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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Down Help

Hello I have a 21 mon. old female. She will sit all day long if I told her. But when it comes to down she only goes down for a treat and its only half way. I have tried with on leash and off in our back yard. I dont know if I am not stearn enoght or what I am doing wrong. She does every thing else I ask her.

Chloe-6-15-11
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 07:38 PM
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It's not about being stern. How have you tried to teach "down"? If she's not complying it's possible that she hasn't really learned the command.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 11:59 AM
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You need to make sure she is down all the way before treating. If she is half way down, gently take her front legs and bring them forward and down until she is down all the way. Then treat. Keep doing this until she goes down all the way by herself. No full down = no treat. Do not repeat the command, issue it once. If she is quick to get into half down then you need to be quick with the leg action so the down command is associated with the position. Not down, wait 10 seconds then leg her down. Down, ( she half downs) immediately bring her into position and treat.

Another alternative is to go back to the start, put her in a sit, hold the treat in your hand and bring your hand (while issuing the down command), from her nose, all the way down to the ground (you may need to draw your hand towards yourself a little) so she has to lower herself down to get the treat.

As a prerequisite to this you can play with luring/leading the dog. Get some nice special treats, have one in your closed fist and put your hand up to the dogs nose, then move your hand around slowly, while you move/turn slowly. Keep your hand a few inches (6 or so) away from the dogs mouth and let the dog follow your hand. After she follows for a few seconds open your hand and treat. Keep doing this and extend the duration where she must follow your hand to get the treat.
This technique allows you to lead the dog into various positions and is very useful in training other behaviors. Once you get this technique, use it to lead your down into the down position.

Make it happy and fun and don't over do it. Short random sessions (couple of minutes a day is plenty).

Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you I will start doing this. Pfitza1 Will some of thoes work for long downs and at a distance? I know I need to work on just down for now.

Chloe-6-15-11
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2013, 01:42 PM
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If you don't yet have a solid down command you don't want to be increasing difficulty by adding distance or duration. Work on getting a consistent fast down first, and then start making it more challenging.

Personally, I prefer not to physically manipulate the dog, I wait for the dog to offer behaviors and then mark and reward ("capturing"), and also lure into position. With capturing, once the dog is starting to offer downs more frequently, I start to put it on cue by naming it. For example, she lays down on the floor, you say "yes!", and toss a treat a few feet away so she has to get up to get it. Then wait for her to lay down again, rinse/repeat. Once she figures out the game she should be slamming herself into a down in anticipation of the reward, and at that point you would say "down" right before she does it.

With a lure, I like to get the food out of that hand as quickly as possible so the dog doesn't become dependent on the sight of food in my hand in order to comply. I'll lure a few times, and when the dog is consistently following that hand to the floor (mark and release the food when butt and elbows touch), I'll use the lure motion with an empty hand and then reward from the other hand. I gradually fade the lure motion, and it becomes the hand signal for that behavior. Again, once she's consistently responding to the hand signal, add the verbal cue a second or two beforehand.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-01-2013, 12:46 AM
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Teaching the long down ( and I'm not sure what your interpretation of this command is) is also easy but different.. it's a lot harder for the dog owner than it is for the dog. A prerequisite is a solid down.
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