How to teach a dog to lie down

How to teach a dog to lie down

Have you just got a Dachshund puppy? Are you wondering how to train them to do basic commands? Maybe you don’t know where to start with training? Here’s how to teach your Dachshund to lay down.

How To Teach A Dachshund To Lay Down:

  1. Decide on a reward
  2. Ask your Dachshund to ‘Sit!’
  3. Hold a treat in a closed palm by your Dachshund’s nose
  4. Move your hand from your Dachshund’s nose to the floor
  5. Keep repeating
  6. Keep training sessions focussed
  7. Reward your Dachshund for laying down
  8. Keep training sessions short
  9. Increase the time your Dachshund lays down
  10. Try the ‘Lay Down’ command in new places
  11. Phase out treats

But, before you load up with treats, there’s more you need to know! Read on to find out the best tips for teaching your Dachshund to ‘Lay Down’ and what you need to do next.

This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.

How To Teach A Dachshund To Lay Down

The ‘lay down’ command is a straightforward transition from ‘sit’. This makes it the perfect command to teach your Dachshund after you have taught them to ‘sit‘.

Being able to get your Dachshund to lay down on command can really help to calm him down and control him. Especially in those crazy moments when he’s a bit over-excited!

Dachshunds can be very stubborn with a mind of their own. This means training might be a bit frustrating at times. But remember to be calm and patient or he’ll pick up on this!

With consistency and repetition, your Dachshund will get there. And you’ll get much better results if you train your Dachshund when you’re not rushed or in a hurry.

This how to train your Dachshund to lay down:

Decide on a reward

First you need to decide what you’re going to give your Dachshund to reward him when he does lay down.

Use some dog training treats or tiny bits of chopped carrot or cucumber (less than the size of a small pea).

Sometimes new commands take a little while to master. So make sure you don’t give your Dachshund too many fatty treats or he could get overweight.

Ask your Dachshund to ‘Sit!’

Now is the time for your Dachshund to show off how he sits on command. If he hasn’t learn that yet, it’s best to start with ‘sit‘ before moving on to ‘lay down’.

Move your hand from your Dachshund’s nose to the floor

When your Dachshund is sitting down, hold a treat right in front of his nose (with a closed palm!). Then lower the treat to the ground while saying ‘down’ or ‘lay down’ to him

As your Dachshund’s nose follows the treat, he should move his legs forward and stretch out into a laying down position.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Dachshund learning to lay down

Keep repeating

If your Dachshund doesn’t lie down straight away, that’s okay! Every dog is different and learns at a different pace.

Try again slowly, and encourage your Dachshund by rewarding and encouraging him for each movement he makes closer to the ground.

If he tries to stand up, start at the beginning by asking him to sit, and keep moving the treat lower to the ground again.

Luckily, Dachshunds are smart so should pick this up quite quickly!

Keep training sessions focussed

Ignoring your Dachshund’s attempts to interact with you in order to get the treat is easier said than done. But you need to resist!

Training sessions should be about training. So don’t give him any attention until he starts to move into a laying down position.

Reward your Dachshund for laying down

As soon as your Dachshund stretches his body out on the floor, with his belly touching the ground, give him a tasty treat!

He might stand up straight away after you reward him. But over time, as you continue your training and he understands you want him to lay down, you can then start to get him to stay in the position for longer.

Keep training sessions short

Repeat your training sessions four or five times, then take a break. If you’re not excited about it, your Dachshund won’t be either.

It won’t be good to repeatedly get him to lie down and stand up for too long, so spread out your training sessions to keep him engaged.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Dachshund laying down in return for treats!

Increase the time your Dachshund lays down

When your Dachshund knows he’s being rewarded for laying down, you might notice he starts to lay down for longer. This is great news!

If he’s laying down on your command, it’s time to start waiting a few extra seconds while he’s in position before giving him the reward.

That way, he’ll start to understand that the reward is for staying down, not just for moving into the laying down position.

Try the lay down command in new places

If your Dachshund is happily laying down on command, he’s ready to try out his new skills in new places!

Try asking him to lay down in the garden or on a walk so that you’re sure he will listen to you even when there are other distractions around.

Phase out treats

Once you can see your Dachshund got the hang of laying down on command, it’s time to start phasing out the treats and exchanging them for verbal or physical praise.

You know what your sausage likes best!

So, there you have it! Teaching basic commands is really important for a new Dachshund pup. Once you get him to ‘Lay Down!’, move on to the next command and continue training daily!

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August 30, 2019 By Alina Jumabhoy

There are a few basic commands that every dog should know, and “down” is one of them. It’s an important skill for your dog to have – not only will you be able to use it to calm your dog down in stressful situations or highly-distracting environments, but it can also help with keeping your dog safe while you’re out and about. Here’s how to teach and master the “down” command:

Start with a Sit

Before teaching “down”, your dog should be able to sit on command. While you will eventually progress to teaching the “down” from a standing position, it’s so much easier to start with your dog sitting.

If your dog doesn’t yet know how to sit on command, we’ve covered that in this blog post .

Method 1: Luring

How to teach a dog to lie down

There are many puppy training guides out there that will tell you to push your dog into the down position to teach the command. Ignore them all.

Instead, try the luring training method – it’s so much more effective and teaches the command in a positive way.

All you need is a high value treat. Ask your dog to sit, and then hold the treat in front of their nose. Slowly lower your hand downwards to the floor, and then outwards towards you – basically, in an L-shape. As your dog’s nose follows the treat, they’ll end up lying down. As soon as they do, praise your dog and give them the treat.

You’ll need to repeat this several times before adding in a verbal cue. At this stage, say the word “down” as soon as their elbows hit the ground. They’ll soon be able to perform the action just from hearing the verbal cue.

What to Do if Your Dog Doesn’t Lie Down

If you’re using the luring method and your dog isn’t lying down, there could be a few reasons for this.

Firstly, lying down puts a dog in quite a vulnerable position. If they don’t feel totally safe in their environment, they won’t be comfortable lying down. Try training this command in a quiet and completely distraction-free room.

You should also make sure that the treat you’re using really is motivating to your dog. If your dog isn’t food-motivated, try using a new toy instead.

If your dog still isn’t quite getting it, try this – sit with your back against a wall and your knees bent, so that they form a triangle with the floor. Have your dog sit on one side of you, facing your knees. Use the luring method, but, this time, when you move the treat outwards and away from your dog, it will be underneath your knees. In order to follow the treat into this smaller space, your dog will need to lie down. As soon as they do, praise them and give them the treat.

Method 2: Capturing Natural Behavior

Throughout the day, your dog will lie down several times. Whenever they do, say the word “down” as soon as they hit the ground, and then follow this up with a tasty treat.

When you combine this with the luring method above, your dog will be able to master the command in no time.

Advancing the “Down”

How to teach a dog to lie down

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to advance the behavior.

One way to do this is by teaching the command in different environments. Yes, your dog may immediately lie down on command at home, but will they do this on a busy street, or in the middle of a dog park? Remember, always start slow – begin by teaching the command around an easy distraction, before slowly adding more in.

Other ways to advance the “down” include adding in a hand signal and practicing the “down” from a standing position.

What Not to Do When Teaching a Dog to Lie Down

As mentioned, physically pushing your dog into position should be avoided. It’s always best to train using positive methods, which luring and capturing both are.

It’s also important that you don’t get frustrated or angry with your dog while training. Shouting is a big no-no. If your dog gets things wrong in any way, simply make a disapproving sound and then start again. However, this time, try to think of how you can make things easier for your dog. Identify why they’re struggling, so that you can work out how to fix this.


“Down” is a command that you’ll use throughout your dog’s life, making it important to teach it as early on as possible. Fortunately, not only is this an easy command to teach, but it’s also an enjoyable one. Keep training sessions positive and you and your dog will have so much fun practicing this command.

If you would like more guidance on teaching basic commands to your dog, check out our free training workshop here.

If you’re like most pet parents, getting your dog to lie down and relax while out in the “real world” can be frustrating. But if we become frustrated, we are not at our best, and the dog is not learning in an ideal setting. Not only is it important to teach a dog the “down” cue, but it’s also important to transition your dog from lying down in your living room to following the cue in real-world settings.

Of course, you should first teach a dog the down cue at home, since dogs learn best in less stressful, less distracting, familiar environments. But once your pup has mastered the cue, it won’t be useful if your dog only listens to you while you’re in your pajamas at home.

Clients often tell me, “My dog does great in the living room but doesn’t even know I exist in a restaurant, park or store.” You want to be sure that your dog can follow the down cue while out on a walk or surrounded by unfamiliar stimuli, animals, sights, sounds and smells.

What’s the secret for getting your dog to lie down in any environment?

In dog training and obedience, there are no secrets. Your success in teaching a dog down is based on practice, your skill set, the dog’s athleticism and consistency in teaching your dog. The more you learn about your individual dog’s temperament and what motivates them, the faster your dog will learn to lie down. A good dog trainer or behaviorist will not only teach your dog, but will primarily teach you and your family how to teach your dog.

How do you teach the basic lie down cue?

Here are the steps:

1. Hold a high-value treat and ask your dog to sit.

2. Place the treat near your dog’s nose, close enough for him to smell it, but not so close that he can grab it.

3. Lower the treat down to the floor, close to your dog’s chest.

4. Praise and reward your pup when he lies down.

5. Once your dog has successfully performed the behavior, add the cue, “down” as he lowers himself to the ground in Step 3.

If your pup starts to lift up out of the sit position, go back to Step 1.

If your dog knows how to lie down at home, why can’t they do it elsewhere?

Dogs are not usually great at generalizations, but they are excellent at specifics. This is very important to remember so that you don’t get frustrated and think your dog is just being stubborn. More than likely, they just don’t know what you’re asking because something in the environment has changed.

Here just a few examples of subtle yet significant changes that could alter your dog’s understanding of what you are asking them to do:

  • Facing in a different direction
  • Standing on a different surface (carpet, concrete, tar, tile, grass, etc.)
  • Different noises that come with a different setting
  • New and exciting smells
  • Change in your appearance (you put on a jacket or hat, or you’re carrying a backpack, etc.)
  • Environmental and atmospheric changes (barometric pressure, time of day/night, changes in the weather, etc.)
  • Different body language or tone of voice

You get the idea—the list is endless. The point is, if your dog isn’t understanding or responding to what you’re asking, or seems slow to perform the behavior, one of these factors is likely at play, or you just have not practiced enough for them to understand.

Eventually, your dog will learn to generalize these cues for all environments If you practice in many situations with many iterations, your dog will be confident and will look forward to performing these behaviors anywhere.

How can you teach a dog to lie down anywhere?

After you have mastered the down in your home or a familiar environment, you can move into more distracting settings.

Begin dog training and obedience behaviors in the backyard or the front lawn of your house. If you live in an apartment building, you can begin practicing in the hallway, on a balcony, or in an elevator or stairwell.

If your dog is too distracted in any of these new environments, just find a less distracting environment than the one you are in and start over. For example, if an open door is distracting your pup from lying down, try cracking the door open just a foot or a few inches instead.

Try training at a different time of day or night. After your dog does well in each environment, slowly move on to environments with more distractions.

Helpful Tips

Remember to slowly build in duration, distance and distraction in each new environment. Use high-value dog treats as rewards to train with, not their usual treats. Do not use coercion, force or intimidation. When you teach a dog to lie down, choose the best time to do it—ideally, after the dog is fully exercised. A good idea is to practice lying down with your dog after a period of exercise, not after they just woke up or during dusk or dawn when a dog is most active.

Before you progress to a new environment, make sure they are responding reliably eight out of 10 times. It is important to remember that we are also cultivating your dog’s attention. Having your dog pay attention to you and defer to you is very important for all behaviors.

We want your dog to be conditioned to look at you when she feels nervous, scared or unsure. It is your responsibility as a pet parent to acknowledge that attention and to ask for and reward appropriate behaviors.

Provide loving guidance for your dog, and remember to take your time and work with your dog only when you can give them all of your attention and are not in a rush.

How to teach a dog to lie down

“Down” or “lie down” is an important basic command for your dog to learn. Ideally, all dogs should know how to lie down when asked by their owners. The “down” command can be very useful when you need your dog to relax in a hectic situation or to keep him in a stay position for a long period of time. It’s also the first step in some dog tricks, including the popular rollover. Luckily, teaching “down” to your dog is almost as simple as training your dog to sit.

When your dog is in the proper down position, its chest, elbows, and hocks are in contact with the ground. Ideally, it should stay there until you release it. With practice, you can get your dog to perfect its down, and it is an easy command to teach.

How to Teach Your Dog to Lie Down

Before you begin, make sure you have plenty of delicious training treats to offer your dog. Ideally, the treats should be small, soft, and delicious to your dog. Reserve these treats for training sessions only and use different treats for general rewards.

Set aside five to ten minutes in an area free of distractions. If you use clicker training with your dog, be sure to have your clicker handy.

  1. Begin by getting your dog’s attention. Show him that you have a treat in your hand.
  2. Hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose but don't let him get it yet. Next, slowly move the treat towards the ground, letting your dog follow it.
  3. Repeat this motion until your dog is all the way down. Try pulling the treat away a little bit if your dog isn't following it down with his body.
  4. Once your dog is fully lying down (meaning his elbows and hocks are on the ground) give your dog the treat followed by petting and praise.
  5. Once your dog is consistently doing the down motion with the treat, add in the verbal cue. Say the word “down” clearly and firmly while moving the treat to the ground.
  6. Repeat this until your dog lies down with only the verbal cue and no treat-guiding. Continue to reward with a treat after your dog lies down.

It’s best to have short training sessions once or twice a day. Have the sessions in various locations, including both indoor and outdoor areas. Always try to end the sessions on a positive note. If needed, find another cue that your dog knows (like sit) and end with that followed by a treat.

Add the Release

When your dog can successfully lie down on command, it's time to introduce your release word. This is what you'll say when you give permission for your dog to get up. Many people use the word "OK" for the release cue, but any word you want to use will work as long as you're consistent.

Start with small increments of time, making your dog lie down for no more than 30 seconds before releasing him. To instill this, you can use the "stay" command and then your release command when you're ready to let the dog go. Work your way up to longer periods of time so your dog will stay down until you say "OK," no matter how long it is.

Problems and Proofing Behavior

If you are still having trouble getting your dog to lie down with treats, you can try marking the behavior. Next time your dog naturally lies down, say “down,” then praise and reward it. Try this every time you catch it lying down. You’ll probably need to carry treats with you if this is going to work. It’s also fairly easy to capture behaviors with a clicker.

When your dog responds quickly to the down cue, try to gradually add in distractions. You should also proof the behavior by training in multiple locations and scenarios.

Once your dog becomes an expert at lying down, you no longer need to give a treat every time. It's a good idea to give treats occasionally to reinforce the behavior. In addition, rewarding with praise is always a good idea. After all, your dog loves to please you, the treats are just a bonus.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Down is one of the most basic and useful behaviors to teach your puppy. It helps keep your puppy out of trouble and encourages them to calm down. But many puppies either resist getting on the ground in the first place or staying there for more than a second. How can you teach your puppy to lie down? Read on for three different techniques to train a down as well as some troubleshooting tips to ease the process.

Luring a Down

In some ways, the easiest way to train behaviors is to lure them. That means using a treat or toy to literally lure your puppy into the position or action you want. For example, if you hold a treat to your pup’s nose then move that treat in a circle parallel to the ground, your puppy will follow it and do a spin. Luring shows your puppy where you want them to go, but it’s important to fade the lure as soon as possible so your puppy responds to a hand signal or verbal cue rather than waiting to see the lure.

Use a lure your puppy is excited about to ensure they’re willing to follow it. You can also use a clicker to help communicate the exact moment your pup has done something right. Here are the steps to train down with a lure:

  1. With your puppy in a sitting position, hold a treat to their nose.
  2. Bring the treat down between your puppy’s front paws. They should lower their head to follow the treat.
  3. Continue moving the treat out along the ground away from your puppy. You are essentially making an “L” shape. As your puppy follows the treat, they should lie down.
  4. As soon as your puppy is in the down position, click and praise then immediately give them the lure as their reward.
  5. After several repetitions, begin to use a treat from your other hand as a reward so the lure no longer gets eaten.
  6. Finally, lure your puppy with an empty hand and reward with a treat from the opposite hand. Now you’ve taught a hand signal which is lowering your hand towards the ground.
  7. Once your puppy is responding to the hand signal you can teach a verbal cue by saying “Down” a second before you give the hand signal. In time, your puppy should respond to the verbal cue alone.

If your puppy doesn’t yet know how to sit on cue, you can lure the down from a standing position. Either lure a sit first or take the treat straight down to the ground between their front paws while they’re still standing. However, because your puppy has farther to go to get into the down position, you might find it easier to use the shaping technique.

Shaping a Down

Shaping means teaching things a step at a time. For down that would mean teaching your puppy to look at the ground, lower their elbows to the ground, and finally to lie down, or as many baby steps as your pup requires. The trick is to set up your puppy for success. Choose a first step your puppy can easily do, then increase each step slowly without jumping too far in difficulty. It’s better to make it too easy than to get both you and your puppy frustrated by asking for too much too soon.

Start by using a lure to get your puppy to look at the ground. Click and praise, then reward the look. After your puppy has mastered that, lure their head down to the ground before clicking and rewarding. Next you might ask for bent elbows, and so on. Don’t worry about fading the lure and adding a verbal cue until you’ve taught the final behavior.

Capturing a Down

Finally, you can capture a down by rewarding your puppy any time they do it on their own. Always be prepared with a toy or treats in your pocket and whenever you see your puppy in the act of lying down, click and praise them. Then offer them a reward while they are in the down position. After you capture enough downs, your pup will start to lie down in front of you on purpose, hoping to earn a reward. Now you can add a hand signal or verbal cue right before you know they are about to lie down. Your puppy will learn to associate your word or gesture with their action and soon you will be able to ask for the down at any time.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Tips for Training Down

Even with a choice of training techniques, down can still be a tough position to get your puppy into. The following tips will help:


“Lie down” is a simple cue, but it can have a big impact. Not only can it be a gateway to teach more complex actions like roll over, but it can also cue your dog to settle and relax in hectic situations and stop them where they’re in an emergency. The good news is that it’s a very simple cue to teach — it’s just a matter of encouraging one of your dog’s natural behaviors using positive reinforcement.

Know What You Want to Teach

Some pre-planning is needed before starting to train in order to avoid confusing your dog or stumbling when the moment comes to reinforce the behavior you want.

Choose your cue word before you get started. Consistency is everything, and anyone working with your dog will need to use this same cue. It should be simple and something you don’t use in other ways with your dog. For example, if you use “down” to get them off the couch, you can’t use “down” for lying down. Your dog won’t understand what you want. Remember, “off” is different than “down.”

Gather Your Supplies

For this type of training, you really only need three things:

Teaching Lie Down Using a Lure

To lure your dog into a down position from standing, you’ll want to change the angle of your lure. While your dog is standing, place the luring hand in front of their nose and slowly move your hand down from their nose and slightly inward to the ground between their front paws. This movement helps them fold back into the down rather than sitting first. Mark with a click or “yes” when their rear hits the floor.

Teaching Lie Down Using the Capturing Method

Some dogs get too excited with a lure, are shy, don’t want to follow a lure, or their body type makes it difficult to lure them comfortably into a down position (such as deep-chested breeds like Greyhounds). The timing of your marker is key, but both remove the necessity for a food lure from the get-go.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Raised in Northern Virginia, Dr. Sam Gilbert received both his BSE and VMD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gilbert completed a one-year small animal internship and additional surgical training before relocating to New Jersey for roles in the medical device and animal health industries. Dr. Gilbert currently serves as the Zoetis Petcare HQ Medical Lead for pet owner directed initiatives in dermatology and cross-portfolio therapeutic areas. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and cat.

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How to teach a dog to lie downpryzmat/Deposit Photos

Training Your Dog to Lie Down

Most dog owners will agree that a calm dog who is lying quietly next to them as they watch TV, read a book or have dinner with the family is far preferable than an in-your-face dog who just won’t relax. Get your dog to lie down with these dog training tips.

Dog Training Methods

Use Food Lures

One method of teaching a dog the “down” cue is to food-lure the dog into position using yummy, potent-smelling treats and praising her when she gets in position accurately and in a timely manner.

However, what if your dog won’t allow you to lure her into the down position? What if she just doesn’t seem to be catching on? Many dog owners would consult a dog trainer in this instance, though it’s relatively simple to train your dog on your own or with some guidance from a professional animal trainer.

Catch Her in the Act

Another way to teach the “down” cue is to capture the dog’s behavior on a regular basis. Capturing the “down” behavior every time you see her lying down quietly is considered capturing the “opportunistic” or “natural” down. Make sure to praise and treat your dog whenever you observe her lying in the down position. Some owners find treats, toys or praise–whatever the dog finds most rewarding–are sufficient for capturing the behavior. There are others who may choose to also use a clicker.

How to Capture the Behavior

To capture the “down” behavior, place a handful of food treats between your dog’s front paws whenever she’s calmly resting in the “down” position. If she doesn’t find food treats rewarding, try giving her a chew toy or verbal praise (e.g. “Good!”). Remember to do this every time you find her in the “down” position.

She’ll soon learn lying in that position is beneficial to her, prompting her to offer the behavior more often. After repeated captures and rewards for her good behavior, you’ll be able to include the verbal cue “down” with the command. Your dog will soon become much easier to coax into the “down” position.

Seek a Professional Dog Trainer

If you have any questions or problems, contact a certified dog trainer for advice and tips. Frequent brush-up dog training sessions can be helpful to your dog’s level of obedience.

How do you teach dogs to lie down?

Reader Interactions


Thanks for the tips! My dog has a habit of jumping on people, so I need to train him to lie down on command. It’s interesting that one of the tricks to getting them to learn this command is by rewarding the dog while they’re already laying down. I must admit, that seems like a good way to capture the behavior to help let them know when you want them to lie down.

I liked your tip for giving her treats whenever my dog’s in the down position to help her obey the “down” command. I’ve been struggling to find ways to teach her new tricks, so this will help a lot. Teaching her to lie down when I tell her to seems simple, and it would be useful when I want her to leave one of my friends alone when she gets excited when greeting them at the door. Thanks for the tips!

How to teach a dog to lie down

Every dog should know a few basic commands such as sit, stay, and lie down. These commands can make it much easier to live with your pup since you’ll be able to control its actions when necessary.

Many people just yell these words at their dogs, expecting them to naturally understand. Of course, dogs don’t speak any human languages, so you’ll need to train them to do what you want in some other manner. Luckily, it’s not a very difficult process, and there are several different methods you could employ, which we’re going to share in this article.

3 Ways to Train a Dog to Lie Down

Each of the following methods will allow you to train a dog to lie down without much hassle. However, these methods all take different approaches, so read through all three and figure out which approach feels like it will work best for you and your dog.

1. Shaping Method

How to teach a dog to lie down

Image Credit: encierro, Shutterstock

In the shaping method, you’ll be teaching your dog how to lie down in stages. You’ll have to break the movement down into single parts for this to work.

Step 1. Look at the Ground

The first step is to teach your dog to look at the ground. For this step, you might enlist the help of a lure. This could be some type of treat or toy that your dog loves. Small treats tend to be one of the best choices, such as the Soft Puppy Bites from Wellness. Lure your dog’s head down until it’s looking directly at the floor. Then, praise it and give it the lure treat as a reward.

Step 2. Elbows to the Floor

Once your dog has mastered step one, you’ll need to teach it to lower its arms to the floor. You can do this in essentially the same way as the first stage, by luring the dog down to the floor with a treat.

Step 3. Lie Down

Once your dog is lowering its elbows to the floor, you’re nearly there. Keep using the same method to get your dog’s backside to the floor, and it will be lying down!

Step 4. Add Other Cues

Now that your dog can lie down, you have to start adding in other cues, such as a verbal command for “down.” Wait to start adding this cue until your dog has made it all the way into the lying-down position.

  • See also:How to Teach Your Dog to Sit

2. Luring Method

For the luring method, you’re going to basically lure your dog into the position you want with a treat, rewarding it for doing so successfully. Then, you’ll slowly take away the treat until your dog can simply lie down on command.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Image Credit: Pixabay

  1. Start with your dog in the sitting position.
  2. Hold a treat to your dog’s nose, like the American Journey Beef Training Bits Dog Treats.
  3. Lower the treat towards the floor between your dog’s front paws. You want them to lower their head, following the treat to the floor.
  4. Move the treat along the floor, pulling it away from your dog’s nose so that they stretch out after it. Once you pull the treat far enough, the dog should be fully stretched into a lying-down position.
  5. The moment your puppy makes it to the lying position, begin praising them and give them the treat that you used to lure them into position.
  6. Repeat this several times in the exact same fashion.
  7. After several successful repetitions, start feeding your dog a treat from your other hand instead of the treat you used to lure it down, so it stops thinking about eating the treat it’s following into the lying position.
  8. Soon, you should be able to lure your dog to the floor with an empty hand. Still reward your dog with a treat from the opposite hand though so it knows that it’s doing exactly what you wanted. Now, it understands your hand signal for lie down.
  9. If you’d like your dog to respond to a verbal command of “down” or “lie down,” then you’ll want to also say down every time you motion for the dog to lie down. This will associate the movement with your command, and soon, it should be able to lie down off of just your verbal command.

3. Capturing Method

The capturing method is a bit different than the first two ways of teaching your dog to lie down. When using the capture method, you’re not actually trying to get your dog to do anything. Instead, you’re simply looking for the behavior you want, lying down, and rewarding it when you see it.

How to teach a dog to lie down

Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock

  1. Make sure to keep treats in your pocket so you can reward your dog anytime you see it lying down.
  2. If you catch your dog while it’s in the process of lying on the floor, praise them and offer a treat.
  3. Soon, your dog will start dropping onto the floor in front of you in hopes of earning a reward. It will have learned to associate lying down with getting a treat.
  4. Now, it’s time to add in other cues, such as hand signals or verbal commands, so your dog can begin to associate lying down with your cues. After enough repetitions of lying down on cue, you’ll no longer need treats as your dog will simply lie down when it hears the command.


Ensuring your dog can lie down on command is an invaluable tool in your toolbox as its trainer and guardian. You can use this command to have your dog lie down in stressful situations, which can help the dog to calm down and regain composure.

While it might seem like a difficult thing to train your dog for on the surface, truthfully, teaching your dog to lie down is pretty simple. We’ve provided you with three different methods you can use to achieve the same goal. Determine which of these is the best choice for your dog and you, then start implementing the steps we covered. Your dog will be lying down on command in no time.

Featured Image Credit: SL Chen, Shutterstock

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.