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With my OES "down stay" was an easy command. Using the sit command and then lowering the treat until he was in the down position. I have tried this with Ty and it simply doesn't work. He is already so low to the ground that I can't get him "down". Short of forcing his body down (which I don't want to do) how do you get the down command across?
 

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What I did for my boys that worked was to tell them to lie down when they were already laying down. I use a clicker to train them and it really helps to distinguish what behaviour you are rewarding. Once I see that they are getting ready to lay down or sit or whatever, I click the second that they do it. Like with sitting, I would wait until they were going to sit and the second their bum hit the ground I would click and say sit and give a treat. There is another thread going on about clicker training and it has some links in it too.
 

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I'm certainly not a professional trainer or anything, but Jack knows "down". How I did it was after he learned "sit", I'd tell him "sit", and then "down" while moving my fingers to the ground in front of him. He'd bend down to go for the treat in my hand and I'd push him gently to be laying down while he went for the treat. When he was all the way down I'd say good down, and let him eat the treat. He got it after only like 20 tries.

But, he still doesn't know STAY. STAY is basically impossible. Also, interestingly, he doesn't understand "here, Jack" or "come" or any of that -- he ALMOST always comes when called, but I'd like him to come EVERY time. even if the thing he's sniffing is REALLY tasty.

Any tips?
 

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I taught wait very slowly. I would tell Lacey to sit and then wait. I would click and then treat right after she did it. I then worked up to taking one step back after telling her to sit and wait. I just slowly worked up to longer periods. Only took a few days and now I can tell Lacey to wait and I can leave a room and go to another room in the house and call her to me. Of course she gets lots of treats.
 

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The capturing method of clicking and treating when he lays down on his own is a great way to teach the down.

I like to teach the recall with a leash. Have the dog sit, wait, take a step or two back, use your cue word (come, here, etc. Just make sure it isn't a word you've been using that he ignores) and you can gently lead him to you with the leash if you need to. Backing away excitedly and encouraging him towards you is good. If I'm using the clicker, I would click as soon as he makes a move towards me (he would continue the rest of the short space to you for his treat), eventually holding my click until he came to me.

Also, play the recall game with another person. Each person has yummy treats and you call him back and forth.

Never ever use the cue word if you can't help him succeed or you know he'll ignore you. It will lose its value.

I like to play the yard recall game, too, with a long line. Let the dog go off sniffing, call them for a great treat, then let them go back to playing/sniffing. This way calling them does not always mean the end of the game or we're going inside. Its another way to reinforce your recall.

As always, a basic obedience class is a great way to learn how to work with your dog.
 

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i wrote in a thread A LONG time ago (LOL) that i got my dogs to do a down from far away.....by leashing them to something heavy, go like a couple feet away, say down a bunch of times with my hand doing the signal....and when they got tired and finally laid down---i praised like crazy and gave treats.


its hard breaking them from doing the down when you tell them to sit though. LOL
 

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Originally posted by puppymom@Jun 19 2005, 11:48 AM
With my OES "down stay" was an easy command.  Using the sit command and then lowering the treat until he was in the down position.  I have tried this with Ty and it simply doesn't work.  He is already so low to the ground that I can't get him "down".  Short of forcing his body down (which I don't want to do) how do you get the down command across?
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Once Ty is in the sit position, lower the treat to the ground and then scoot it towards him while saying "down". When the treat is between his front paws, he should naturally go down while trying to reach the treat. I hope this makes sense, as it is hard to explain. I watched my trainer do this with some of the dogs in class that didn't want to go down and it worked liked a charm. Then of course, as soon as he is in the down position, give him lots and lots of praise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, I'll try your suggestions. I'm not sure catching him in a down is an option thought, he's such a bundle of energy that laying down is rarely an option. He's so small that when I lower the treat to the ground he just drops his head without lowering his body!!


I'm trying to find a puppy kindergarten this summer.
 

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For us, "down" was a long haul, but he's got that command better than any other that we've trained now.

This is how we did it.

Hold the treat in between your thumb and forefinger. Make sure it's a treat they LOVE, like a tiny piece of hot dog or such.

Put your hand (with the treat) on the floor. They'll try and try to lick and chew it out. Don't let them have it. Finally they'll lay down...at that point use your clicker -- CLICK -- say DOWN at the same time and give them the treat.

You may need to do this in stages. For example, if his front paws go down (even if his bum is in the air), you may want to reward that, so that they don't get discouraged.

Our obedience class trainer taught us this and it worked like a charm. So much so, that at the word, he's down like he's hitting the deck under gunfire!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
WHAT A DOLL Angus is!!
And the rest of your babies. I could spend all day just looking at pictures
 

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You can build the whole down from him bending his front end down. That's how we teach a folding down as a matter of fact. Lure them and when their front end is down, click and treat. Repeat a few times as he gets it then increase the criteria for more of his body on the ground. We usually get elbows and head at first, then click for chest, then click for more of the chest until you are finally clicking for belly and the whole down. It usually only takes one or two short sessions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
JMM, I tried it last night and failed miserably. when I lower the treat he just backs up, I tried it with his back against the couch and he just kinda flipped over, at this rate we'll have roll over accomplished before down!! He's soooo squirmy
We'll justy have to keep trying.
 

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We havent went to training classes yet, but plan to by the end of summer. Rex has just learned lay down. He has always layed down backwards, he puts his front down with his butt up in the air and then his butt goes down. I tried to teach him to lay down from his sitting position, but it wouldnt work. Anyway I taught him by getting on the floor and showing him! I know it sounds goofy and looked even worse, and of course isnt the right way to teach him...but he does it on his own now everytime I say lay down...for a treat of course!
 

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You might be setting your starting criteria too high. Hold a treat on the ground under your hand and just wait for him to try to puzzle through how to get it. Chances are eventually he'll bow down somewhat. Click that! Break the behavior down into the tiniest increments. When I teach a hold with an object, the dog is first clicked for looking at the object, not even touching it. We slowly build closer from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have just printed alot of the stuff off the internet on clicker training (recommended in anotoher post), I have also located a facility in my area that does clicker training (thanks to your info JMM) and will start a class in July geared toward puppies headed for agility. I hope to get a clicker this week. I hope to maybe get a couple of private classes in sooner.
 

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Best of luck! The clicker is a lot of fun because it is really learning as opposed to how most people think of training. The dog gets to exercise their mind. Once you learn the principles, it also makes you a great problem solver when your dog is doing something you don't like.
 
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