How to Train a Greyhound to Lie Down

Easy
2-10 Days
General

Introduction

Despite being bred for coursing game and racing, your Greyhound is still pretty fantastic to have in the house. He’s gentle, intelligent and affectionate. Yours may be a puppy, so his racing days are still in the future. However, for him to be an effective hunter or sprinter, he needs to be well-trained and that means starting with the basics, such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’. But currently you are struggling to get him follow any of your instructions, so it’s time proper training was introduced. 

Training him to lie ‘down’ will prove invaluable. It is precisely the sort of command you may need when out hunting. However, even at home, it will come in handy. For example, the ‘stay’ and ‘roll over’ commands start with going ‘down’ first. So, it will help instill discipline and start the training for a number of other instructions too.

Defining Tasks

This is one of the first and easiest commands you can teach your Greyhound. Plus, because they are relatively smart, he should get the hang of it in a matter of days. Training will consist of initially conveying to him what it is you want him to do. Once he understands the ‘down’ command, you simply need to reinforce training with the right tasty motivator. 

This type of obedience training can take just a day or two if your Greyhound is a receptive puppy. However, if he is older and stubborn, then you may need a while longer. It could be 10 days before you see consistent results. Having said that, don’t be put off by a few days of training. It will be more than worth it when he responds and is on the path to being a well-trained and responsive Greyhound.

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you will need to collect a few bits. Stock up on some tasty treats. Alternatively, break his favorite food into small chunks. You will also need a favorite toy, such as a tennis ball, plus you will require a clicker.

Set aside just 5 to 10 minutes each day for training. Choose a time where you both won’t be distracted and practice in a room where valuables aren’t at risk of getting broken.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!

The Tasty Treat Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Setting up
Hold out a treat to capture his attention and then lure him into a quiet room. Stay relatively calm as you go, you don’t want to get him too worked up. Now stand above him holding the treat close to his nose.
Step
2
‘Down’
Give the instruction in a clear, but up-beat voice. Greyhounds learn best when they think they are playing a big game. You can use any word or phrase you like for the command.
Step
3
Guide him
As you give the instruction, slowly lower your hand to the ground. The idea is for his nose to slowly follow you. This should naturally encourage him to lie down. If not, you may want to use your other hand to gently push his bottom down.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as he is lying down, hand over a tasty treat. You can also give him some verbal praise. Don’t worry if he doesn’t stay lying down for very long. At the beginning you want to encourage any promising signs that he’s getting the hang of it.
Step
5
Lose the treats
Practice this for a few minutes every day. The more consistently you train, the sooner you will see results. Once he is into the swing of it, you can slowly lose the treats. By this point, the verbal command alone should be enough.
Recommend training method?

The Sit & Down Method

Effective
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Step
1
Toy time
Spend a few minutes playing with a specific toy. It could be a tennis ball, frisbee or stick, for example. Play fetch and tug of war. Be animated and try to get him as worked up as possible. You want him willing to do anything for this toy.
Step
2
‘Sit’
Take him into a quiet room and kneel in front of him. Hold out his favorite toy and instruct him to ‘sit’. It will feel much more natural to go into a ‘down’ position if he is already sitting.
Step
3
‘Down’
Once he is sitting, you can then clearly give a ‘down’ command. While you can use any word or phrase you like, it must be given in a playful voice. Also, make sure it is not being used in conjunction with any other commands.
Step
4
Guide him
Now use your treat hand to slowly guide him to the floor. A useful tip is to train with his back right up to a wall. This will make it even more natural to lie down as he follows the treat.
Step
5
Reward & practice
Once he is lying down, hand over the toy and play with him for a minute. Really make this play time fun and interactive for him. This will make him want to play again. Practice this each day until he fully gets the hang of it.
Recommend training method?

The Clicker Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Clicker friendly
Start using a clicker to communicate with your Greyhound. Click and treat whenever he performs a command or behaves correctly. Clickers are an effective way to signal to him when he is doing a good job. It could well speed up the training process.
Step
2
‘Sit’
Instruct him to sit in front of you. You can hold out a treat to hold his attention. Holding eye contact will also encourage him to concentrate.
Step
3
Lead him
Now hold the treat under his nose and slowly move it towards the ground. This should naturally encourage him into the down position. If he tries to stand his back legs up, gently push them down with your spare hand.
Step
4
Click & reward
As soon as he is lying down, click to let him know he has done a good job. You can then give him his reward. However, give him the reward from the floor when he is still in the lying position.
Step
5
Cut out the treats
You need to practice this several times each day. With the assistance of the clicker, he should soon get the hang of it. At which point, you can slowly phase out the treats and just rely on the verbal command and clicker going forward.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Ella
Greyhound
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ella
Greyhound
3 Years

I can’t get her to go down and I don’t want to hurt her by pushing to hard on her back. What can I do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
110 Dog owners recommended

Hello John, There are two basic ways to get a dog to lay down when treat luring and similar methods fail. First, attach her to a leash and keep the leash short enough that she has to stand within a foot of where you are and things around her are very boring. Keep treats in your pocket out of view while you do this. Now, simply wait. The first time it might take up to thirty-minutes to lay down, so read a book and prepare for this to take awhile at first. After a while of standing and not being able to do anything interesting, most dogs will eventually lay down. As soon as she does so, very calmly reach down and drop several treats between her front paws. She may pop up when you do this, that is okay if she does not know the down command yet. Practice this often. When she starts to lay down more quickly when you stand still with her on a leash, then when you stop, tell her to "Down", and because she is used to laying down when you stop, she should eventually do it on her own. If you practice telling her "Down" and then rewarding her when she does so, she should learn the "Down" command. If you are sure that she already knows the "Down" command well but is simply refusing to obey it, then attach a leash to her regular collar. Tell her "Down" and then slip the leash underneath your foot so that your foot is pulling her to the ground with the leash. Pull the leash downward until her head lowers to the ground a bit and she looks uncomfortable. Keep it there. Do not force her to the ground. You are simply making the standing position uncomfortable for her so that she will get tired and decide to lay down on her own. This method is a bit more disciplinarian, and assumes that she already understands what she is supposed to be doing but is simply choosing to disobey. When she lays down, even though it took some coercion, give her a treat between her paws and give slack in the leash again. Essentially, you want her to learn that disobedience equals discomfort until she obeys, and obedience equals the discomfort stopping and a reward being given. When she will consistently lay down without the treat or leash pressure, then you can practice her command without either most of the time and only use those two things when she is practicing it in a harder location or needs a reminder. You are correct not to push her to the ground. That is never the best option for enforcing a "Down". It is less effective at helping the dog learn because the dog does not choose to do the action herself, and it can be dangerous if the dog locks up her joints. The second leash method above will involve a bit of discipline but it still gives the dog a choice and does not physically harm the dog. The first week that you practice "Down" this way, she might take fifteen or more minutes to lay down, even with the discomfort. She should get faster as she learns that you are consistent with enforcing it. Be patient and simply wait for her to make the choice to lay down. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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