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6 Tricks For Teaching Lie Down To A Small Dog

| Published on September 14, 2016

When it comes to teaching dogs basic cues such as sit and down, most of us think of them as “easy.” And, for the most part, they are. However, sometimes even these “simple” behaviors can be hard to teach your dog. Small dogs, in particular, are often harder to teach lie down to than bigger dogs.


Why Small Dogs Don’t Like To Lie Down When Asked

Of course, you want to first make sure it’s not because your dog has a medical issue that makes lying down painful. If you suspect this, it’s time for a vet visit. But if your dog lies down on her own, but just won’t when you want her to, it’s more likely a behavioral issue.

Small dogs are already so close to the ground that they often do not want to lie down when asked. Think about how much bigger you are than your little Chihuahua. And now, looming over them, you are trying to get to them to go into an even more vulnerable position.  Has your little dog been stepped on? Chances are, she wants to stay on her feet so she can get out of the way quickly.

This just means you may need to use some tricks to teach her it’s okay to lie down around people.


Tricks To Getting Your Little Dog To Lie Down

Have you tried easing them from a sit and it just won’t work? I’ve worked with some little dogs – a Terrier mix in particular wouldn’t sit or lie down – that were pretty difficult. They helped me find lots of tricks to help get a dog to lie down so you can mark and reward it. Here are some of my tried and true methods:


Trick #1 – Give them height. Try working on down with your dog on the couch and you on the floor or seated next to them. This may make them feel more secure about lying down.

Trick #2 – Try placing them on a comfy pillow or bed your dog usually lies on. This can make them more apt to down, since they are used to it.


Trick #3 – Lure off the edge. If your dog still won’t lie down on the couch or bed, try luring them by pulling the treat over the edge. Your dog’s head is going to follow that treat, which should fold their body into a down.

Trick #4 – Try your lap. Most small dogs are used to lying down on your lap, so this just may do the trick!


Trick #5 – Use your legs to create a tunnel. Place the treat on the other side, so your dog has to get in the down to crawl to get the treat. As soon as they are down, give them the treat before they start crawling.

Trick #6 – As a last resort, try to capture. Your dog has to lie down at some point – so you wait. And wait. And wait. Be ready with your rewards. As soon as she lies down on her own, you praise and reward. This method takes a long time, but if all else fails, this should work.

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