Honored Member
I'm having trouble teaching my sister's bull terrier to lie down. I tried luring her into a down, didn't work, I tried moving the treat towards her side to get her to lie down, didn't work. I'm trying to have her crawl under my leg into a down but I don't know how to go from there or if there is another way to teach it. I think free shaping would take a long time for her to connect the word and the action.
She learned to sit pretty fast but it took a month to teach her to learn to shake a paw. She loves to play and loves food!!! She has other behaviour problems to but I post them later.


Staff member
you might be surprised by the shaping, but you may want to do some free-shaping first (101 things to do with a box, etc), so she learns to offer behaviours. it can take a little time for them to figure out they need to think for themselves, but once they get it, you'll have alot of fun!


Honored Member
I totally agree with both Sara and Mutt - and I have one more suggestion. If you're using a clicker, what about just waiting til the dog is already laying down (she has to at some point), and click/treat (but toss the treat, to 'reset' her). She's gonna wonder what she got clicked and treated for. Let her wonder. Once she goes and starts to lay down again, ask her that second to "down" and click/treat (and again, toss the treat ... assuming she did lay down). Just keep trying to catch her about to lay down, keep your eyes open - it will get her thinking.


Honored Member
I too totally agree with Sara, Mutt and Jackie. Don't give up, some dogs will take longer to learn certain tricks. Ra Kismet learned, sit, stay, stand (the basic puppy tricks) VERY quickly but 'down/drop' took quite a while before he finally 'got it'.

Capturing her 'down' is a really good way, so keep your eyes open, click/treat handy and see what happens. She needs to learn to learn and think. She'll 'get it' just maybe not as quickly as you would like.:)


Honored Member
What I'm worried about capturing and free shaping is that she gets bored very easily and distracted. I thin I used a toy as a reward she will still be engaged but she doesn't find it as rewarding as food.


Well-Known Member
There is probably a time of day or situation where she will lie down of her own accord. This is when you have to be ready. The instant she plops down, click. If she is not clicker trained, then the instant she plops down, toss or drop a good treat between her front paws. Praise. Toss another treat. Praise, toss another treat. Don't worry about a verbal cue at this time, just get her interested in offering you a down.

Golden River of Dreams

Experienced Member
You can also try a shaping lure. If your dog already knows a sit, start there and then lure the dog like a down but give a treat for a slight drop in head and then each time require a little bit more until your dog is all the way down.