Lure A Down
Human nature (with these commands) is to use a lot of words, move your hands a LOT and talk and talk and talk. Instead, try to calm down, stay quiet and think to LURE your dog into position. Training should be easy, calm and a time of learning…not frustration or anger. LURING is one of three ways to get a behavior to happen. Shaping – getting a portion of a behavior and adding to it and, capturing – waiting for the behavior to happen and capturing it with a name and a reward – are the other two.
You can use any or all of these to benefit your time with your puppy and live your life while looking for REAL LIFE opportunities to train!
Do not allow your pup to grab at or jump at you or any reward you may use. Rather, lure him into position with calm, slow movements. Don’t bother with the commands yet (SIT or DOWN). There is no nod to say a command if your dog has no clue what it means. It’s easier for the dog to learn the behavior first and then learn the label or command for it. So, the commands will come after the behavior is learned!
Here Is How
Your pup should be pretty good at SIT and start in the sitting position for the down. With treat in hand, show it to the dog and move your hand slowly to the floor – stay close to the dogs’ front feet, and keep it there, on the floor. Don’t speak, don’t move don’t push. Just wait.
Your dog should “sink to the floor” or begin to fold up to get closer to the treat. If that happens GIVE the treats…that is SHAPING…taking a piece of the behavior and running with it!
If your dog doesn’t move or fold up onto the floor try moving your hand (with treat) super slowly, along the floor and IN towards his belly. Again, wait for your pup to ‘fold up’ and fall onto the floor…When those elbows hit the floor – say, “GOOD” and then treat quickly before he gets up. Then treat again, quickly. Adding another treat after the first keeps your puppy down just a bit longer, so they do not learn to POP back up quickly.
If luring does not work for you: You can always capture the behavior. Simply wait for your pup to lie down around the house and reward it.