How to Train Your Dog to Lie on His Side

Easy
2-3 Months
Fun

Introduction

You already know that your pup is the coolest in the neighborhood, right? Now, wouldn't you like to teach him a trick that lets everyone else know it too? Training your pup to lie on his side on command can be a lot of fun, especially if you train him using a fun command word like "Bang" or "Drop Dead." Like any other type of trick, teaching your dog to follow this command can take a while and requires plenty of patience.

But, provided you are willing to keep up the training, it won't take long for your pup to understand that when you call his name and give him the command, his job is to drop and lay quietly on his side. More importantly, he must remain in place and "play dead" until he is released. This trick can also come in handy when you need to groom your dog or at the vet's office. 

Defining Tasks

So, what you are trying to do is teach your dog to react to a command by immediately dropping to the ground and lying on his side. In reality, this shouldn't be too hard as it is an extension of the 'down' command your pup should already know before starting to teach him this trick. The big difference is that you will now be using the command "bang" or one of your choice, instead of the standard 'down' command that will make him lay down on his belly.

Like most forms of training, the more you work on this trick, the better your dog will become at it. More importantly, the more fun the two of you can have showing off his new skill as you amaze your family, friends, and neighbors. 

Getting Started

Before starting to teach your pup tricks like lie on your side, he needs to have mastered the basic commands of 'sit', 'stay', 'down', and 'come'. Beyond this, you may need a few supplies depending on the method of training you plan to use. Among these are:

  • Treats
  • Leash
  • Patience
  • Time
  • Quiet

While training your pup to perform tricks like this might seem to be just good fun, it does serve another purpose. It helps him to bond with you and at the same time reinforces who is in control. Be sure to take your time and be patient. This is only one of many fun and useful tricks you can teach your pup. 

The Belly Down Method

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Step
1
On your belly
Start with your dog in the down position on his belly using the normal 'down' command.
Step
2
Place a treat
Take a treat in your hand and place it beside his nose. This should cause him to turn to that side. When he does, give him the treat.
Step
3
Repeat the process
Keep repeating this process, moving the treat further back and forcing your pup to turn his head further each time. Always reward him with the treat.
Step
4
Over you go
There will come a point where the only way you pup can reach the treat is to roll over on his side. When he does this, be sure to praise him and give him the treat.
Step
5
Keep him on his side
Using treats laid out along his side on the floor, keep him on his side for a few seconds at first, extending the time over the course of several days.
Step
6
Bang!
Once he rolls over on his side easily, introduce your 'bang' command and point at him by making your hand into a "gun." Each time he gets it right, be sure to praise him and give him the treat. The rest is all about practice. The only thing left is to extend how long he must remain on his side before he gets the treat.
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The Relaxed Method

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Step
1
Take a walk
The first step in this method of training is to put your dog in a calm frame of mind. To do this, take your pup for a nice long walk (30 to 45 minutes). Once he has relaxed, find a quiet place in the house to work in.
Step
2
Sit down
Give your pup the 'sit' command and then use a treat to lure him into the 'down' position. Using your hands, gently roll him over on his side while giving him your chosen hand signal and command such as "Bang" or "Roll Over." Be prepared to work on this for several days as it can take time for your pup to connect the command with the desired action. Be sure to reward and praise him each time.
Step
3
Be patient
This part of the training is going to take some time and effort, so be patient and keep working with him. The idea is to reach the point at which your pup will assume the position using the verbal and physical cues without the need for a treat.
Step
4
Roll over Rover
Keep working with your pup, encouraging him to roll over on his own. As soon as he starts to roll over on his own, be sure to reward him with treats and praise.
Step
5
Rinse and repeat
Practice this for 10 minutes at a time at least once a day. Be sure to continue using praise and treats as rewards when he gets it right. Start increasing the distance between you and your dog until you can look at him from across the room and give the verbal or physical cue, whereupon he will immediately drop and assume the position.
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The Obvious Method

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Step
1
Watch your pup
At some point in time, your dog is going to lie on his side as a matter of habit. Your job is to catch him when he does.
Step
2
Add in the command
When you see your dog lying on his side, give him your chosen command word, this will help him to associate the command word with the action of laying on his side.
Step
3
Treats time
When he lies on his side, be sure to give him plenty of treats.
Step
4
Put the training to the test
This time, when he is standing, give him the verbal command to see if he will do as he has been trained to do.
Step
5
Reinforce the skill
The rest is all about practice, practice, practice. Before long, the two of you will be entertaining anyone who wants to watch.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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