Teaching Shih Tzu Down Cue
Down is incredibly useful when you need your Shih Tzu to stop bothering people, stop
jumping on people, or when you just need her to settle down a little and chill out. Down means lie down. Your dog sits, belly on the ground, elbows and paws on the ground, but with his head up to look at you. Or, he can rest his little chin on his paws. Dogs can hold Down longer than Sit because it’s more comfortable and takes more effort to get back up. Sit is for short periods, but a well-trained dog can stay in a Down position throughout an entire family dinner, television program, or visit with friends.
The best way to teach a shih tzu Down is usually the lure-and-reward method. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand or sit in front of your Shih Tzu holding a yummy treat.
- Touch the treat to his nose.
- Move the treat forward and down in a long diagonal line away from your dog, toward the floor. Some dogs sink into a down position to follow the treat. If yours does, say “Down” and reward her with the treat.
If your dog just creeps along after the treat, take the treat away (put it behind your back) and start over. This time, guide the treat down while gently guiding her rear end down, and then her front legs down. If she goes easily into the down position, say “Down” and reward her!
If your Shih Tzu resists going into Down, that’s okay. Keep working on this cue, but also keep a sharp eye out. That active little puppy is bound to lie down eventually. As soon as she does, say “Down” and reward her profusely. Catching this behavior enough times makes her see exactly what you mean when you say “Down.”
Down is harder for younger dogs than for older dogs because they have so much energy and they want to stay up. However, practicing this cue early comes in handy later because Down is the basis for many tricks and lessons you may want to teach your Shih Tzu. A Long Down or Down-Stay (teaching your Shih Tzu to hold the down position for an extended period of time) can also be great when you have company over or you’re having dinner and you need your dog to calm down and behave herself.
Read: Teach Shih Tzu To Stay