View Full Version : Training Help with Down

12th February 2009, 04:19 AM
I think I've gone a bit off the rails in training Max. I "thought" he knew the down command and then I realized in class that he is NOT responding to my voice command but to the hand signal - truth be told - we haven't got past the luring stage although I don't need to use food. It's more guiding him down with my finger. I have Dr. Dunbars book but it doesn't seem to cover how to get from that stage to simply giving the voice command. The trainer at puppy class suggested that I use the command - wait a second and then use the hand signal. I've been doing this but it's clear he has no conception of what "down" means. He's smart and eager to please so I know he isn't just being stubborn.

Mindy's agility instructor suggested I wait for him to offer the behaviour and then reward him. In theory that's fine (and it's what I did with sit and stay) but it's not a position he ever assumes on the cold hard floor - he'd much rather be lying on one of the multiple beds or the couch.

So for now - I am giving the command - then luring him down. Any other suggestions to help him understand the voice command? Or even so I can just stay standing and hand signal? Once he is down he will do a really nice stay (we practice this while Mindy gets eyedrops - it's how he learned sit/stay too).

He does know sit/stay/come/give/wait - so it's not like he doesn't respond to voice at all.

That's one thing that Mindy doesn't do any better so it's clear I've never been very good at teaching that particular command.:rolleyes:

Kate H
12th February 2009, 09:57 PM
If Max is responding well to a hand signal, is there any particular reason why you need to use a voice comand instead? I would just go on using both simultaneously - he'll make the connection eventually that both hand and voice commands mean the same thing. Just be glad he goes down - you're obviously doing something right!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

12th February 2009, 10:50 PM
Well it's not exactly a hand signal - it's more luring. If I just give the signal while I am standing straight up he won't do it. I think though - it might just take longer for him to learn this than other things. I was reading that I should slowly stop going all the way down with him - they don't go from luring to doing it from a full stand just like that. That makes sense to me.