We are already at the halfway point in the challenge! I hope everyone has been keeping up and that you are already seeing an improvement in your dachshund’s behaviour. This week we will be learning how to teach your dachshund to lie down. This was the command that actually got me to seek professional help in training Flash. Their stubbornness combined with their long, wiggly bodies can make this command a challenge for some dachshund owners. However, once you learn a few tricks to help you in teaching this command your dachshund will be loving this command!
The down command builds off of last week’s sit command. You are going to start with your dachshund on a leash in heel position (left side of you, by your ankle) and have them sit. Then you are going to tell them “down”. Remember not to use their name when you say this command as it is a stationary command. Only forward motion commands have the name connected with them! As you say the word “down” draw a line with a treat from their nose to their toes. This should encourage your dachshund to lie down. If you dachshund responds by lying down you are immediately going to reward them with praise and a treat. Remember you only have 1.5 seconds to reward them for good behaviour so that they can connect their behaviour to the reward!
So that all sounds fantastic, but what to do if your dachshund does not lie down? You cannot exactly push on their shoulders like you would with another breed of dog because a) you risk potentially damaging their spine and b) they are so stinkin’ long that they can have their bum in the air still! There are two particularly good methods you can use to get their bum on the ground! I trained Flash with the first method I will explain, but either of them works just as well!
The first involves giving you dachshund a gentle nudge to throw them slightly off balance. Give your doxie the “down” command while drawing a line from the nose to their toes. If they do not lie down, do not repeat the command again (remember this teaches them to never obey the first command). What you are going to do is while holding the treat by their front paws with your right hand use your left hand to gently push on their side until they lie down. Remember to immediately reward your dachshund once their elbows and bum hit the floor!
The second method involves making a bridge for your doxie to crawl under. This method might work best for those super stubborn dachshunds out there! First, give the “down” command in heel position, again drawing a line with a treat from their nose to their toes. If they do not obey, you are going to kneel on one knee (think of the classic proposal stance) and use the treat to encourage your dachshund to crawl under your knee. Again, as soon as they have their elbows and bum on the floor you want to reward them. If you have a small doxie you can adjust your leg height as needed to get them in the down position.
Once you have your dachshund lying down you will want to take some precautions to stop them from immediately jumping back up again. This teaches them much need patience for their future commands! With your dachshund in heel position you want to transfer your leash to the right hand while having it lying on the floor by your dachshund. You then want to take your left foot and place it on top of the leash as close as you can get to your doxie without having it provide tension. This is going to help stop them from getting up if they try. Then take your left hand and let it hover over their shoulder blades as an extra precaution. Have them hold the down position for a few seconds at first and then release them with the release word you decided on in Week 1. Flash and I use “Okay!”.
There you have it! The “down” command is fairly short and easy as it builds on much of what we have learned in previous weeks. If you are feeling extra confident you can try combining it with the food refusal we learned in Week 1. Have your dachshund lie down and wait before you release them for their meals. It is an excellent way to get some practice in! As always, do not forget to tag your pictures and videos with the tag #DUTrainingChallenge so we can see all your amazing progress and enter you to win some cool prizes! If you ever have questions or comments do not be afraid to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to help you along the way! Happy training!