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Obedience Training: The 'Down' Command

The down command is one of the most basic things that your dog should know. It must be taught as soon as he knows how to sit when told to. This command is so important that it is a cornerstone of obedience training.

The laying down position is when your dog's belly is flat on the ground. His front legs are also extended out in the front.

With this command, you goal is to teach your dog to lie down regardless of any distractions. It is an excellent way to interrupt bad behavior or any dangerous attempt by your dog. Keeping him still is the best way to get him out of trouble.

This is a great skill to have in your dog's bag of tricks. You can just tell your dog to lay down when you enter a building. It is also a great way to restrain your dog and curb his aggression. You do not have to worry about your dog attacking someone needlessly.

This also provides an excellent opportunity to establish your leadership position. The laying down action is considered a submissive position which allows you to stand tall over your dog. This vulnerable stance lets him know who the real boss is. For this reason, your dog may feel insecure about learning this command.

There are several techniques you can use to teach your dog to lay down. Regardless of the method, you should start out easy first then gradually increase the level of difficulty. Move the obedience training outdoors where there are many distractions. The idea is to teach your dog to stay down even with a lot going on around him.

Start the session by putting your dog in a sitting position. Having a treat in hand makes things a bit easier for you. Let him catch its scent and slowly bring it down towards the ground. At the same time, apply light pressure on his collar accompanied by a hand signal starting from his head and finishing on the floor. As soon as he assumes the position, do not forget to praise him.

Another technique that does not require food is also available. It is ideal for teaching stubborn dogs. The procedure is almost the same but it is a more hands-on approach. Instead, only a small amount of pressure is needed to gently push him down. A hand signal is also used in this method.

In either method, the idea behind using verbal and hand signals is to associate these with lying down. Naturally, you would want your dog to lay down on command. Use any training technique that you are comfortable with. It does not matter as long as you do it properly.

Getting your dog to understand the down command make take some time. The important thing is to keep your cool and press on. Once he learns this command, he will keep it for the rest of his life.

The down command is vital to any obedience training program. It gives you more control over your dog and keeps him out of dangerous situations.

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The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.
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