yet? At 12 and 14 weeks, lots of training isn't solid yet, I don't think.
The way I taught down was a variation of what you're doing with the treat. I had mine sit, then held a treat at the nose, so they see and smell it. Then lowered my hand down to the floor, straight part way down, then pulling my hand toward me a bit as they went down (head and nose follows the treat, so the head comes forward as the body lays down). My hand rested on the floor as they laid down.
One good exercise I learned at puppy class was puppy push-ups. Have the dog sit, and using a treat as explained above, have them down (while saying down). But don't give the treat. Have them sit again (raising your hand with the treat, so they sit again). It's sit (up), down (down), sit (up), down (down). Puppy push-ups. Have them do maybe 4 push-ups, then give the treat. That exercise really helped Tucker learn his downs. He ended up being the fastest in the class, and was used as an example for puppy push-ups......'cause he knew that treat would be his soon!
Once they have 'down' pretty well, then work on 'down' with you in the standing position.
Just my .02
We do puppy pushups with Milly too and we use the treat as a lure for her in front of her nose too. Same as DJC -It worked like a charm and at 13 weeks she's a puppy pushup expert! Now we're trying to get her to sit and then stay and take 3 steps back and THEN try to get her to down/drop when we're not directly in front of her. mmm... that's harder!had mine sit, then held a treat at the nose, so they see and smell it. Then lowered my hand down to the floor, straight part way down, then pulling my hand toward me a bit as they went down (head and nose follows the treat, so the head comes forward as the body lays down). My hand rested on the floor as they laid down.
Also, we trained down/drop straight after sit. She learnt them both in about 1 day..... now it's just the reinforcement. The food lure I think is the easiest way, and you get to see them do it themselves because they want the treat!! very cool ;D