Originally Posted by Southpaw
I would actually like to teach Juno to CALM DOWN when she's on the mat as well. Because at the moment when she is instructed to lie down anywhere, she's in a ready-to-pounce position and she's very alert to everything. I'd like her to chill out.
How did you teach her down? I teach it by capturing - go to a small, boring room and wait for the dog to get so bored he just wants to go to sleep. When he lays down, click/treat and get him back up to try again. You may not get the pretty "sphinx" down using this method, but IME the dogs are more relaxed in the down.
I also reward dogs for laying down pretty much anytime we're not doing something else. If the dog is just hanging out with me while I'm working on something, and he chooses to lay down and relax, he gets treats. This makes down the default behavior - when he doesn't know what else to do, he'll lay down - which sounds kind of like what you want.