How To Teach A Dog To Lie Down (And How You Can Too)

How To Teach A Dog To Lie Down!

Are you the proud parent of a new pet? Or maybe you’re in the process of teaching an old dog a new trick? When I first adopted my two Beagles the first thing on my mind was the excitement of being able to teach them many different tricks!

Learning how to teach a dog to lie down is the first step to building a great bond and friendship between yourself and your new family member. It’s also the perfect foundation for establishing a code of obedience between you and your pet.

When I first started training my dogs, I found that without a guide I couldn’t get them to listen. Trying to get them to lie down without using treats and positive reinforcement was a nightmare, and so I started to do research into what I was doing wrong. Luckily, I found many different websites and informative videos to help me.

There are plenty of online resources that you can use to help teach your dog many different tricks such as YouTube videos, online articles, and even books from the library!

As someone who has had the pleasure of owning pets, this is my guide to tips and tricks for teaching your pet how to lie down.

5 Steps to Train Your Dog to Lie Down

How I Teach A Dog To Lie Down

#1. Put Treats in Your Closed Fist

One of the most interesting facts about dogs is they have an incredible sense of smell. Even if a treat is hidden inside of your fist, they’ll know that it’s in there and they will listen to anything you say if it means they can eat the treat!

By using one of your dog’s favorite treats, they will be more likely to listen to your commands and perform the actions you want them to do.

For example, if you were to tell them to sit while you give them a treat, they would listen better if they were given a reward every time they sat. The same rules apply when it comes to teaching them how to lie down.

The first step is to place one of your dog’s favorite treats in your closed fist so they can smell the treat but not see it. To make sure that they can smell it, put your fist near your dog’s nose.​

#2. Lower the Treat to the Floor

This next step is when you’ll be focusing on how your dog moves when the treat moves. Since you’re trying to have them lie down on the floor, you’ll want to pay special attention to whether they follow your fist as it moves.

​With the treat in your hand, you’re going to want to lower your closed fist to the floor, making sure that your dog’s eyes are following your fist the entire time.

By slowly bringing it to the floor right in front of their paws, naturally, your dog’s body should begin to follow your motion, eventually leading them to be completely horizontal with their hands stretched out in front of them.

​If you find that your pet isn’t following your fist as easily as you hoped, you can open your fist and let them see the treat but then close your fist again, as they can’t have the treat until step 4.

#3. Developing Verbal Commands

You will want to make sure to say “lie down” as your dog continues to bring itself to the floor.

Reinforcing verbal commands is the most important part of their training as it helps to form a connection between a particular verbal command and obtaining a reward, such as a treat.

​By doing this step several times, you will form a relationship in your dog’s mind between a verbal command and a treat. Over time you will be able to command them to lie down without having to give them a treat every time!

#4. Gifting the Treat

Once your dog has lowered himself or herself all the way to the floor, bring the treat in between their two paws and open your hand.

It is very important that you only give them the treat once they are completely horizontal on the floor.

You’ll also want to continue to repeat your chosen verbal command as they take the treat from you.

For example, repeat “Lie down, lie down,” as they take the treat from your palm.

#5. Test the Verbal or Physical Commands

The most important part of this process is to reinforce the behavior through testing and practicing.

If you want your pet to grasp the concept of lying down, it’s important that you continue to practice until it seems like second nature to them.

As mentioned, eventually you will be able to tell them to lie down without having to give them a treat.

Pro Tips


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#1. Don’t Give Up!

It can be difficult to teach your dog new tricks, if it were easy then there wouldn’t be professional pet trainers in the world.

It’s important that you continue to work with your pet to improve their ability to listen to your commands; otherwise, all of your time spent training will be for nothing.

#2. Try Different Treats

If you find that your dog isn’t responding well to the treats you’re using, you can easily visit the pet store and purchase different ones that are more appealing.

Remember, dogs are more likely to respond to stimuli that they’re interested in – much like humans.

#3. Time for Training

You should train your puppy when he starts to get hungry. This will motivate him to get the rewards. That makes the training process easier.

Final Thought​

Whether you want to teach your dog to lie down or if you want to teach them how to give you their paw, the task is simple, especially if you have the patience and resolve to work on a display of positive behavior.

I’d love to hear how your at-home training session went, feel free to comment below and share your story!

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