Teach Your Dog To Lay Down

After your dog has learned to sit, you can build on his newfound knowledge to teach him to lay down on command. The down command is a great way to settle your dog if he gets too rambunctious. It can also keep him in place while you eat, clean the house, or do other things that don’t require the special brand of assistance that dog’s love to give.


Your dog should be in a sitting position before you begin.

Use food or a toy as a lure

Just like you did when teaching your dog how to sit, you’ll use a toy or food to lure your dog to lay down in the proper position.

Give the command “Spot, down”

Use your dog’s name to make sure you have his attention followed by the down command.

Lower the lure down to the ground and forward

Hold your chosen lure, either a toy or food, at your dog’s nose level. Once his attention is focused on it, bring the lure down to the ground between his paws and then move it out away from him. The movement of the lure should form the letter “L”.

As your dog follows the lure he may lower his chest to the ground and keep his hind quarters in the air. If this happens, move the lure forward a little or back between his front paws to get your dog to lay down completely.

Reward your dog as soon as he lays down in the proper position

The instant your dog’s belly touches the ground and he’s in the correct down position, pet him and give generous praise along with the lure as a reward. You want your dog to associate the feeling of his belly touching the ground with the reward so you can connect that movement to the down command.

Other ways to teach a dog to lay down

If your dog doesn’t respond well to the method outlined above, here are two other ways to teach him to lay down on command.

Use stairs/steps when luring your dog into the down position

Have your dog sit on the top step. Follow the directions given previously, but bring the lure quickly down to the step below the one your dog is on. Moving the lure below your dog should help him to lay down in the proper position.

Sit with your dog and lure him under your leg

Sit on the ground in front of your dog. Place the foot of the leg closest to him flat on the floor. Your leg should make an arch in front of your dog. Hold the lure under your leg and, after you give the down command, pull the lure forward. Your dog should lower into the down position to get under your leg and reach the lure.

Teach Your Dog To Sit

Teaching the sit command to your dog is usually quite simple, as dogs tend to sit naturally. The key is for your dog to associate the word with the action. This command sets the groundwork for other commands like stay and down.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Time required: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day

Here’s How:

  1. Get your dog’s attention and show her that you have a treat in your hand.
  2. Hold the treat just above your dog’s nose (not too high or she might jump).
  3. Say your dog’s name followed by the word “sit,” spoken clearly and firmly.
  4. Move the treat back towards your dog’s ears.
  5. As soon as your dog’s rear lands on the ground, say “good sit” in an upbeat tone.
  6. Give your dog the treat followed by petting and praising.
  7. Repeat 5-6 times.


  1. If your dog does not sit on her own after a few tries, avoid pushing her into a sitting position. Instead, spend some time watching her. Anytime she naturally sits, say “good sit,” then praise and reward her.
  2. Hold short training sessions throughout the day in various locations, both indoor and outdoors. Include the front door and food bowl as regular training locations. This will make her more likely to sit when greeting guests or before feeding.
  3. Once your dog becomes and expert at sitting, you no longer need to give a treat every time – only occasionally. However, rewarding with praise is always a good idea.

What You Need

  • A big handful of your dog’s favorite treats