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Improving your Dog's Down Stay

Improving your Dog's Down Stay

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

  Improving your Down-Stay

It is important that you start asking for down stays at home. A great way to practice the down stay is to have your dog practice on his or her dog bed. You really want your dog to understand that his or her dog bed is a GREAT place to stay for awhile. You can do this by rewarding your dog right on his or her dog bed while he or she is in a down.

When you are preparing your dog's meals have him or her do a down stay on his or her dog bed. You can reach down and reward your dog for not getting up and you can put him or her back should they choose to get up before you say OK.This will take some time and persistence on your part.

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 lay down and then give him or her three or four treats and then tell him or her 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 off leash. So just put him back on the bed as soon as possible. If your dog doesn't move from the bed, get up and bring another reward to your dog and remind him or her to stay. You can then return to your couch and continue "watching" your show. 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 anytime before you release him or her you must return your dog to the spot and ask him to lay back down.

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