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Chocolate Havanese

Lie Down

Havanese are very intelligent and you can teach him whatever manners are important to you, so you end up with the dog that you have been dreaming of. All dogs benefit from general house manners, so do take the time to teach at least the basics.

There are many different ways to teach the DOWN command. There is neither one right way nor one wrong way. All of them work. Some work better than others for different dogs. Here are two methods of teaching down. Some families use the word "down" to mean stop jumping up or get off the furniture. If this is the case, then you should choose a different command for lay down. It just isn't fair to confuse the dog by having one word mean two different things. Other choices of command are "lie", "couche", "platz" or "flat". It does not matter which word you use, provided you are consistent and the whole family uses the same command.

Once the puppy understands the "down" command, make sure that you vary the starting position. Your goal is to get the puppy to lie down from any position. You should try to get your puppy to "down" from both a stand and a sitting position and you should also get him to lie down beside you as well as in front of you. Don't forget to praise for a job well done. The lure and bridge methods outlined below are simply learning tools. Once the dog knows the exercise better, you will be eliminating the lure and treat; praise will be his only reward.

Lure method

This is probably the most classic of methods. Start with the puppy in a Sit position either beside you or in front of you. To get the puppy to lie down, take a small treat directly to the dogs' nose and smoothly bring it down to the floor between the puppy's front paws as you say "DOWN". The head will follow the food to the ground. Once the head goes down, the body may follow and the puppy will slide into a down position. If it is not quite all the way down, then you can try moving the treat just slightly forward slowly along the floor a few inches. If the puppy lies down, then you may praise the puppy "good dog" and reward it with the treat.
For a number of dogs, this method can work, however for many more of them; it only serves to get the head to the ground while the rear remains wagging happily in the air. It's a really cute bowing position but not quite there for a down. For some puppies, teaching the "down" command can be very difficult.

Bridge method

One of the easiest ways I have found to teach down is to sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and slightly bent at the knee. Take a small treat in your hand and pass your hand under your knees to the side where the puppy is on. When your puppy is interested in the treat, move your hand back and lure your puppy under your knees. As the puppy tries to get the treat, he will drop his head and wiggle under your knees. As he follows the food, he will usually lie down. If he doesn't, your knees may be too high or a bit more help may be needed. When the entire head up to the collar has popped out the other side; if the puppy is not lying down, very gently lower the outside knee so that it just touches the puppies' rump. This is often enough to get them into a down position. As you drop your knee, say "DOWN". As you practice, you will no longer need the knee drop and you can use just one leg instead of two. Another way to practice the down is to do it under the rail of a kitchen chair. It will work the same way. As the puppy follows the treat, the chair rail will just touch his rear and encourage him to lie down.