Basic Training: Sit and Lay Down

Another basic and yet absolutely vital lesson your dog needs to master is how to sit and then how to lay down.

For early stages, you need treats as rewards.

To get your dog to sit down, it’s going to be a bit complicated at the beginning, but please do not get frustrated or desperate, this is hard for them and they need you to keep calm.

First thing, you need to get your dog in front of you. Make sure he’s looking at you, with the “Look at me” first exercise. Once he’s done that, raise the treat slightly so your dog has to look up. This will make him a bit uncomfortable and will make him want to sit. It can happen that he doesn’t do it straight away. Do not worry, keep doing it until he does. Give him the reward, even if he only gets halfway to sit, as they need to know we’re happy they are on the right track. Once your dog has sit, repeat 5 times the task, but make sure now that a split second before, you say the word you’ll use it as a command for sitting. Make sure every time you give him the reward, you also pat or caress your dog, as it’s very important he associates obeying you to a positive and loving experience.

Rest for one minute, and then repeat the sitting 5 more times. Rest for another minute, repeat the sitting exercise 5 more times. Make 3 sessions of this for 2 days. Then give up the food as a reward and just give him a caress or play a bit with him.

An advanced version of this exercise is to get your dog doing this from a little bit further.

After these 2 days and six sessions, you’ll be ready. But if not, keep doing the sitting exercise until you can try the following:

Step away from your dog 2 steps and ask him to sit. You’ll be still in a good distance for rewarding, so keep reinforcing the behaviour and add a couple of steps per day, each day three sessions again.

If your dog has already mastered the basic sitting, you can combine the sitting from far with laying down. Please just do them separately, after finishing one session of a kind. 

To get your dog to lay down, firstly ask him to sit. Give him a reward. Now, with another treat, while the dog is still sitting, take the treat very close to his mouth, and  get the treat slowly down to the floor. 

It’s unlikely that your dog, without previous training, will do this in the first try, so make sure you reward him even if he’s halfway through. When doing this, the first times, he’ll try to get up. You need to make sure you give the reward before he gets up. Timing is crucial. Do it for up to 5 times, rest one minute, do another repetition, rest another minute and do one more repetition. At this point your dog may already do the lay-down. Make sure you’re giving him the rewards at the right time and a good caress when he does the task.

Again, do this for 3 sessions two more days and get rid of the food for this exercise.

This one, you can combine with the sit down from a far distance, but obviously the lay down depends on the basic sitting being perfect. 

Now, at this point, your dog will know how to sit and lay down. Keep asking him to do this through the day, even if you don’t really need him to, as this will consolidate this exercise and will help with discipline and obedience. Consistency is key.

Thank you very much for reading, love your love enjoy your life and take care!