Teaching your puppy to lie down doesn’t have to be a struggle
The key is making it fun for him and rewarding him whenever he tries to do the right thing. It’s usually easier to get your puppy to lie down if he is already in a seated position, like Toro in our video. The idea is that you get a treat that your puppy is very interested in and use it as a lure which he follows until he is lying down.
Hold the treat in your hand and hold it out to your puppy. Make sure you’re not hanging over your puppy as this can be quite intimidating, I usually crouch down so I’m at the right level. Let your puppy sniff or even lick the treat in your hand but don’t let him have it yet. Take your hand with the treat slowly down from your puppy’s nose to his toes, and then directly forwards. When your puppy lies down you can say ‘good’ or give a click with your clicker and let him have the treat in your hand. At this stage you shouldn’t be using a command yet as your puppy hasn’t quite learnt what is expected of him yet.
If you need to, you can break it down into even smaller steps. You can give him a treat when his head follows your hand with the treat in it down to the ground. Then when he’s doing that reliably reward him with a treat when he moves one leg forward, and then two legs forwards, until he’s got the whole sequence right. If your puppy’s rear end pops up as his nose goes down, just get him back into a sit and try again.
Once you can reliably lure him down in one flowing motion, you can start to use the command ‘drop’ and then you can start getting him to drop without food using a hand-signal, holding your hand nice and flat, with your palm down towards the ground. Remember to end your training session while your puppy is still enthusiastic about training, so that you can really build a love of training in him.