Dog Manual

Lesson Four - Lying Down


The Sign—Right hand raised above dog's head.

At the command DOWN, the dog should drop to the ground close to the guide's left side, and remain there until given the order to move.

This lesson will evoke more varied reactions than any of the other exercises and, according to temperament, .some dogs will respond more quickly to it than others. Care must be taken lest timid or nervous dogs be frightened by too much force. When the lesson is practised on the leash, be sure that the leash is not dropped.

Holding the leash in the left hand, and with the right hand free, walk along with the dog. Stop, issue the command DOWN, and at the same time raise the right hand over the dog's head. Pull him to the ground with the left hand as close as possible to the collar, and hold him so he cannot move. When bringing him down to the ground the left hand should pull on the leash, right up at the collar, from the side nearest to the guide, thus insuring a firmer grip. Keep the right hand raised over the dog's head and avoid touching him with either hand.

Right hand over the dog's head; left hand near the collar; left arm quite stiff.

Command: "DOWN!" Guide bends down and brings dog down close to left side.

Guide straightens up, having right hand ready for the sign and command if the dog moves.

In keeping the dog on the ground it will be found of assistance to step on the leash with the left foot, close to the collar. Hold it there. Every move the dog makes should be interrupted by the command DOWN and by the upraised hand. The dog should maintain this position until another command is issued.

Throughout this procedure the guide must not change the position of his feet; he should in fact remain just where he stops, close beside the dog, without turning sidewise and without stepping in front of the dog. Then, from the stooping position, the guide should straighten up and, with the leash held in his left hand, be ready to start out again on the walk.

Bringing the dog to the DOWN position should be a quick performance. If it is executed too slowly, the peppy dog especially, left alone as his guide walks away, will be very likely to rise and follow. If, on the other hand, he is brought down in quick, business-like manner, he is more apt to remain in that position for a long time. At any rate, constant repetition is required to perfect a dog in this lesson.

Commands should not be shouted, neither should they be given in too low a voice. It will not be necessary for the guide to stoop over and pull the dog to the ground once he has really mastered the exercise.   He will then react to the command and the lifted hand.

The DOWN is the only exercise unaccompanied by hand petting.  This is because petting will tempt the dog   to get up on his feet instead of remaining on the ground. A little praise is advisable but remember to keep your hands off the dog when he takes the lying down position. Practise this lesson daily, for about two weeks, with the same care and persistence recommended for preceding lessons, because HEEL, SIT and DOWN arc the foundation for the entire future training in obedience. Any faulty performances in lessons to follow will trace directly to careless or superficial handling of the foregoing obedience exercises. If you would have a well trained dog, you must build upon a firm foundation, wherefore continual practise of this and of the foregoing lessons is necessary even though such practise may seem to grow tiresome.

Touching the  dog, not giving the sign, moving the feet, thus changing the guide's position.

Left hand at the wrong side.  Right hand invisible to the dog. Guide changed the position of his feet.

Daily practise of all of these lessons, for about four weeks will bring truly amazing results. Do not, however, extend the exercise time beyond this period because over-work will have a deleterious influence upon the pupil's spirit. The work can be made more interesting perhaps by frequent change of territory, by practicing in the presence of other dogs. But do not neglect to use the commands whenever and wherever possible.

Above all, endeavor to prevent the dog from becoming too mechanical in action by occasionally changing the general routine. That is, refrain from following the SIT exercise invariably with the DOWN exercise. And do not forget that both SIT and DOWN should be practised with the dog on one's left, never in front, this being of particular importance in case the dog under training is to
enter bench show competition.