How to Train Your Dog to Get Down

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Sure, it probably seemed kind of cute when your little puppy first started jumping up your leg. But now that the "little" guy weighs in at a cool 100lbs and stands almost 3 feet tall on all fours, it's not quite so cute. Yet no matter how much you yell at him, he still jumps on everyone, climbs on the couch, and tries to steal your bed. The simple answer to your problem lies in teaching your dog to "get down" when you tell him to.

Most dogs love jumping up-- it helps them to get closer to our faces, where they like to be. Most of us don't really like having the dog jumping up on us all the time, it might be okay every once in a while, but even then, only when asked. What if you could you teach your pup to keep all four paws on the ground where they belong? There is a way; it's called teaching your pup the 'off' or 'down' command. 

Defining Tasks

This a relatively simple command by nature-- you want your dog to stay down on the floor where he belongs, not keep jumping up on people or climbing on the furniture. Be careful in your choice of command words. Since you want him to get down, it can be very tempting to use the "down" command. But if you are already using "down" to make your pup lay down, trying to use the same command for another action like getting off of you or the couch might cause a lot of confusion.

You may want to consider using another word such as "off" or perhaps a combination phrase like "get down", just choose one and stick with it. You will be using the same command when he is jumping up on your leg, laying on the couch, or trying to kick you out of bed. 

Getting Started

While training your pup to get down or stop jumping, there isn't very much needed in the way of supplies. However, you will need the following:

  • Your dog: Can't train him if he is absent!
  • Treats: The best training tool going.
  • Several quiet periods during the day: The best time to train your pup is when there aren't any distractions.
  • Patience: The most important tool in your toolbox, your dog won't learn anything if you spend all of the time being frustrated

If you prefer not to give your dog too many treats and have been using a clicker as part of your training program, you can use it here in place of the treats. 

The Straightforward Method

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Step
1
Wait
Wait until your dog jumps up on the furniture or your leg.
Step
2
Command
Give the "Off" command. As you do, show him a treat.
Step
3
Reward
When all four of his paws are on the ground, be sure to give him the treat and lots of praise.
Step
4
No punishment
At no point in time should you chastise or punish your dog, all this will do is compound the problem, not make your dog do as you ask.
Step
5
Keep up the good work
Every time you see your dog getting on the furniture or jumping up on your leg, use the "off" command and use a treat to lure him down to the floor. Be sure to give him the treat every time he gets it right.
Recommend training method?

The Down for Treats Method

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Step
1
Catch your pup
The next time you catch your pup on the bed or couch, grab a dog treat.
Step
2
In your hand
With the treat curled up in your hand, hold it in front of his nose and let him sniff it.
Step
3
Move the treat
Take the treat and gradually lower it to the floor with your dog watching, giving your "Off" command.
Step
4
He gets down
Your pup should follow the treat down to the floor. When all four of his paws are on the ground, give him the treat.
Step
5
It takes time
You will need to repeat these steps every time you find your pup on the couch or the bed. You can also use this method to help you get your dog to stop jumping on your leg.
Recommend training method?

The Treat Toss Method

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Step
1
Spot your pup
Wait until the next time you see your pup on the bed or couch.
Step
2
Approach
Walk up to your pup with one of his favorite puppy treats in your hands.
Step
3
Toss the treat
Toss the treat on the floor in front of your pup while he is watching and give the "Off" command.
Step
4
He jumps down
When your pup jumps down off the couch/bed, tell him he is a good boy and give him the treat.
Step
5
Rinse and repeat
You should be prepared to do this every time you catch your pup on the bed or couch. You can also use the treat toss method to stop him from jumping on people's legs.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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