How to Train a Pug to Lie Down

Easy
2-4 Days
General

Introduction

Pete the Pug is cute, friendly, stubborn, smart, mischievous... did I mention stubborn? His owner has taught him to sit, and he is pretty good at that most of the time. Actually, he is a bit overweight so 'sit' is right up his alley!  But when his owner tries to get him to lie down, Pete is a little resistant. Maybe lying down is not that comfortable for him; his home has hardwood floors. They don't provide good traction and are not super comfortable to lie down on. Or it might just be that Pete the Pug finds it too much effort to lie down unless it’s his idea. Remember the part about being stubborn? Oh yeah, and one more thing about this Pug, Pete, he sheds, a lot! When you have company over you might want to be able to direct Pete to lie down, and not crawl all over your friend wearing her new black dress, on the way to an event. Teaching your stubborn, hairy Pug to lie down does not have to be too difficult, it just requires a little persistence and technique!

Defining Tasks

Teaching your dog to lie down is a useful behavior to keep your pet from jumping up on people or things he is not supposed to. 'Lie down' also keeps your precocious Pug out of trouble or mischief, or maybe just the appearance of mischief, around people who are nervous of your dog-- like your Aunt with her skittish Siamese cat, or your 18 month old nephew who seems to be in his “scared of his own shadow” phase. 

Most owners find that commanding their dog to 'sit' before commanding their dog to 'lie down' or 'down' works best, as your dog is already halfway there once he is in the sitting position. Once your dog has the hang of 'down' you may be able to cut out the intermediate step. 'Lie down' is a useful command in a variety of situations to provide control and safety for your dog, and is generally considered part of the standard set of obedience commands that every dog should know.

Getting Started

Teach your Pug to sit first, it is easier to get him into a 'down' position from a 'sit' position. Use treats to shape, lure, and reinforce the 'lie down' command. Pugs tend to be highly food motivated, so treats are guaranteed to be well received! If you are working with a young dog, you may need to find a quiet place, free from distractions to help your Pug focus on training. Start working in a place with good footing and with a cushioned surface like a mat or blanket for your comfort-loving Pug, to encourage him to lie down on command.

The Guide Down Method

ribbon-method-2
Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Tap to sit
Tap Your Pug's bottom and say “sit”, apply light pressure if required, until your Pug sits.
Step
2
Guide to lie down
While sitting get down to your dog's level on the floor, put a hand on his shoulders and say “down” as you gently sweep his front legs forward with your other hand.
Step
3
Reinforce lie down
Pet your Pug and give him a treat while lying down to reinforce.
Step
4
Make comfortable
Encourage your dog to roll over onto his hip or side in a more relaxed position.
Step
5
Repeat without guidance
Repeat until your dog starts responding to your direction to “sit” and “down” without having pressure applied.
Recommend training method?

The Lure Down Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Lure to sit
Hold a treat over your Pug's head and say “sit”. In order to track the treat, your Pug will move back onto his bottom, to a sitting position. Once sitting, provide the treat. Repeat until well established.
Step
2
Lure down
From the sitting position, move your hand with the treat in it to the ground, so your Pug follows the treat's progress with his nose. Say “down” as your Pug moves down to the ground. Provide the treat. If your Pug puts his bottom in the air and does not lie down when lured, move the treat around to the side so he has to curl his head around and roll onto his side and lie down before providing the treat.
Step
3
Introduce release command
Introduce the word “OK” to release your Pug from the 'down' position. Do not provide a treat until your dog remains lying down until his release word is provided.
Step
4
Increase time
Practice and increase the time required to lie down before being released.
Step
5
Remove treats
Start substituting the treat with praise and affection to reward lie down.
Recommend training method?

The Shape Down Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Wait for 'down'
Stand in front of your dog and wait for as long as it takes for your Pug to lie down on his own. Say “yes” or use a clicker and provide a treat.
Step
2
Repeat and reward
Repeat several times until your treat-loving Pug catches on that if he lies down he gets rewarded.
Step
3
Add verbal command
Start adding the command “down” when your Pug lies down. Continue to click or say “yes” and treat.
Step
4
Practice and increase time
Stop using the clicker or "yes". Say “down” and wait for your Pug to lie down. Continue to provide a treat. Require your dog to stay lying down for longer periods of time before getting a treat. Practice often.
Step
5
Remove treats
Start varying rewards for performing 'down'. Sometimes provide a treat, sometimes provide praise and affection. Gradually reduce the use of food.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 03/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Rollie
Pug
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rollie
Pug
2 Years

i struggle to get him to listen. we are still struggling with potty training, playfully biting people, and chewing on various things in the house.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Crystal, Play biting - Out command and Leave It method. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Listening: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Potty training - Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. You want him to get into the habit of holder his bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever he feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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