Before you can learn the advanced obedience commands, it is vital that you first learn the basics and the 'lie down' command is one of the first that you should teach. Generally the earlier in your dog's life that you teach the command, the faster and easier your dog will learn and life will be a lot easier for you later on. How and Why You Should Teach the Lie down Command The lie down command is quite an important command to teach your dog.
Putting aside the fact that if you want to show your dog at a professional level you will need to know the command, there are so many reasons why you might need to use it in every day life too. So in order to teach the command it is easier to have the dog on a lead. Putting the dog into a sit position, make sure that the lead is fairly short and then give the 'down' command. Make sure that your voice is not too firm or loud whilst you are giving the command but at the same time ensure that your voice is not too excitable either otherwise your dog will think you are playing. You can use a hand signal along with your voice to show the dog what you mean and many people use their right hand to give the signal whilst their left hand holds the leash. As soon as the dog does what you ask them to do, give them a treat whilst they are lying down and praise them for doing a good job.
Really you should repeat this exercise at least three times so that the dog knows what is expected of them but never train for too long. You should find that as the training session progresses, your dog will go down by themselves without you needing to show them what to do. Praise them excitedly each time they do the right thing and end the session after a short period of time and repeat the next day. The most important things to remember include to be firm but fair, to be patient and to always show the dog the palm of your right hand so that they get used to the hand signal too. You will need this when competing at a professional level.
Problems Which May Occur and Moving on in Training Some problems which you may experience in the beginning include the fact that your dog may try and crawl forward instead of just dropping straight down. It is important that you get them out of this habit as early as possible as when a dog completes a command it should be smooth and exactly what you asked of them. With persistence however you can teach your dog not to crawl forward and that is the only real problem that you will experience.
In order to progress with the command, you can start to train the dog off the lead. They should know the command by now so you generally do not need to be as close to them as you started off with. As you get more confident, increase the distance away from you and the dog, starting with a few feet and working your way further and further apart from them. It is always better to start training indoors as there are little or no distractions there. Then once you are confident that your dog knows what to do, start moving outdoors, possibly into your garden and then finally out to a park area when you are really confident. Once you do get outside you should be able to then teach your dog how to lie down during a recall.
Basically that will involve them coming back to you, you giving the command for them to lie down and them doing as they are told before they get to you. This can be tricky but you will get there just as long as you ensure that you do not attempt this command too early in your dogs training. The dog should ideally know everything there is to know about the down command before you teach it the 'recall down'.
Overall the lie down command should always be taught with every dog as early as possible. It is not particularly hard though you can progress and do harder versions of the command if you would like to.
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