Troubles with teaching down - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Troubles with teaching down

My puppy is a little older than 6 months, he's picked up most basic things and walks fine, I`m just having trouble teaching him to stay by the door and to lay down.

For the door, I use the side door and he runs down by it and sits before I open the door. For the front door no matter if it's open a crack or he even hears it open he books for it, having his head/body shut on. Which can be a hassle trying to carry things in or out and not wanting to hit the sidewalk and take off.

And then with laying down, I heard the best way to teach him is to have him sit, then while holding a treat in front of him slowly lower it and move it outwards so that he`ll lower his body. Loki instantly just walks forward or lowers just his front paws to get it at.

Any tips with either this will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 07:25 PM
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Re: Troubles with teaching down

First, with regard to luring the Down, you're likely holding the treat too far out. Move it much closer into his chest. You don't need to *move* it down so much; let him see/sniff the treat is in your hand, then put the treat near the floor right smack between his paws. He will likely 'back up' his body into the down position at first, but that's ok. He'll get it.

As for getting your dog to just lie down by the front door, well, LOL, welcome to the club! My guy is 2 yrs old, rather well trained, but gosh, the front door is the portal to All Things Exciting! What I found works best is NOT let him get right by the front door. Figure out a logical place that's about 4-6 feet or so back from the door(for us, it was having his butt up against the front of the sofa when he lay down). This way, there was a *physical* cue to him that he was in the right place. If you have an entryway, maybe you can have your pup lie down right where the entryway meets the living room carpet. Or maybe a little corner by a table, something like that.

THEN, train him to that spot. Put him on a 6' leash. Since he knows Sit, start with that. Tell him to Sit, then Wait. Then walk to the front door. If he rushes the door, tell him "uh-oh!" and move him back into the sit position. When you get about halfway to the front door, happily release him with a treat. (If you can't even get halfway, decrease your distance.) Do this until he understands that he has to Wait until he's released. Continue to do this til you can make it all the way to the door without him hopping up. (This will likely take several training sessions over *at least* several days, probably a week or so for it to really sink in).

Once you can get to door, as soon as you put your hand on doorknob, he may pop up. That's ok. Start all over. If you opened the door, close it. If he keeps popping up at this stage, go back to working a shorter distance (so that he gets success that can be rewarded. Training is only fun when you have some success!). Then try opening the door again. Honestly, you will likely close the door in your dog's face quite a lot before he realizes that the ONLY way to get the door to stay open is for him to remain seated. Just keep working back and forth -- short distances, longer distances with success, then try opening the door. Once you're actually able to open the door, hurry to release him (woo hoo! the ultimate reward!). Then, once he really understands that Wait means the door gets opened, you can work with him on building up time after the door is opened and he gets released.

Once he learns Down fully, you can easily replace the Sit with the Down.

Eventually, your goal is that whenever you head toward the door, your dog goes into his special spot. Then you can open the door, walk out into your yard, in and out, whatever, and your dog will remain seated. That requires a lot of self-control for a dog. It's something that we're constantly working on with my 2 year old. He knows his spot well, and usually immediately lies down there, waiting. Some months we make great progress, like he'll hold the Down for an extra minute or two. Then we plateau for a while. It's all a work-in-progress. Just keep working on it!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 07:56 PM
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Re: Troubles with teaching down

Rocky is 2 and we have the same problem. If we mention ride or walk, he gets very excited. His place is the top of the stairs. We live in a split foyer house and the foyer is not big enough for him and me LOL.

We actually just got back from a ride, and it took several minutes to get out of the house. I kept sending him back to the top of the stairs, with a sit and wait, and once he did what he was supposed to do he got to go out the door.

I think sometimes the idea of going out makes them forget the countless time they are sent back up the stairs to wait LOL


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2008, 10:17 AM
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Re: Troubles with teaching down

Also, make sure you are clear in your requests, I have to remind my kids and husband that down means lie down, not off the couch or stop jumping....Just be consistant with whatever command you use. Like 3K9Mom does take a lot of time, sometimes if I really couldnt wait that long to open the door I would crate her to open the door, then release her later. Going for walks sometimes to forever to get out the door....but they do get it if you are consistant.


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