Trouble Teaching "Down"
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Thread: Trouble Teaching "Down"

  1. #1
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    DefaultTrouble Teaching "Down"

    I've made several attemps on teaching odie "down" What I've been doing is holding a treat at his nose, and lowering it to the floor while he's in the sitting position. Every training video and book I've read says that this movement should naturally bring the log into a laying down position.

    This has never worked for odie. His head goes to the floor, but his body stays sitting. I've also tried pulling his front legs out from underneith him to force him to lay down, but when I do that he doesn't seem to get it, and I would prefer to not force the dog into position anyway. Anyone have any tips? He already knows how to do so many things, and I'm proud of him, but I think "down" is one of the most important commands there is in dog training and I need to figure out something

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  3. #2
    kaznalf's Avatar
    kaznalf is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Trouble Teaching "Down"

    I had trouble with this too so i had to watch alfie and when he was about to lay down, soon as his chest hit the floor, id say DOWN click and treat...after a few times he got it!

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Trouble Teaching "Down"

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoper50
    What I've been doing is holding a treat at his nose, and lowering it to the floor while he's in the sitting position.
    What you might need to do is lower the treat and then once it's floor level, gradually pull it away from Odie, down and out if you will. He'll smell and of course want the treat and by pulling it away from him at floor level, he'll have to reach for it, which he'll do nose-first. I think that pulling away is what gets the natural down movement. And like kaznalf says, as soon as he's down, praise and reward. He'll get there.

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  6. #4
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Trouble Teaching "Down"

    One trick you can try is to sit on the floor with your legs extended. Then raise your knees up, making a 'tunnel'. Hold the treat on the opposite side of your legs from the puppy - in order to get the treat, he has to lower himself down.. as soon as he does, mark it and reward.

    Phase out the 'tunnel' as soon as he starts to get the idea...

    Capturing it when he does it on his own is also a great idea... or you can play with shaping, if you are familiar with the process

    eta - often what throws dogs off is moving the lure too fast.. try going very slowly, so that the dog's nose is always at the lure, and, at first, reward for any downward movement or movement of the shoulders/forelegs
    (that's shaping)

  7. #5
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    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Trouble Teaching "Down"

    Milly used to sit like you are saying as well and we thought "uh oh she wont be able to do it!" But then i tried what Potterspops said and it worked great. We actually hold the treat between our thumb and palm (a bit uncomfortable) and hold all other 4 fingers out straight (sort of like when you put your hand into a salute) so she can't see the treat but she can smell it. Then lower hand to the floor, and move hand away from her until she is in the drop position and then treat/praise. Took her a few days until it sunk in...
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Trouble Teaching "Down"

    Thanks for the ideas everyone. I'll work with him some more and let you know how it goes.

  9. #7
    AceofCakes Guest

    DefaultRe: Trouble Teaching "Down"

    Ace had a hard time with this and none of those tricks worked(never heard of the tunnel one) but I noticed one of the female dogs would do a down so after watching her down and getting treats Ace figured out what I wanted

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