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You needn’t train your canine to lie down — however you have to get ‘sit’ proper

A reader writes this week to ask Ben methods to persuade her canine to lie down on command — however is it actually one thing she wants to show?

In recent times, it has grow to be modern—notably at pet-training courses—to show canines a ‘lie down’, ‘down’ or ‘down, keep’ command.

If the ‘lie down’ command works for you, that is nice. But when not? I would not fear an excessive amount of, as a result of the ‘sit’ command is normally sufficient.

I do not truly train the ‘lie down’ command to my canines. I really feel that if we ask a canine to take a seat, it’s going to act the identical manner that we people do: if we determine to take a seat in a chair once we get comfortable or drained, we’ll usually stoop or chill out, with our toes up on our couch. So a canine requested to take a seat for some time will most likely find yourself mendacity down anyway. ‘Lie down’ as a command may be helpful in sure particular situations (we’ll speak about these later), however for many homeowners it appears a bit of superfluous to me — an additional factor in your canine to recollect that you could be not even want to show.

I get so many purchasers coming to me who say: ‘My coach says that I ought to by no means use my canine’s identify.’ Which appears plain daft to me — you do not want: ‘Bertie, come’, ‘Bertie, sit’, ‘Bertie, keep’ or ‘Bertie, down’, and many others. All you want is to say: ‘Bertie’, then blow just a few pips on an Acme whistle. And, as well as, ‘sit’ ought to imply ‘sit and keep’ in all conditions. There’s completely no must overcomplicate issues and attempt to train too many instructions.

That is precisely the dilemma being confronted by MR from Devon, who has written to us by way of our electronic mail tackle to ask whether or not or not she wants to show her younger pup the ‘down’ command:

Pricey Ben, I’ve lately acquired a miniature poodle x Jack Russell terrier pet and have been advised — at our weekly obedience class — that I want to show him the ‘down’ command, in order that he’ll lie down every time I ask him to or once we are ready to cross a busy highway. Nonetheless, I’m not certain that I actually need to do that and I’m involved that so many alternative instructions would possibly confuse him. What do you assume?

My canines perceive that after I say ‘in’ and level to their mattress or crate, they know it is their place to chill out and sleep. Therefore, I by no means must say ‘down!’ or ‘keep!’.

As well as, if and after I ask my canine ​​to take a seat in a distinct space for a period of time — if I am doing a chore within the kitchen, hallway or backyard, for instance, or I am out on a stroll and cease to talk to somebody—they know they should keep precisely the place they’re till I give them one other command.

The additional advantage of that is that, as a result of my canines are very relaxed, affected person they usually belief me implicitly, they’re so comfy with being requested to ‘sit’ that they naturally chill out and chill, like they do of their mattress area space.

I do know some folks would possibly need their gundogs to lie down in some conditions — say in the event that they’re ready by your facet in a pigeon disguise or by a flight pond — however I want to maintain my canines within the sit place in order that they will see to mark birds down.

Nonetheless, I can see, from a pet coaching viewpoint, that this command could possibly be helpful if, for instance, you often take your canine to the espresso store or on the prepare. As beforehand defined, if I requested my canines to take a seat by my facet in any setting, whether or not that be within the city or the countryside, they’d chill out and lie down (of their very own accord) very quickly. But when your canine isn’t as relaxed as mine could be, I can perceive the advantages of with the ability to say ‘down’ within the espresso store. Nonetheless keep in mind that down isn’t a magic phrase — particularly in case your sit is not good.

So, in case you are sad together with your canine’s ‘sit’ and he’s continually fidgeting and transferring, then normally your ‘down’ shall be equally unsteady. Due to this fact, you may must focus in your canine’s sit, being certain to steadily construct up the period that they are going to stay patiently nonetheless and quiet in ever extra distraction-filled environments.

I have been perfecting my BG (Beggarbush) basis strategies for almost 20 years and perceive that instructing your canine to ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’ and chill out is extraordinarily vital for each a contented and secure life, each at dwelling and when out strolling. You’ll be able to be taught extra by way of @beggarbush on Instagram and my dog-training app (this hyperlink will allow you to get a free trial) or ask me your individual query by emailing

Ben’s 5 steps to show your canine to take a seat, each time you ask it to:

1. Use your canine’s meal occasions to show the sit

A great time to observe the sit with a younger or an previous canine is round meal occasions. I begin with the meals bowl in a single hand and with the flat palm of my hand dealing with the canine, so I’m standing above the canine and it is wanting up at me. Normally, when the canine sees the meals bowl, it’s going to naturally decrease itself into the seated place. And, as quickly as she or he does this, I say the command ‘sit’.

Subsequent, I take a chunk of kibble from the bowl and reward the canine, then I repeat this course of two to a few occasions. As soon as I’m comfortable the canine is ready and pausing earlier than she or he will get the reward, I transfer on to stage two.

2. In case your canine sits properly, ship it in the direction of the meals bowl

The canine is requested to take a seat as in stage one. The meals bowl is then positioned on the ground, however you’ll have to have good timing if the canine decides to maneuver earlier than you inform it to. As soon as the canine is sitting for a time period in a peaceful and relaxed method, give the ‘okay’ or ‘fetch’ command, as a manner of releasing your canine from the sit place and permitting it to eat its meals from the bowl as a reward for sitting patiently when requested.

3. What if the canine is not going to sit and retains transferring in the direction of the meals?

As quickly because the canine strikes out of the sit place in the direction of the meals, cease the canine by placing one hand on its chest and one hand on its collar, and giving the ‘sit’ command. Then launch your hand and, if the canine strikes, maintain on to it as soon as extra. The canine will quickly begin to notice that, if it strikes, it is not going to get the meals reward.

4. Ask your canine to take a seat and keep when you do one thing else

As soon as the sit and the persistence is beginning to sink in together with your canine, ask her or him to take a seat quietly in an space inside the room when you put together their meals. Place the meals down on the ground within the standard place the place you feed your canine. As soon as the meals is on the ground, proceed clearing up or placing the kettle on and steadily enhance the time period that you simply ask your canine to take a seat and wait earlier than sending it for its meals.

As soon as you’re comfortable that your canine is sitting patiently for its meals, and a great time period has handed, stroll in the direction of your canine and reward him/her with the fetch command (or, in different phrases, go and eat your meals!) .

One of many key issues with this train is that each one the canine’s enjoyment and reward is coming from you, which can assist to construct a stronger bond, belief and higher partnership.

5. Do that train within the backyard, too

As soon as steps 1-4 are absolutely established, use the lighter mornings and nights within the spring and summer season to observe this exterior, so your canine will get used to doing it inside and outside in a number of completely different environments.

In conclusion, the extra affected person your canine turns into, the extra relaxed it is going to be with you in numerous environments and the stronger the belief and bond you’ll create together with your canine. By instilling this coaching, your canine will come to grasp your instructions so nicely that they are not frightened and by no means need to assume: ‘I’ve bought to look at dad always and regulate the door and different folks and canines , and many others, simply in case they pose a risk.’

If I ask my canines to take a seat subsequent to me in a espresso store they usually lie down, they do not really feel the necessity to soar up, pull, bark or lunge when anybody walks by way of the door or comes near our desk, as a result of I ‘ve reassured them by being calm and giving the ‘sit’ command, they know the whole lot is ok they usually can simply change off and chill out.

For extra detailed recommendation about Ben Randall’s constructive, reward-based and confirmed BG coaching strategies, one-to-one coaching periods, residential coaching or five-star dog-boarding at his BGHQ in Herefordshire, phone 01531 670960 or go to www.ledburylodgekennels. For a free seven-day trial of the Gundog app, which prices £24.99 a month or £249.99 a yr, go to

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