How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

Dogs are one of the most trainable creatures on earth because they’re obedient and intelligent. It’s a combination that really comes in handy when you want them to learn a few tricks that impress not just your family, but also by-standers.

Dogs can pretty much learn anything, if you have the patience to teach them. One of the easiest things dogs can learn is how to lie down. Well, of course, training requires time, patience, and lots of treats. But nothing is impossible and your dog will surely learn the trick, no matter how stubborn they are.

Just give your dog room for improvement and set yourself up for the challenge! Your hard work will surely pay off if you remain consistent. Without further ado, read on to find out how to teach your dog to lie down.

How To Train A Dog To Lay Down

The Training

Dogs might twist their head to the side when you try to introduce something new such as a command to them. They won’t get it the first time, but a little training will make them understand everything in next to no time.

There are several ways that you can teach a dog how to lie down. Whether you’re using words as a form of command or a clicker, both of these methods work well with a good treat. Treats are every dog’s weakness and your furry pal will be more than happy to oblige to your commands when you give them one.

There are four common methods that dog owners use. We’ll list down all of them so that you can skim through them and choose whichever is more suitable for you and your dog.

Command Method

  1. Take out their favorite treat and make sure your dog sees it. This will be enough to tell them you’re teaching them something new.
  2. Command your dog to sit down and hold the treat just near their nose, so that they can sniff it out and recognize its value.
  3. Slowly lower the treat down to the floor, making sure that your dog’s nose is following it. Make sure that you put the treat down near their chest.
  4. Once they put their elbows down and their chest is on the floor, give them a treat and a pat. Positive reinforcement always works best in training.
  5. Keep repeating this process while saying the command, “down!” when they start to lower their heads down to the floor. Make sure they end up really lying down so that they know exactly what to do when hearing the command again.
  6. When they can clearly follow the command, stop using treats and start training only with the verbal command. This will make your dog adapt to following the command anytime.

Clicker Method

The clicker method is similar to the command one, but instead of saying the command, you’ll be using the clicker.

  1. Take a treat between your hands and show it to your dog. Just make sure the tasty ‘bribe’ is close enough for them to sniff.
  2. Command them to sit.
  3. Right after the dog sits down, lay your hand with your palm facing the ground in front of the pet’s nose. Hold the treat inside your hand.
  4. Lower your hand to the ground.
  5. Wait until your dog follows your hand towards the ground.
  6. Once your dog is lying down, click and give them the treat.
  7. Repeat these steps until your dog can follow without the use of treats.

Lure Method

  1. Take a treat and use it to entice your pup to hop onto their bed.
  2. Once they’re on their bed, slowly lower your hand holding the treat.
  3. Once their belly hits the ground and their head lies down on the floor, say the command, “down!”.
  4. Pause for a few seconds and give them the treat.
  5. Keep on repeating this process until you can just use the command without any treat. Be sure that you’re giving your dog lots of praises when they get it right.
  6. Once they can follow the command, try using it outside their dog area and without the bed. Keep on practicing until they can follow it fully.

Knee Method

  1. Kneel on the floor with one of your knees propped up. Make sure there is enough space for your dog to crawl inside the gap created by your knees.
  2. Entice your dog by placing a treat on one side of your knee; the side that’s opposite of where your dog is standing.
  3. Once your dog drops to the floor to crawl into the gap, give them the treat and praise them.
  4. Repeat the process and say the word, “down!” just before they drop their body to the floor.
  5. After they’ve gotten used to the command, don’t kneel anymore and just use the command until they’ve gotten used to it. 

Each of these techniques can be used by owners who are willing to explore. But once you start with one, make sure to be consistent with that particular method and don’t keep on changing it. Only change the method you’re using when it really doesn’t seem to be working.

All of these methods are pretty easy to follow, but there might be times your dog won’t be so easy to train, especially if they’re trying to learn something new. Just make sure to devote enough patience and allot a lot of time for them to learn what you want them to.

Hindrances to Learning

Even if dogs are obedient and intelligent, they can also be easily distracted. You should know that training them involves lots of planning, especially if your pup is one that can easily get distracted. There are several things that can hinder your pup from learning.

One of these things would be changes in the environment. If you’ve been training your dog inside your house, and you suddenly decide to train them outdoors, in your backyard, your dog might not be able to remember your command because of that specific change.

Another thing that could distract them would be noises or sounds they’re not used to hearing. So, if your neighbor decides to do some noisy renovations, this can easily make your dog feel uneasy and stop you both from a productive training.

All of these things hinder your dog’s ability to focus on one thing because so many variables are present. Make sure that when you decide to do your training, you’re first consistent with the time of the day, the location, and the surrounding environment.

After your dog gets used to the setting, you can start training in a different environment with more distractions. Slowly ease them into each and every training, making sure that they’ve already mastered the previous environment.

How to Train Your Dog Anywhere

Of course, you want your dog to follow your command anywhere you are. This also necessitates that you train them in new environments, or places where you want them to follow you. As mentioned earlier, a lot of things can distract your pup and hinder your training.

But you can work your way around these distractions, especially if you notice that your pup seems to be getting the hang of the command. You can slowly start to introduce them to environments where distractions are normal, such as parks and hallways.

The key to helping your furry pal adapt is to start in a less distracting environment. This could be on your porch or your front yard, where cars pass by regularly. Let your dog get used to the environment and catch their attention. Follow either of the steps mentioned earlier until they get used to it.

Once your dog can follow your command in a mid-level distracting environment, try to take them to the park, where there are all sorts of distractions. From dogs running all over to people walking all around, this will be the true test of your dog’s ability to listen and obey.

Train them using the same method, making sure to bring lots of treats to entice them. At first, you’ll find them quite distracted, but you need to catch their attention using the treats. Once you have their attention, follow either of the methods presented above.

Keep repeating the process until they’re really listening to you and can execute the command without difficulty. This might take a couple of days or even weeks, but trust in your dog’s ability to listen. Be patient and you’ll see the fruits of your labor in no time.


Teaching your dog a new command will feel like quite a challenge, especially since they’re so easily distracted. However, dogs aren’t so difficult to deal with, because they are highly likely to obey their owners. Treats are also a good motivation for dogs and they won’t hesitate to get what they want.

Just make sure that you prepare your treats and you invest plenty of patience so that you both get what you want. You are sure to notice improvements in no time, as your dog will be down at your command anywhere, anytime. 

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