view all puppy resources

This behavior is so versatile, easy to start, useful for a lifetime
Down & Stay

Down & Stay

Lie down and stay down is a very useful foundation activity. It becomes the basis for many other activities, from competition skills to a happy nail trim, and much more.

This week, practice your Down and beginning Stay.  You’ll see the very first steps in the video.

Some points to consider:

  • The trainer is not using a cue. She is simply luring the puppy into a down. When he is more enthusiastic and confident about what to do, she will name it. (That comes later.)
  • The trainer is rewarding the puppy while he is still in the down. Puppy needs to learn that getting a treat does not mean his work is finished. This will become important later as we add distractions, distance, and duration.
  • The trainer has introduced a release word (in this case “free!”) to let the puppy know when he can and should get up. It is critical that the puppy understands that he may break his stay when he is released and not for any other reason. If the puppy gets up without being released, she just lures him back down again.

Lure your puppy into a down. For some puppies this will go easier if you start with them standing, and move the treat slowly down and back while they lick and nibble at the treat. If you have trouble luring your puppy into a down, keep trying! It’s not always easy to get the hang of it. If you are still having trouble, let us know here what the difficulty seems to be and we’ll help.

Feed puppy several treats in the down. Deliver the treats, one right after the other, right between his front feet or straight to his mouth. You can gradually slow the rate of treat delivery as you build more success.

Release your puppy from the down. Use a nice, bright tone of voice and say, for example, “free” or “release”. Hopefully, puppy will get up within a few seconds. When he does, praise him to let him know he did the right thing.

REPEAT! Keep your sessions short, doing no more than 3 – 5 reps of this per session. When puppy is luring down easily, staying down even when you slow the treats to one every two/three seconds, and getting up on his own as soon as you release him, you’re ready to move on to next steps.