DOWN Command can be taught On-Leash and Off-Leash. Here we will discuss how to guide your German Shepherd Dog down into the lying position putting him off-leash. The motive is to guide your dog to lie down with his belly touching the floor and front legs stretched out in the front, without keeping him on a leash.
- Step 1: Make the dog sit.
- Step 2: Hold a tidbit (his favorite treat) that he likes – for instance the dog biscuit, an inch away from his nose, and move your hand downwards. Press him between his shoulder blades gently and simultaneously deliver the command “DOWN”.
- Step 3: Encourage him as he is lying down. As soon as he lies down with the belly touching the ground, and forelegs stretched out in the front, praise him lavishly and offer him the treat. Make sure you deliver the command right before you move the treat downwards to offer him.
- Step 4: Delivering the command right before you move the treat downwards to offer him is one of the most important points in the entire process, because it is all about developing in the dog’s mind an association between the command “DOWN” the desired action.
- Step 5: Repeat the cycle several times, and each time he fails to carry on with the action as desired, he would not be getting his treat, which is to let him know that treats are only for making his leader happy.
Remember that expecting him to grab things faster is expecting too much from him. Teaching him to lie down on command requires an incredible amount of repetition and patience. Once he starts responding well to the “DOWM” command you can move on to teaching things that are a little more critical and challenging.
Read out our chapter on teaching your GSD down command on-leash