Well-Known Member
I'm sure you have all dealt with this because it is such a basic command.
I trained Duncan to lie down by luring him with a treat. Now he goes "Down" if I use the hand signal. I'm trying to get him to respond to the verbal command but he still needs the hand signal. Any tips on transitioning away from the hand signal do just verbal command?


Honored Member
Staff member
Will he down with you standing up and giving the hand signal? If not, start working on that first. At first, reward for lying down when you give the signal completely bent over. Then maybe stand up just a little bit straighter, so your hand is slightly higher(we're talking a few inches here), and work on getting him to lie down here. If he's consistently lying down with the signal this much higher, stand up a little straighter, just like before. Gradually work your way up until you can stand up and give the hand signal. Every time you give the hand signal, say your verbal cue. Practice, practice, practice. When he will down consistently with verbal + hand signal, test him. Tell him to down without the hand signal, just once. Give him a few seconds to let it register, and if he doesn't lie down, try verbal + hand signal again. Eventually he will understand that the verbal cue means the same thing as the hand signal and you will be able to use either/or. Remember just to say the command once when you are trying to get him to down with just the verbal cue, and if he doesn't get it, then verbal + hand signal. You don't want to dilute his understanding of the word by repeating the command to see if he will catch on.

Hope this helps!

Sammie Dunn

Well-Known Member
tx_cowgirl is absolutly right. try with the hand signal and verbal command. Eventually try with just the one signal, if not try with both again. Keep being persistent. It does eventually work. I had that problem with my puppy with Lie Down and Paw. Even Hi5