Down - She refuses to do it

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Boxer Pal

I am having a recurrent problem with Duffy (a 5 months old smart boxer) regarding the down command. She perfectly understands the sit command and complies with it, among others such as come, walk, etc. From the basic comands the "down" is the one I can not make her do it. No matter what happens, even with one of her biscuits at sight, she simples does not go down. At first she just looked at me. Now she knows the meaning of "down", however, when I say down she simply sits instead of laying down.

Does anyone have any sugestions or past similar experiences? How did you solve it? Thank you for your help.


Completely Boxer Crazy
What if you hold the buscuit down on the floor in front of herand pull it back so she can lie down to reach it. not sure if it's the right way to teach her but it works for ginger


Completely Boxer Crazy
madie did not want to do down at all....take your time try it on carpet madie to this day will not down outside or on a hard floor ..i put her in a sit and take the treat into her chest and down it worked for her bbut it did take time.....

good luck..


Boxer Booster
My dogs learned 'down' fairly easy but my trainer told us at class that instead of moving the treat away from them on the floor (because it tempts them to get up to get it) instead to push it back in front of their paws and if that don't work to closely circle it around their side so they kind of fall watching where it is going. Just a thought. Good luck

Angie K

Boxer Booster
That was the hardest one for my girl. She also would not SIT on anything but Carpet. Can't blame them they slide all over the tile floor. But anyway we used to get her into a sit then Point and touch the floor right infront of her feet. At first she would just look up at us then to the hand. But we would then take her front paws and pull them forward into a laying position. It was then that second she was in a down we would go nuts and treat and praise. It took a little bit but soon it worked and now all you have to do is point to the floor and she goes to a down. Glad to hear you want to stick with it. Soon you'll see results.


Your Friendly Moderator
Also try "upping the ante" in terms of treats. Find something she really, really will work for (cheese, hot dog, etc.) and use that along with the technique of pushing the treat forward so the dog won't get up.

Good luck. Down is a very hard command to teach because it puts the dog in a vulnerable position and they don't like that.

Also, if you've been working on bare floors, try carpet, and visa versa.


Boxer Insane
This is what I did w/ Tyson. Put one knee on the floor, and put the other leg at a right angle (so it looks like a box). Lets say she's on the right side of this leg. Tell her "down" and then put the treat on the left side of your leg so that she has to crawl under to get the treat. As soon as she touches the ground, praise and give her a treat. If she goes under your leg, but doesn't lay down, make the "square" smaller. I first got him used to doing this by just using the verbal command "down" only and luring him under my leg (the reason being I heard it's easier to teach one at a time, and if they can conquer the verbal command, learning the hand gesture is much easier). Then I introduced the hand movement (moved my hand towards the floor). I would tell him "down", move my hand towards the ground, and then lure him through. I had to do this every day for about a week before Tyson would do it consistently. Now I can say "down" or just move my hand and he knows to go down.
Does this make sense?


Boxer Insane
Adam absolutely will not! lay down on hard floors!! He kinda croutches down instead :) don't blame him tho - as i wouldnt wanna lay on the hard floor either. To teach Adam, I put the treat in front of his nose and had his nose follow the treat to the ground.

Maybe try a nice soft rug or carpeting.

best of luck!

Oscar's Home

Boxer Buddy
Maybe try changing the word.

I have heard when a dog dislikes a word like "kennel" or "come" it is a good idea to change the word to something like "den" or "here". Then try to be more positive when teaching the new word. Do not treat until they do the requested behavior and try not to repeat it until they do what you have asked of them. Boxer's can be very stubborn dogs. Don't ever "make" them to do something because they will pair that will the command. Make them think it was their idea to do the action. I try not to touch my dog while training. The praise works much better this way also.


Boxer Insane
When I was trying to teach Monty the 'down' command he just didn't get it or want to get it either..... One day I tried 'Lie Down' then pointed and then touched the carpet and he went down - go figure! I really don't know if it was the change of word/s that did it or whether he just eventually got it, but to this day if I say 'down' nothing happens, but if I say 'lie down' he does it. You could try changing the word - it doesn't have to be 'lie down', it could be anything, for example, drop. I have also found that my two, particularly Monty, respond better to hand signals and gestures rather than words all the time.
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