Re: Down in place
Just to throw another idea out there ..
The typical dog is trained to lay down by moving the front feet forward until the dog is down.
I teach my dogs TWO downs. One is "down" as described above, one is "platz" and it's where the dog is standing and then rocks back (without moving feet) until he's laying on his stomach in a sphinx-style down.
This second "platz" down is GREAT if you don't want your dog to move forward. Because it involves leaning backwards, the dog is less likely to take a step forward because it's the wrong way for that particular behavior. It makes a wonderful drop on recall because the dog has to stop the forward motion and rock back quickly in order to hit the ground.
I start with the dog in a standing position and then I use a treat in one hand, while the other hand is resting on the dog's back, over the withers (top of the shoulderblades). I have the treat in my hand so the dog can smell it but not get to it at first. Then I bring my hand to the dog's nose so he is well aware there's a treat. I slowly lower my hand and move it back between the dog's front legs (I want his nose to follow my hand, so it's a very slow movement - if he's licking at my hand, that's fine) and then I stroke or scratch the withers and the dog usually folds right down into the platz position.
Some dogs will try backing up at first to get to the treat. This is normal. I just ignore it and try again. He'll figure out that backing up doesn't work and try something else. I don't give a word command at first - he wouldn't know what it meants, and in case he doesn't do the behavior I don't want him associating the word with anything else. So I hold off and don't add the verbal command in until he's doing the behavior consistently with the signals he's getting.
Once he's figured out that folding back and to the ground is what gets him the reward, I stop using a treat in my hand. I'll still use my hand in the same movement, though - moving it down and between his legs - so as to give the same visual cue at first, but the treats will be in a pocket or on a chair and then I'll bring a treat to his mouth (or put it between his front legs) after he is in the proper position.
Then I add in the verbal - using "platz" before the visual cues each time so that the dog is starting to associate the word with the movement. I stop using my hand on his back. Then I gradually fade the use of the other hand - usually I change it and make it into a broader sweep (arm up to the sky and then down and below his head at first so that the last part of the signal is what he recognizes, then gradually fade that last part so that the signal ends up being an arm up and then back down to my side in a natural movement). The arm signal is handy for distance work, too.
When he's got the "platz" figured out, I start adding in distance. I may only go one foot at first until he's got it figured out not to come toward me, then add in another half a foot, etc. Teaching him in small increments is important if you want a real solid behavior.
Since this is a different movement than a typical down, you can still use your "down" command to indicate you want him laying down when he's near you. And if you want the platz to be a long stay, you may also want to teach him a "relax" command that tells him he can roll onto his side and relax. I teach my dogs "roll" and that means move over onto your hip or side.
Melanie and the gang in Alaska
Positive 1ST! More reward, less correction makes a GREAT trainer.
Chows: Khana CD RE SD & Dora NA NAJ GSD: Tazer SDIT
Total of 2UDs 3CDXs 12CDs 2REs 8AgilityTitles 1BH Chow!
20 Yrs Training/Teaching Experience