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teaching the down command

Joey.E.CockersMommy
August 8th, 2005, 09:21 PM
I am trying to teach Joey the down command. He does the sit stay command fairly well. I am making him do the stay a little bit longer each time.He doesnt seem to get the down command. If I gently push on him while he is sitting he just braces himself. If I try to pull his feet out he just stands up, and if I tap the floor with my hand and say down. He usually just comes up and hugs me.
I havent been working on this command with him for very long so maybe its just going to take him a bit to learn it.

Prin
August 8th, 2005, 09:28 PM
Refusing to go down is a dominance thing. You have to work on being a complete leader and then the down will come easier. I hope you're not getting down on the ground... I actually saw somebody lying on the ground trying to "explain" to the dog what to do... :rolleyes:

Just keep at it. If you trust him not biting you, then you can grab both his front feet from the sit position with one hand and slide them foreward and you can with the other gently push between the shoulders... I don't know if you're able to do that-- sort of sound like acrobatics... It's easier if you work on a slippery surface...

Other people guide the dog down with a cookie (closed in a fist), and when he is down, give the cookie.

Once you get him down, try making him stay down longer and longer without moving. :)

ILoveMutts!
August 9th, 2005, 08:32 AM
Make him sit. Take a cookie and hold it with your fingers between his front paws. He will lower his head and look at it. Start saying down while slowly moving the cookie away from his paws (keep it on ground level). If he tries to paw at it, it's a good sign. Keep going. The idea is that he'll have to lie down to reach the cookie. :)

jessi76
August 9th, 2005, 09:10 AM
Make him sit. Take a cookie and hold it with your fingers between his front paws. He will lower his head and look at it. Start saying down while slowly moving the cookie away from his paws (keep it on ground level). If he tries to paw at it, it's a good sign. Keep going. The idea is that he'll have to lie down to reach the cookie. :)

That's the method we learned in our obedience class, to lure him into a down, it worked great! in fact, it worked so well, that tucker decided he really liked DOWN and would do it ALL the time. (our trainer actually said he'd never seen a puppy who liked to lie down so much.)

Writing4Fun
August 9th, 2005, 09:27 AM
OK, don't know if I'm going to get pounded for this method or not, but here goes...

Stand next to your puppy. Let his leash touch the floor (but still hold the end in your hand), then put one foot on it. Give him the "down" command. If (when?) he doesn't listen, start slowly pulling the leash under your foot, so that your foot is slowly and gently getting closer and closer to his collar. Eventually, he'll have no choice but to follow his collar down to where your foot is, which is on the floor. When he finally gets down there, praise like the dickens and treat, then let him back up and try again, until you no longer need to guide him with your foot on the leash. If he fights you and starts freaking out, then don't do this anymore. But, if he's gradually giving in to the pressure, then keep going.

Hope this helps.
Vicky

kandy
August 9th, 2005, 01:56 PM
Make him sit. Take a cookie and hold it with your fingers between his front paws. He will lower his head and look at it. Start saying down while slowly moving the cookie away from his paws (keep it on ground level). If he tries to paw at it, it's a good sign. Keep going. The idea is that he'll have to lie down to reach the cookie. :)

This is how we teach our dogs to lie down. Lacey was really good at it - and if she thought she was going to get a treat - she would go through her whole reportoie (sp?) in such a hurry that she thumped herself into the down position - sit; paw up for shake; other paw up for shake; lay down. She would kind of throw her legs out in front of her like she was literally throwing herself at the ground. :p It always made my elbows hurt to watch her do that! :D

Prin
August 9th, 2005, 02:16 PM
OK, don't know if I'm going to get pounded for this method or not, but here goes... I think that would work for the dog who is a little less passive than dog for whom the cookie method works. ;)

Writing4Fun
August 9th, 2005, 02:26 PM
Thanks Prin! :) I was a little worried about posting it - I thought it might be taken out of context. I should clarify that this method is only to be used with a flat collar, no chokes or prongs or head halters or any of those other devices - just a plain ol' flat collar.

Phoebe was one of those dogs who slammed herself to the floor for the treat, just like Kandy's Lacy. :D But, there were a couple of dogs in our class - a Lab and a Bull Terrier, that I can remember off the top of my head - who just refused to bend, and this method worked for them. ;)

nymph
August 9th, 2005, 04:36 PM
If you put the treat right up in between the dog's 2 front paws, it wouldn't take the dog long to learn the "down" command. Note to reward using the other hand, i.e. the lure is never to be used as actual treat. Hand signal works better than voice command.

Beaglemom
August 9th, 2005, 04:57 PM
We trained Misty using the lure method as well. It worked great for her as she is very food motivated.
Lacey was really good at it - and if she thought she was going to get a treat - she would go through her whole reportoie (sp?) in such a hurry that she thumped herself into the down position - sit; paw up for shake; other paw up for shake; lay down. She would kind of throw her legs out in front of her like she was literally throwing herself at the ground. :p It always made my elbows hurt to watch her do that! :D
Misty does this still today, 8 years after the completion of her training! If we are getting some treats for her, she will sit, then give us one paw to shake, then the other one, then she will lie down, then she will roll over! We can't help but give her a treat after all that effort!

Joey.E.CockersMommy
August 9th, 2005, 05:04 PM
Thanks guy I will try both methods. Joey doesnt seem to like to bend. He is napping now (its a hard life being a dog) but will give both methods a go when he gets up.

On another note we were playing fetch with his little killer whale and he obeyed the "drop it" command without me taking from him. Before I had to say it and then take it from him. We ended the game with a sit and stay for about 30 seconds. Then he went off with his whale for a snooze.

ILoveMutts!
August 9th, 2005, 05:37 PM
Hand signal works better than voice command.

What hand signal do you use for down?

Joey.E.CockersMommy
August 9th, 2005, 07:38 PM
The only hand signal for down I know is tapping the floor with a flat hand.

I tried the cookie between the paw but Joey puts his head down while he is still standing and tries to just pry it out of my hand. His head is close enough to the ground that he can put it down without having to lie down at all.

I tried scooting his paws out on the kitchen floor which is fake wood linoleum.
But he just scooted along his bum and didnt lie down.

So far it seem I have to help him down.

I wil try writing for funs method next to see how that goes . :)

Writing4Fun
August 9th, 2005, 08:06 PM
What hand signal do you use for down?
An arm straight up in the air (for some odd reason :p ).

Freyja
August 9th, 2005, 08:23 PM
I was taught the treat on the floor method of down and it worked for Lindy. Now we don't need a treat. The hand signal we use in palm up- like "I swear to tell the truth" and then palm comes down to horizontal. My trainer had me drill Lindy to go down from a sit and from a stand. She does both, no problem.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
August 9th, 2005, 08:44 PM
Just curiuos I know you have big dogs Prin but what about everyone else is it harder to teach to a small dog. A big dog would have to at least go down on his front legs to get his treat, but a small dog just has to put is head down. I am sure it is just me being a novice trainer. Anyways we will keep working on it. I did try lying on the floor like that lady Prin and Joey looked at me like I was. crazy :crazy:

Dogastrophe
August 9th, 2005, 09:07 PM
We have two hand signals for down, the first is a closed hands that is pressed downward from hip level. This was a natural extension of using the lure technique described in a few of the posts. When we had them consistent with this signal and verbal command, we introduced the hand straight up in the air, which is supposed to be for our off leash distance control (i.e. emergency stop), however the tunnel vision of my terriers makes stopping and going into a down from a distance about a 50 / 50 gamble.

pennynikkel
August 9th, 2005, 10:08 PM
One thing I've noticed with my Max, is that his legs are really long, and in learning the down, he doesn't like doing it on a slippery surface. I think it's so far down...it's like he has to think about how he's going to get down there! He starts to slowly move his legs out into the 10 and 2 o'clock positions, and then starts to slide himself downwards. I'm thinking it's a bit uncomfortable and probably harder on the joints. Anyways, he'll do it, but he is much more responsive on non-slippery surfaces, and if it's not good on the joints, I don't train on slippery surfaces for that reason.

Prin
August 9th, 2005, 10:12 PM
Just curiuos I know you have big dogs Prin but what about everyone else is it harder to teach to a small dog. A big dog would have to at least go down on his front legs to get his treat, but a small dog just has to put is head down. I am sure it is just me being a novice trainer. Anyways we will keep working on it. I did try lying on the floor like that lady Prin and Joey looked at me like I was. crazy :crazy:
That's why I slide the feet out with one hand and keep the treat in a fisted hand so they don't get accidental freebies... :D Big dogs can put their heads down too, you know. Doggy necks are pretty proportional to size. :crazy:

ILoveMutts!
August 10th, 2005, 05:11 AM
I tried the cookie between the paw but Joey puts his head down while he is still standing and tries to just pry it out of my hand.

Was he standing or sitting? You have to put him in a sit position first.

Dogastrophe
August 10th, 2005, 07:27 AM
Just curiuos I know you have big dogs Prin but what about everyone else is it harder to teach to a small dog. A big dog would have to at least go down on his front legs to get his treat, but a small dog just has to put is head down. I am sure it is just me being a novice trainer. Anyways we will keep working on it.

We had that problem when we were teaching Jack. Found that if we put him into a sit, cupped his butt with a hand and used just enough pressure to keep it on the ground, that we could lure him out into a down. It took us about a little while before he got it.

nymph
August 10th, 2005, 10:43 AM
What hand signal do you use for down?

Initially, I use my hand to tap on the floor, now I just make a hand pushing downward gesture, with palm facing the floor, my pup would know to get down. I still need to bend my back while making the down gesture though, but we are working on it.

The *down* command we used doesn't require a sit position first, because we want Diego to be able to get down anytime, even from running towards us. *down* is not a difficult command because most dogs are food driven. Use some really tasty treats in training, and keep the sessions short and fun.

mona_b
August 10th, 2005, 10:50 AM
When I trained my dogs the down command,I used both hand and voice at the same time.When they were in the sit possision,my hand was at head level,as I lowered my hand,I'd say "down" at the same time.I found using both at the same time made them understand better as to what I wanted them to do.It then got to the point where I just needed the hand signal(not even the full gesture) without the voice.

nymph
August 10th, 2005, 11:00 AM
My trainer has told me that hand signals are much stronger than voice command. It's easier for dogs to obey a hand signal than to obey a voice command. We were told to say the voice command, followed by a hand signal. This way the dog would learn the same command both ways, so when he gets old and loses some sensory function, one would be able to compensate for another.

Is this true?

Dogastrophe
August 10th, 2005, 11:15 AM
We did the opposite, hand signal followed by voice, but yes, it is true. Teaching to respond to both will negate having to retrain if hearing or vision is impaired later on. I read a story quite a while ago about an older dog who was enrolled in competition obedience. The handler would give hand signals and voice command to this dog, which would follow them perfectly. At the end of the year, this dog was within the top 5 dogs. The handler later revealed that her dog had been totally deaf for several years. The voice commands were only for the benefit of the audience / judges.

mona_b
August 10th, 2005, 11:23 AM
so when he gets old and loses some sensory function, one would be able to compensate for another.

This is true to a point.If a dog is going deaf,then the hand signal will still work.But if the dog is going blind,then it's the voice.

I have a deaf cat.He was born deaf.We have had to teach him hand signals.Most of the time he will just sit there and stare at you as to say"I'll do it when I'm ready"... :rolleyes:

Unfortunately there are no hand signals for every command.So I would say the voice is stronger.

I even used a hand signal when teaching them the "sit" command.

If you watch agility,everything is a hand signal.

Dogastrophe
August 10th, 2005, 11:29 AM
I have been introducing a hand signal for "good" to my crew. It was an after thought, so it is still a work in progress. Hmmmm, how to describe it??? Making a mouth with my fingers on the top and thumb on the bottom I do a couple of open and closes when I say good (kind of like the hand movement you would make when you are letting someone know that someone else is talking your ear off).

nymph
August 10th, 2005, 11:56 AM
That would be my "quiet" command. :p While I make the mouth with my fingers, I also move the mouth towards my pup's mouth, and make a closing movement, so he could associate the gesture with the his barking.

I also find that dogs pay more attention to movement, i.e. my dog is not as obedient to see my still *down* signal, which is my palm facing floor, as if I make a continuously movement of *getting down*. So all hand signals I try to use on Diego involve some movements.

mona: I actually think every voice command could have a hand signal equivalent, like in sign language. It doesn't really matter to a dog, it's not like a dog would really understand a language, they only remember the sound of it.

mona_b
August 10th, 2005, 12:11 PM
True.But some would be a heck of alot harder to teach then others.And signing is not an easy task.My neice just graduated Collage.She is becoming a sign teacher for the deaf.

When my dog was doing the SchH training with my brother,the Obedience part was hard.You were not allowed to give voice or hand signals.This really tests the handler/dog bond.... :)

Joey.E.CockersMommy
August 14th, 2005, 09:01 PM
I tried cupping his butt it is alot easier to get him down. It takes both my hands to get him down. One to hold his butt and the other to slide his front paws out. So I cant do the hand signal at the same time. He will stay in that position for about 7 seconds if I tell him to stay. Yes I know the progress we are making is remarkable. :)

StaceyB
August 14th, 2005, 09:51 PM
I teach my students to use hand signals first, once the dog understands the behaviour then the verbal cue is added. Then they are to play with all forms of signals, only hand, only voice, combo of both. Unless they understand our language, they will not understand what a down is unless they know what the behaviour is.
people tend to repeat themselves as the dog is learning so I prefer they have some reliability with the hand signal before adding the verbal. It has been proven that a dog learns faster and retains better when they use their problem solving abilities. Remember as of right now he doesn't know what a down is so telling him to do it means nothing. When you try to use any kind of force you end up being the one doing the work, making it take longer to learn as well as possibly hurting him. Teaching him to down from a sit position to start is easier as he is learning, once he gets it you can begin doing it from a stand.
Set him up into a sit, place a very tiny treat between your thumb and finger, turn your hand palm down. Place the treat at nose and slowly move your hand towards the floor. Make sure you don't move your hand away, you want to go straight down. If he stops following you, put your hand to the nose and try again. Once you have him on the floor curve the treat in the direction towards his shoulder. This will cause him to go onto a hip. This position keeps pressure off his hips. Once he gets the down you can start to cue him w/o bending over and begin to add a little distance.