Training Tips: How to Teach a Dog to Lie Down

Teaching your dog to lie down
Teaching your dog to lie down
Click to Enlarge

The most important thing you need to know about dogs is that they LOVE to eat; some breeds even more than others. They also love to please their owners; again some breeds more than others. In general, your dog loves YOU. Of course this is probably because you represent food and/or treats to them. So yes, you got it. The way to training is through their stomachs.

Make sure you have some low-fat treats on hand before you begin training. The “lie down” command, for some reason, is a bit harder than other common dog commands.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Have your pup’s favorite low-cal treat in hand, and get his/her attention.
  2. Put the treat in front of his or her nose.
  3. First, speak your dog’s name; then firmly and clearly, say the word down.
  4. Then, move the treat slowly towards the floor/ground.
  5. When your dog’s hocks and elbows hit the ground, say to him/her, “good down” in a positive happy manner.
  6. Lastly, award your dog a treat, followed by much praising and petting.
  7. Repeat all steps around 5 or 6 times.
Teaching your dog to lie down
Click to Enlarge


  1. Do not push your dog down in attempt to get him to obey. Instead, when he does lie down naturally, say the “down” command to him, followed by rewarding and praising.
  2. Hold short training sessions at various times during the day, outside and inside.
  3. Once your dog has leaned the command, it is not necessary to give him a treat every time he performs it. However, you can never give him too much praise, so indeed love him up big time when he performs well.

The reason for using low-cal treats is because your pup may not respond as quickly as you would like. It may take many treats before he has mastered the command, and you don’t want him/her piling on the weight during his training sessions. You may also want to try teaching your dog this command with AND without treats. Once the animal gets the idea about what you want, they will also do it without a reward. Ideally, you will want your dog to obey all of your commands without a food reward. When you are out and about or visiting friends, you may not have treats in your pocket.

Also, don’t have any one training session last longer than 10 minutes, particularly if you are training puppies. You must consider the attention span factor; like young children, it is not great. The training process may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but the key is consistency and the pay-off is huge. A well-behaved pet is a happy pet, and one to make you proud!