How to Teach The Long Down

Long Down | Sit on the Dog

Long Down is more than just a down stay like you’d do at the vets office or while you’re having a latte a the cafe.  It’s truly a long down of at least 30 minutes, but you should aim for over an hour, or two.

Why is this exercise helpful?  

This exercise is about impulse control.   About energy.   About calming down, relaxing and giving in to your leadership.

When you begin teaching, your dog doesn’t even need to know the command down.

What you need to teach:

  • A well-fitted collar that your dog cannot back out of. Think Martingale.

  • A 5 or 6 foot leash

  • A comfortable chair & something for you to do for the next 30 minutes to an hour

How to Teach the Dog Long Down | Sit on the Dog

  • Issue the Down command to your dog

  • Drape the leash across the seat of your comfy chair and sit down on the leash. You want to be hands-free.

    • Ensure that the dog has just enough length of leash to be down without any tension on the leash, but if he stands up, there will be downward pressure on the leash

    • I slide my food across the leash

    • Say nothing to your dog regardless of his protest or breaking his command.

    • No toys or bones are permitted in your teaching phase (a couple of weeks) — just don’t let him gnaw the leg of your chair either!

Now, you read a book.  Watch a Movie.  Play a game.  It doesn’t matter what you do except that at no time should you speak to the dog or touch him.  Nor should you get up until your timed exercise is over.

Start with 30 minutes.   Do it 2-3 times a day if possible for a week.  Then begin increasing the duration of time a few minutes a day until you are in excess of an hour.

Then begin progressing your way across the room from your dog.  That is you leave him in a long down at a spot on the floor and you go sit across the room.    Be prepared to get up and put him back if he breaks command — saying nothing to him.

The Hardest Part

Your patience!   Just do the exercises.  And watch your relationship with your dog evolve — and his behavior improve

Use this exercise often in your training & practice with your dog once you have taught it. It’s a great change-up for place.

Dana Brigman