Many dog owners consider the “Go lie down command” as their favorite dog obedience command. The “GO lie down” not only tells the dog to assume a reclining position, it tells him to do it elsewhere. When you are talking on the phone, drinking hot coffee, or working out, “Go lie down” is the command you need to send your overly affectionate dog someplace else. Do not feel guilty if you cannot give attention to him every time he asks you to. If he’s just had his walk, he’s eaten well, you’ve exercised him, trained him, played with him, “Go lie down” is a humane, handy answer to your own personal dog problem.
Before You Teach Your Dog The “Go Lie Down Command”…
Before you begin with the exercise, put your dog on leash. Point toward a corner of the room you two are in. Tell him in a pleasant tone, “Go lie down.” Now, run with him to where you were pointing, repeating “Go lie down” followed by “Good boy” with a final “Down” as you pat the floor in the corner of the room.
Now, pat your dog’s head. Go across the room and sit down. If he stays, after a minute or two tell him “Ok, good boy.” You can even pet him when he approaches you. Now repeat the exercise about two more times, varying the minutes that he stays in position.
Practice The “Go Lie Down Command” With Your Dog, Every Day
Each day, try this exercise three times. Work in different rooms so that he will do this no matter where you are. This is preferable to the command “Go to place” or “Go to your bed” because you will want to use this in places where your dog is and his bed isn’t.
What happens if your trained dog lays down on the spot when you say “Go lie down?” Some people would find that funny. They would think that when the dog heard “down”, he ignored the other strange words and just obeyed the command he had already learned. They would think that the training was going so well. But you know better, so you will calmly say, “No-Go lie down”, taking the dog by his collar and transporting him against his will to the far side of the room, the side you pointed to.
If your dog makes this mistake early on, it is a genuine misunderstanding that you can and will correct without taking it personally and with patience. However, if your dog is already doing the “Go lie down” and then when you say it he lies down at your feet, beats his tail on the floor and pastes his ears back, he’s acting. He is using passive assertion to get his way instead of doing your bidding. Don’t be mad. He can’t help it if years of selective breeding made him smart, assertive, and witty. Dogs are built to try to rise to the leadership of their packs.
Some dogs take the obvious, aggressive route to the top. Others are more subtle in their attempts. In either case, it is not a personal affront, nor is it to be accepted. It is part of being a dog owner that you look at your pet, think about his behavior, understand him, love him, and remind him of the limits you have set for him. In fact, the “Go lay down”, aside from being very useful, is another wonderful, nonviolent way to remind your dog that you are the leader of the pack.
Adam’s note: To avoid the obvious confusion in this article regarding the difference between “Down” and “Go lie down,” … I use the phrase, “Go on,” so as to not confuse the dog with the Go Lie Down command.