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Old 02-27-2013, 07:29 AM
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Question Tips on a good down stay.

Fred is great at sit stays, but really isn't keen on down stays. I don't think he actually likes lying down outside or on hard surfaces.

We use the command lie down, and a hand signal (arm straight in the air, this is for when or if we do working trials).

But he is soooooooooo reluctant. Never get a good full down and he never wants to stay down

Any good tips? Or just keep at it....?
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:48 AM
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I just keep replacing to the correct position. The things that helped the most with Maisy's duration was putting her in a down-stay and then working with one of the other dogs in the room. If she broke, I replaced her. Over and over. And over. Then a big jackpot at the end when I release her.

It's funny how different dogs are different... Squash has the opposite problem - he hates to sit-stay and will try to down.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:11 AM
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Yeah, maybe I've just got lazy.... Might just start over again with him! He has never enjoyed downs though I don't think.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:38 AM
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Perhaps teach it on a mat first so he's more comfortable trying it for longer periods of time?

I just do the down, one step back, reward, two steps back, reward, etc. for most dogs.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julee View Post
Perhaps teach it on a mat first so he's more comfortable trying it for longer periods of time?

I just do the down, one step back, reward, two steps back, reward, etc. for most dogs.
^this. Go back to square one and make doing a down the best thing EVER. If he's reluctant to do so, throwing a party after a successful down isn't a bad thing!

I also think it is important to make sure you don't raise criteria too fast, and you work on duration and distance separately. Also, rewarding him while he's in the down position (not just after you release him) is beneficial. (Not only are you reinforcing his down and not him "breaking" it, you're also helping him understand it is your release word that lets him break the down, not something else exciting like a treat).
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:10 AM
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I was going to say always make sure he's in the correct position you want, don't tolerate him prematurely getting up or not fully lying down,

and practice it on a mat.

I really think that's all you can do. If you never allow/reward a half-assed down-stay, he'll get better at it eventually. And keep the rewards high for a full, enthusiastic down-stay
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:15 AM
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My dogs dislike doing a full down because they don't have a lot of hair on their undersides, so it's something I tend to practice a lot. I don't think there's really any shortcut, you just have to do a lot of downs and reward heavily. (as others have said) I rarely do sits, because they don't tend to have trouble with those.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:16 PM
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Luna is very uncomfortable doing downs on hard surfaces, too. She'll do them (after LOTS of practice!), but because she's so uncomfortable I just choose not to fight her on long down-stays; for us it's absolutely not worth it.

I've trained a few other dogs who needed to have a better down-stay, and one thing that helped was to teach them to lay down rolling onto their hip; a more relaxed position than the straight "sphynx" down. It does seem to be more comfortable, but some dogs don't realize that until you teach them.
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