5 Methods to teach your Golden Retriever to lay down


Training your Golden Retriever to learn the down command can be a struggle at first. However, teaching your Golden Retriever to do it has many benefits and there are a number of ways to make it much easier.

This post will feature 5 methods to teach your Golden Retriever the down command. 

The first method will involve luring it into the down position using a treat.

The second method will involve luring it down in a small number of stages.

The third method will be to lure it down in even smaller stages.

The fourth method will be to wait for your Golden Retriever to go down naturally and then to go down from there. 

The final method will involve luring it into the down position by luring it to crawl under an object and then to build up from there.

Method 1: lure it down using a treat

This is one of the most common methods used by trainers and it is one of the first ones that you should try. 

If you just want to see how it is done then watch the video below.

To do this method do as follows:

Things to consider

  1. Get a treat that your Golden Retriever likes and get your Golden Retriever in front of you.
  2. Stand or kneel in front of your Golden Retriever that is either standing or sitting.
  3. Say “down” and then lure it into the down position by luring the treat below its head towards the floor. You should find that your Golden Retriever will go into the down position naturally.
  4. If it goes into the down position reward it with a treat. If it doesn’t try it again but this time lure the treat down and a bit further away so that it needs to stretch its head.
  5. Repeat the above steps until your Golden Retriever naturally goes into the down position as soon as you start to lower the treat.
  6. Now you’ll begin to teach your Golden Retriever to go down without needing to lower the treat. To do this say “down” then begin to lower the treat less and less until you just need to show it the treat. 
  7. Once it goes down as soon as it sees the treat start getting it to go without showing it the treat. To do this say “down” then wait for it to go down. You might need to show it the treat after a few seconds on the first few attempts.  

If you want to watch how this is done then watch the video below.


Method 2: lure it part of the way down first

You might find that your Golden Retriever won’t go all of the way into the down position straight away when you lure it with the treat. 

If that is the case, then you can try teaching it in stages instead. 

To do this do as follows:

  1. Get your Golden Retriever in front of you and have some treats.
  2. Say down and lure it into the down position like in the first method. However, this time reward it if it goes part of the way into the down position. 
  3. Continue to say “down” and lure your Golden Retriever into the down position. However, each time you do it require your Golden Retriever to go further into the down position.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you can get it to go all of the way into the down position when you lure it with the treat.
  5. Start getting your Golden Retriever to go down without needing to lower the treat. Do this by lowering the treat less and less each time.
  6. Stop lowering the treat and get your Golden Retriever to go down by saying “down” you may need to show it the treat after a while the first few times.

Method 3

If you can’t get your Golden Retriever to go part of the way into the down position then you could try doing it in even smaller steps. 

To do this do as follows:

  1. Get your Golden Retriever in front of you and have some treats that it likes.
  2. Say “down” and then lure it down using the treat. 
  3. Reward your Golden Retriever for making any movement towards the down position. For example, if it just moves its head downwards then that’s ok for now.
  4. Continue to do the above but each time require your Golden Retriever to go down further to get the treat.
  5. Continue to lure it down until you can get it to go into the down position using the treat.
  6. Start getting your Golden Retriever to go into the down position without lowering the treat. Do this by saying “down” and waiting for it to go into the down position. You will likely need to show it the treat on the first few attempts.

Method 4

If the above hasn’t worked for you then you could try getting your Golden Retriever to go down by simply waiting for it to go into the down position. 

To do this go into a room with it and wait for it to go into the down position naturally. When your Golden Retriever goes into the down position naturally reward it with a treat and make a fuss of it and make sure that it stands up again. Then wait for it to lay down and then reward it again. 

Eventually, your Golden Retriever will realize that laying down will get it treats. Once it does go back to method 1 and try again.

Method 5

To do this method you’ll do the same as in method 1 but this time instead of luring it into the down position by lowering the treat you’ll do it by making it crawl under something.

Once you’re able to get your Golden Retriever to go crawl under the chair easily then remove the chair and go back to step 1 of method 1 again. 

Why teach your Golden Retriever the “down” command

There are a number of reasons that you should teach your Golden Retriever the down command and I will mention a number of them below.

You’ll be able to get it to be more responsive to you

By being able to get your Golden Retriever to learn it’s in its best interest to respond to your commands you’ll be able to get it to be more willing to listen to you.

Teaching your Golden Retriever the down command is a good way to start this process. Other good options would be to teach it to sit and to come on command.

Helps to teach it more difficult things

By teaching your Golden Retriever the down command it will make it easier to teach it to do other things.

This is because getting your Golden Retriever to go in the down position can be used as a part of teaching it what to do.

For example, when teaching your Golden Retriever to stay you could get it to go down at first when getting it to do so.

Get it to behave more easily

By being able to get your Golden Retriever to go down when you tell it to it will make getting it to behave easier.

This is because, when your Golden Retriever starts misbehaving, you can tell it to go down and then you’ll be able to control it more easily.

It uses its energy

The act of teaching your Golden Retriever commands is beneficial in and of itself. This is because it will use up some of its mental energy and it helps to keep it happy since it was bred to work with us.

Things to consider

When you’re teaching your Golden Retriever the “down” command there are some things to consider that will make it a much easier process.

Avoid physical measures

when you’re teaching your Golden Retriever to go down it might be tempting to push it down with your hand. But, it’s recommended that you avoid doing this since it doesn’t teach it to think about what it’s doing and it can make your Golden Retriever less responsive to you.

Be patient

It can be quite difficult to teach your Golden Retriever commands at first.

With that being the case, it’s important to take a long-term approach to teaching your Golden Retriever.

If you can’t get your Golden Retriever to learn the command on the first attempt then that’s ok just try again the next day.

Be consistent

Once you do teach your Golden Retriever the down command make sure to continue to get it to go down when you tell it to. If you stop doing it then it will likely forget to do it after some time.

Age

It’s also important to consider the age of your Golden Retriever. If it’s still young then it will likely be more energetic but you can use that to your advantage by getting it to keep its focus on you by being interesting.

Give it exercise

Since Golden Retrievers can require a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated giving some to your Golden Retriever before training it will be helpful. The reason for this is that, by doing so, you’ll be able to get it to keep its focus on you more easily.

Start in easy environments

The number of distractions that there are around your Golden Retriever can have a big impact on how easy it is to keep your Golden Retriever’s focus on you. It would make things easier to teach it the down command inside before teaching it outside.

Teaching your Golden Retriever to do the command in multiple locations will also help to get it to do it when you are in new locations.

Points would be deducted at dog shows if it goes into the sit position first

Something that you might want to consider that at dog shows it’s expected that your Golden Retriever will go straight into the down position without doing a half sit position first. If you intend to train it for a dog show then make sure to train it to go straight into a down position from standing.

Related

Why won’t my Golden Retriever go down outside? If you can’t get your Golden Retriever to do the command when it’s outside then it’s likely to be due to the distractions that there are around it. Make sure to teach your Golden Retriever the command inside first and then teach it to do it again outside by starting from the beginning.

If you would like learn everything that you need to know about how to have a happy, healthy and well-behaved Golden Retriever, take a look at this Golden Retriever ebook.

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