60 Main Road Westhampton, MA 01027     Call us at 413-527-7364

Please Sign In

forgot your login?

Create a New Account

Creating an account takes only a moment.

  • Save your billing and shipping information for faster checkout.
  • Quick access to your Order History.
  • Save items in your shopping bag between visits.
  • Sign-up for email updates on news and promotions.
  • Open a professional, wholesale or distributor account.
  • Become a store affiliate and earn commission for referrals.

Improving your Dog's Down Stay

Improving your Dog's Down Stay

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Improving this skill will help you at home!

In Basic Manners, we teach the Sit-Stay and we also work on the Down-Stay as much as possible.  But because there is so much for me to teach you in the Basic Manners Class I want to add some suggestions to work on Down-Stay at home.

If you want to improve your dog's ability to stay when asked, it is important that you start asking this behavior more at home each day.  A great way to practice the down stay is to have your dog practice on his dog bed. You really want your dog to understand that his or her dog bed is a GREAT place to stay for a while. You can do this by rewarding your dog right on his dog bed while he is already lying down. 

If your dog is new to your home, it's helpful to keep dry kibble in closed containers all over the house.  This way you can quickly reward anything you like that your dog is doing.  Unfortunately, many people only focus on telling the dog "NO!" and they don't spend enough time rewarding what they actually want their dog to do.

One tip:  When you are preparing your dog's meals have him stay on a  dog bed or mat while you are preparing his food.   This way, you can reach down and reward your dog for not getting up and you can also quickly put him back on the mat should they choose to get up before you say OK. This will take some time and persistence on your part.  Your dog should stay on that mat until you give a verbal "okay" or "free" or any release word you choose.

Another great time and place to do this is when you are watching TV. First, put your dog on a light, indoor leash. Put your dog's bed about three feet from where you will be sitting. Ask your dog to lie down and then give him three or four treats and then tell him to stay. Then sit down on the couch. If your dog gets up (which he probably will at first), he can't really go anywhere because he's on a leash.  So just put him back on the dog mat as soon as possible. If your dog doesn't move from the mat or bed, get up and bring another reward to your dog and remind him to stay. You can then return to your couch and continue "watching" tv or reading a book.  Even though you are partaking in an activity, you should be focusing on what your dog is doing so you can "catch him doing something right!"    At random intervals, if your dog is continuing to stay, you can move in and reward that good down stay. Should your dog choose to get up at any time before you release him or her you must return your dog to the spot and ask him to lie back down.

Remember, the more you reinforce this behavior, the more it will happen. Make sure that you are the one that releases him even if he falls asleep while in the down. Try building up to a 30-minute down stay.

The more you practice then and reinforce your dog's stay, the better it will get.  Practice makes perfect!