How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down?

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

Why Teach “Lay Down”?

  • Calming: Promotes relaxation, especially for excitable dogs.
  • Safety: Useful for keeping your dog out of the way in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Foundation Skill: Prepares your dog for other commands like “stay” and “roll over”.

Training Techniques

  1. Luring

    • Use a treat to guide your dog from a sitting position down the ground.
    • Reward immediately when they reach the “down” position.
    • Gradually fade out the lure and replace it with a hand signal and the verbal cue “down”.
  2. Shaping

    • Reward in small steps: Looking down, lowering elbows, fully lying down.
    • Gradually increase the difficulty as your dog progresses.
  3. Capturing

    • Reward your dog with treats and praise whenever they naturally lie down.
    • Start introducing the verbal cue “down” as you see them getting into position.

Training Tips

  • Timing & Rewards: Reward the correct behavior immediately.
  • Tired is Best: Train when your dog isn’t overly energetic.
  • Short Sessions: Keep it fun and positive, with frequent breaks.
  • Release Word: Use a word like “okay” to signal they can get up.
  • Gradual Difficulty: Slowly add distractions as your dog gets comfortable.


  • If Your Dog Can’t Sit: Adapt the training by starting from a standing position or using a raised platform.
  • Push-Up Problem: Reward longer durations of staying down before releasing.

Key Takeaways

  • Patience and Consistency: The key to successful dog training.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Focus on praise and rewards, not punishment.
  • Multiple Methods: Be flexible and try different techniques based on your dog’s personality and learning style.
  • Start Easy: Begin in a quiet environment with minimal distractions.
  • Have Fun! Make training sessions enjoyable for both of you.

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down? – How to Lure Your Dog?

The easiest and best way to train your dog is to lure them. This means using a treat or toy as a reward for obeying the command. Use a lure that can get your pup excited. You may move a treat in a circle equal to the ground while holding it to your dog’s nose. Your puppy will go after it and twirl around.

Luring can tell your dog exactly what you want them to do. However, it is vital to fade out the lure as soon as possible. This is because your dog should respond to a hand signal or verbal cue. You can also use a clicker to communicate when your dog has done something right. Here are the steps to lure your dog into laying down

  1. Hold a treat to your puppy’s nose in the sitting position.
  2. Bring the treat between your pup’s front paws and let them follow the treat with their head down.
  3. Move the treat out along the ground and away from your puppy. Your puppy should follow the treat and lay down.
  4. As soon as your puppy reaches the down position, click and praise their behavior. You can now give them the treat as a reward.
  5. After several repetitions, lure your dog with an empty hand. You will now be using a hand signal to draw your dog. You can reward them with a treat from your opposite hand.
  6. Lastly, lure your dog with an empty hand and reward them with a treat from the other hand. This way, you would have taught your dog a hand signal. The signal is lowering your hand towards the ground.
  7. Once your pup starts responding to the hand signal, you can include a verbal cue. Say ‘Down. With time your puppy should respond to the verbal cue alone.

What is the Technique of Shaping?

Shaping refers to teaching things one step at a time. For your dog to lay down, it would mean,

  • You are teaching your dog to look at the ground.
  • You are making them lower their elbows to the ground.
  • And finally, make your dog lie down.

The trick here is to choose a first step that is easy for your dog to follow. Once your pup has mastered that, lure their head down to the ground before you click and praise.

Start by using a lure to make your dog look at the bottom. Next, you can ask for bent elbows and so on. Don’t worry about fading the lure and replacing it with verbal cues.

What is the Technique of Capturing?

Reward your dog anytime they do it on their own. Always be prepared with a toy or a treat to reward your dog.

  • Whenever you see your puppy in the act of lying down, click and praise them.
  • Offer them a reward while they are still in the down position.
  • When you’ve captured enough downs, your puppy will lay down on purpose in front of you.
  • Introduce a hand signal or verbal cue right before they are about to lay down.
  • Your puppy will automatically associate the word or gesture and learn to perform the act when commanded.

Tips for Training Your Dog

Despite the several techniques available, sometimes it can still be difficult to get your dog to lay down on cue. Here are some tips that will help you.

  • Choose to train your puppy when it’s tired. You cannot expect your dog to lie down when it’s bursting with energy willingly.
  • Work on this behavior after a walk or engaging in play.
  • Never force your puppy to lay down.
  • While it may be tempting to show your dog how it’s done by pushing them into position, that is not the right way.
  • This will make your dog resist the pressure or even frighten them
  • Use a lure and teach your dog to crawl under your legs. Make a bridge with your legs or a stool.
  • Take a lure from your dog’s nose to the ground. Then pull the bait below the legs such that your dog has to lie down to get the treat.
  • Reward your pup when it is in the correct position.
  • Reward your pup whenever they are in the down position.
  • Rewards are significant because they emphasize and clarify what your pup has done right.
  • There is something called a push-up problem involved. This is when the puppy lies down for a brief moment and pops up again.
  • If this happens, be prepared with treats to offer when they are still lying down.
  • Never yell or punish your dog, as this will discourage them
  • If your dog doesn’t respond to regular treats, reward them more valuable.

Always remember it is best to have short training sessions once or twice a day. Do not overwork your dog. Have these sessions in different locations, both indoor and outdoor. Always end the sessions positively with treats, toys, or cuddles.

Why Should You Use a Release Word?

Once your dog has learned to lay down on command successfully, you can next introduce the release word. This word should be used to tell your dog it can get up.

Most people use the word ‘ok.’ Pretty much any word would work, provided you use it consistently, Start with small increments of time. Gradually train your dog to lay down for a more extended period and then use the release word.

How to Proof Your Dog’s Behaviour?

If you still haven’t succeeded in teaching your dog to lay down, you can try marking their behavior. The next time your dog naturally lays down, say down and then praise and reward it. Do this every time you find your dog lying down. You will always have to carry treats, though. Alternatively, you can use a clicker to capture behaviors.

When your dog responds quickly to the ‘down’ cue, try to add distractions gradually. You should prove this behavior by training your dog in different locations.

Once your dog masters the act of laying down, you no longer have to give it a treat. Give treats occasionally to reinforce the behavior. Rewarding with praise is always preferable. Remember that your dog loves to please you, and any treats are merely a bonus.

How to Teach a Dog that Cannot Sit?

It is generally easier to teach your dog to lay down if it already knows how to sit. However, it is still possible that they can’t. Dogs such as greyhounds or dogs with shorter legs tend to find sitting uncomfortable.

This is why we recommend different types of approaches to teaching your dog to lay down. With all these methods, your dog will quickly learn to lay down.

  • In case your dog is unable to sit, some adjustments can be made. Make your dog stand on a blanket and hold a treat in your hand with a delicious smell. Use the treat to lure them into laying down. As they lie down, praise them and reward their behavior.
  • If your dog has short legs, sit down with your legs bent up at the knee. Use a treat to direct your dog to crawl under your legs. When their back end touches the floor, praise them adequately and reward them with treats and cuddles. Practice this whole exercise several times before your dog is readily lying down.

Teaching your dog to lie down on cue is good. This should be done as a part of teaching your dog to stay or settle. Try different methods and reward your dog when you get the desired reaction from it.

This way, you can make even a dog that is initially not comfortable laying down lay down. Try to ensure that your dog associates the treats and cuddles with performing the particular action on command. By doing so, your dog will more than willingly lay down. Try making these training sessions as much fun as possible for your dog.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

Know More

Recommended For You