Down – Layer 2

Objective: to name the behaviour (add a cue).  From now on, you will only give a food reward when you ask for the behaviour.



  • You will need a chair, and lots of soft, yummy treats.  Your dog’s leash is optional.
  • Read the handout ‘Say the Cue Once’
Step by Step Instructions Comments
If your dog stays with you while practicing, then you do not need the leash.  If your dog wanders away, use the leash to keep your dog with you.  Your dog may not be ready to move onto the second layer.  Spend a few more days practicing the 1st layer.
Have 5 treats ready and warm-up with the 1st layer. Once your dog is ‘in the game’ (reliably offering a DOWN) you are ready to name the behaviour
As your dog is moving into a DOWN, give the verbal cue ‘DOWN’ Focus point is:   Say the cue once
As the dog’s belly and elbows touch the ground, mark the DOWN with a ‘Yes’ (or click)
Toss a treat to reset your dog
Repeat the above steps four more times
Take a short 30 – 60 second break.  Get up from your chair and play with your dog, give some scritches, or do something else that your dog enjoys
Go back to your chair
Repeat the above steps (add the cue) five times
Now say the cue before your dog begins to lie down.  Mark the DOWN with a ‘Yes’ and toss a treat to reset.
Repeat the above steps four more times  
Troubleshooting:  what if my dog doesn’t lie DOWN?
Go back to the 1st layer and continue to build value for lying down.
When to Advance  
When your dog is responding to the cue by lying down
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