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A highly respected trainer has worked with my 2 Maltese & 2 Yorkies for 7 weeks, Monday - Friday at my house. Three of the 4 dogs are ready for graduation, but Goliath absolutely refuses to obey the down command. He is OK with the other basic commands. Goli is very timid and usually hides under a table when someone comes into the house, but now runs to greet the trainer and his assistant when they arrive.

The trainer is very gentle and tries heaping praise, using treats, a clicker and stroking the dog when he does well. Goliath is 3 years old. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I would suggest capturing the behavior. That means when your dog lays down at home, you click and treat. For example, you sit on the couch and he lays down on the floor. This method removes the stress of the training session.

Other methods of teaching are the lure (using a treat to guide the dog down), lure with prop (lure the dogs head under your leg and the dog must lay down to get it), and shaping (click for approximations working up to the entire behavior).
 

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From a sit position use a high value treat in front of his nose to guide him down. Make sure the treat is extra yummy!
 

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JMM gave great ways to try, capturing the behavior will ultimately work but will take the longest for him to "get it" since you have to wait for the behavior to happen naturally.

Preston & London are in basic obedience classes now, and Preston just did not "get it" no matter what. The trainer (who is APDT / CPDT certified) uses reward-based training, but she told us to gently place one hand on the shoulder blade area, and lightly rock him back and forth while luring him down. After doing it twice, it finally clicked with him and now he will practically throw himself down on the floor for a treat. Sometimes you just need to go by trial and error, something that works for one dog may not work for another. London learned down by luring her with a treat in between her legs and then lured away from her. It was natural for her...but Preston, omg, he is definitely not the brightest crayon in the box. lol
 

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I taught Kenz how to lay down by capturing and it became her default. :)

Also - when you are teaching and/or asking for it after it's taught you need to be aware of the surroundings. Some dogs are going to not feel comfortable laying on hard, cold surfaces or in a stressful situation (around other dogs, a lot of people around, etc...).
 

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JMM gave great ways to try, capturing the behavior will ultimately work but will take the longest for him to "get it" since you have to wait for the behavior to happen naturally.
It doesn't necessarily take the longest. I 'taught' Kenz to down after about 3 clicks - which was approximately a minute. She laid down, I clicked and tossed the treat beside her (so she had to get up to get it), then repeated. After that it was just adding the cues.

I can't use any force (even light touches) to teach my dogs behaviors, they seem to never really understand why they get a click or a treat if I do. I have to either capture or shape it. I can lure but that takes a long time as well for my dogs.

It's amazing how all dogs learn so differently!
 

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It doesn't necessarily take the longest. I 'taught' Kenz to down after about 3 clicks - which was approximately a minute. She laid down, I clicked and tossed the treat beside her (so she had to get up to get it), then repeated. After that it was just adding the cues.

I can't use any force (even light touches) to teach my dogs behaviors, they seem to never really understand why they get a click or a treat if I do. I have to either capture or shape it. I can lure but that takes a long time as well for my dogs.

It's amazing how all dogs learn so differently!
Oh, wow! Kenzie is just smarter than Preston I guess. LOL It is amazing to see Preston's light bulb go off when I'm teaching him new things, and he then gets so excited to train. I love it. We are planning on continuing through intermediate & advanced classes with the dogs (only taking one to classes, it gets WAY too expensive!) because in the 2 weeks we've had so far we have already seen so much improvement. :)
 

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I taught Kenz how to lay down by capturing and it became her default. :)

Also - when you are teaching and/or asking for it after it's taught you need to be aware of the surroundings. Some dogs are going to not feel comfortable laying on hard, cold surfaces or in a stressful situation (around other dogs, a lot of people around, etc...).
Ahh, yes, the floor surface can really make a difference. With pets in the past, they would only lay down on certain surfaces, so with L&P I am training them on all surfaces. Carpet, hardwood floors, cement, wood deck, etc. For each surface, I train them as if the command completely new to them.
 

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i think some dogs have a hard time with down and also with roll over since they are more vulnerable in those positions. capturing is working well with reina on her roll over and i don't even need to use treats as she loves getting her belly rubbed. ;)
 
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