Dog Training And The “Go Lie Down” Command

Many dog owners consider the “Go lie down command” as their favorite dog obedience command. The “GO lie down” not only tells the dog to assume a reclining position, it tells him to do it elsewhere. When you are talking on the phone, drinking hot coffee, or working out, “Go lie down” is the command you need to send your overly affectionate dog someplace else. Do not feel guilty if you cannot give attention to him every time he asks you to. If he’s just had his walk, he’s eaten well, you’ve exercised him, trained him, played with him, “Go lie down” is a humane, handy answer to your own personal dog problem.

Go Lie Down Command

Before You Teach Your Dog The “Go Lie Down Command”…

Before you begin with the exercise, put your dog on leash. Point toward a corner of the room you two are in. Tell him in a pleasant tone, “Go lie down.” Now, run with him to where you were pointing, repeating “Go lie down” followed by “Good boy” with a final “Down” as you pat the floor in the corner of the room.

Now, pat your dog’s head. Go across the room and sit down. If he stays, after a minute or two tell him “Ok, good boy.” You can even pet him when he approaches you. Now repeat the exercise about two more times, varying the minutes that he stays in position.

Practice The “Go Lie Down Command” With Your Dog, Every Day

Each day, try this exercise three times. Work in different rooms so that he will do this no matter where you are. This is preferable to the command “Go to place” or “Go to your bed” because you will want to use this in places where your dog is and his bed isn’t.

What happens if your trained dog lays down on the spot when you say “Go lie down?” Some people would find that funny. They would think that when the dog heard “down”, he ignored the other strange words and just obeyed the command he had already learned. They would think that the training was going so well. But you know better, so you will calmly say, “No-Go lie down”, taking the dog by his collar and transporting him against his will to the far side of the room, the side you pointed to.

If your dog makes this mistake early on, it is a genuine misunderstanding that you can and will correct without taking it personally and with patience. However, if your dog is already doing the “Go lie down” and then when you say it he lies down at your feet, beats his tail on the floor and pastes his ears back, he’s acting. He is using passive assertion to get his way instead of doing your bidding. Don’t be mad. He can’t help it if years of selective breeding made him smart, assertive, and witty. Dogs are built to try to rise to the leadership of their packs.

Some dogs take the obvious, aggressive route to the top. Others are more subtle in their attempts. In either case, it is not a personal affront, nor is it to be accepted. It is part of being a dog owner that you look at your pet, think about his behavior, understand him, love him, and remind him of the limits you have set for him. In fact, the “Go lay down”, aside from being very useful, is another wonderful, nonviolent way to remind your dog that you are the leader of the pack.

Adam’s note: To avoid the obvious confusion in this article regarding the difference between “Down” and “Go lie down,” … I use the phrase, “Go on,” so as to not confuse the dog with the Go Lie Down command.

Why You Absolutely DON’T Want To Give Your Dog “Double-Commands”

Never give a command that you cannot enforce. Another way of saying that is: Always make sure that you have some way to enforce your commands, until your dog is 100% conditioned.

When training new commands–or even enforcing commands that your dog already knows–give the command only once and then make your dog do it. (Just Do It, as Nike says!)

I don’t advise repeating a command over and over again. Even for a puppy. Say it once. Don’t get in the habit of issuing double, triple or quadruple commands.

You need to teach the dog the right way, from the start.

Here is the chain of training: Command – Action/Behavior – Praise – Release.

For example: Say, “Sit,” once (command). Then make the dog sit. (Action/behavior). Then say, “Good dog!” and give her a scratch behind the ears. (Praise). Then say, “Take a break,” or “Free”. (Release). Then do it over again.

The Command to Come When Called

One of the most basic and important commands that you will need to teach your dog is to come when called. No matter what else happens, if you have taught your dog this command you will always be able to maintain control whether at home or in public.

Should your dog ever get off it’s leash or escape from your property you will know that when you call it that it will come back and this certainly makes life a lot easier for the dog owner. For working dogs, this is a vital skill as a handler needs to know that at any time they can get the dog back beside them and ready for their next command.

When you are comfortable that your dog knows the commands of ‘stay’ and ‘come’ you no longer have to be as concerned that it needs to be kept on a leash at all times. This allows both the owner and the dog to have a lot more freedom. Generally, this command of ‘come’ is incorporated when teaching the dog to stay, as these two lessons work hand-in-hand with one another.

The dog is first taught to stay and then the owner will teach the dog to come, while still on an xtended leash. After gaining success in getting the dog to come, while still on a leash, the owner can then teach it to do so without the leash. Obviously for an untrained animal this would be better taught in an enclosed area until the dog has learned to respond to that command.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited. 

Training Your Golden Retriever To Come With A Treat


The come command is one of the most important commands your dog needs to know.

Not only is the come important around the house and yard, but should he be out in front of your house, the come could save him from dashing into the street and getting hit by a car. If you take him out to run, or decide to do field or gun dog work with him, he must have a good, reliable come.

Because the come is so important, you will use two different techniques for teaching this command. The first method will use food treats to teach your Golden that the come is fun and will result in a treat. Take a small plastic container and put some dog food bits in it so that it makes a nice rattling sound. Then, have some treats in hand that you know your dog really likes—something special. Shake the container and ask your dog if he wants a treat, using the word he already knows for treat, such as cookie, biscuit, or bone. Say, “Spot, do you want a cookie?” Then pop a treat into his mouth. This, combined with shaking the container, teaches your dog that the sound of the container equals a treat.

Do this for several days until your dog comes running whenever he hears the container rattling. At that point, you can shake the container and say, “Spot, Cookie! Come!” This builds a relationship between the words cookie and come. After a few days, drop the word cookie altogether, simply shake the container, and say, “Spot, come!” and pop a treat in his mouth.

Practice this command two or three times per training session, several times a day. Don’t do it too many times at once or it will lose its appeal. Some people have reservations about this technique as they are worried that their dog will not come to them when they don’t have a treat.

First of all, you will be using two different techniques to teach your Golden to come for that reason. Later, when your dog is coming reliably every time you call him, you will be able to get rid of the treats, although it is important to use them as long as you need them.

In the meantime, using the treats often will help build a good habit; the habit of returning to you each and every time you call. In addition, this technique, when taught properly, can produce a strong and reliable come. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training bookThis article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Teach Your Golden Retriever To Come With A Long Line


The second method will teach your dog to come when he’s a little farther away from you. It will also help teach your dog to come to you for those times when you don’t have the treat container.

With this technique, you will need a 20 to 30-foot length of cotton clothesline rope. Don’t use nylon that is too rough on your hands. Fasten the rope to your dog’s collar and let him go play. When he is distracted by a bird or his toys, call him by saying, “Spot, come!” If he comes to you right away, praise him enthusiastically. If he does not come directly to you, do NOT call him again. Simply pick up the rope, back away from him, and using the rope, make him come to you.

Now the key to this is to verbally praise him even if you have to drag him in to you. The come has got to be positive; if he thinks he’s going to get into trouble by coming to you, he won’t come at all. So you have to praise him. Let the long line be the bad guy.

After you have praised him, release him and let him go play again. In a few minutes repeat the exercise all over again. Practice this in the back and front yard, even in the house if he continuously plays keep away. Teach your dog that he must come to you the first time you call him, every time you call him.

Don’t allow your Golden any freedom off the leash in an unfenced area until he is well trained, grown up and mentally mature enough to handle the responsibility. Many dog owners let their dogs off leash much too soon and the dog learns that he can run away from them or play keep away. Each time he does this, he learns that he can and there is nothing you can do to change his mind. Therefore, leave him on a leash or on a long lead until he is well-trained and grown up.

For some Golden Retrievers, that might be 2 ½ or 3 years of age. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited. 

How to Teach Your Dog to Drop the Ball on Command

We’re teaching our dog to fetch a ball and then “drop it.” I have several questions:

1. When you first start teaching a dog to drop his ball, how many times does he have to do it successfully before it’s automatic? [Adam replies: It depends on the individual dog. Usually not more than one or two training sessions.]

2. In your experience, how difficult is it for pet owners to teach their dog to drop the ball on command? Very difficult, Somewhat difficult, Not too bad, Fairly easy, Very easy [Adam replies: This is a very easy behavior to teach. Tell your dog, “Drop it,” and then wait for him to drop the ball. As soon as he drops the ball, kick it and let him run after it! Do not bend down and pick it up with your hands.

This will ruin the timing. Your goal is to teach your dog that the faster he drops the ball, the faster he’ll be able to chase it again. If he doesn’t ever drop the ball, then use the pinch collar and tab (he is wearing it, right?) and tell him, “Drop it,” and administer a firm tug on the tab. As soon as he spits it out, tell him, “Free!” and kick the ball.

3. Do you know of any tools/machines or training devices that would make this easier? [Adam replies: Just your brain. Once you get your dog to understand that dropping the ball DOES NOT MEAN “GAME OVER” & your dog will start to eagerly drop the ball in anticipation of another romp.

How to Fix Troubles With the Long Distance Recall

I purchased the 5 tape kit and I am glad I did.

There is one problem: When my dog (beagle-border collie mix) is pretty far from me, like 100 feet or so, I have a difficult time getting him back tome. Would you please advise.

Thanks, Steck

Dear Steck:

Your dog has become leash smart. Remember, your dog has very limited use of logic and reason. She only learns through association. Please review the section in my book about how to use the long line and undo what you’ve inadvertently done. There is asection in the book where I describe how the exact same thing happened tome, with the first dog I ever trained. She associated that I could make her come, as long as she was within a 25 foot distance (the length of my long line) because I would always call and tug on the line, just she hit the 25 foot limit.

I fixed this by buying a35 foot line, and then working with the line at various lengths. (In other words, you’ve gotta mix it up. Remember, you’re playing a mind game with your dog. You want to convince her that ther is no distance that you cannot enforce your command.) One of the best ways to do this is to vary the length of your leash, and also to tie it to a tree, walk her to 30 feet of one side of the tree and call from 30 feet from the other side.

How to Change Your Dog’s Correction Word

To consistently keep my dog aware of his negative behaviors even during his obedience training, I always say, “NO!” without attaching his name to it, and then give him a quick pop (prong collar) to reinforce my morivational correction — all in a timely manner. And it works perfectly all right. He’s now in fact a very obedient dog that any owner can be proud of.

The only thing I’d like to alter is my constanct use of “NO!” I just don’t want to use it anymore as it’s already common in our place. Almost all trainers in our community use the same negative expression on their dogs walking around my dog while in a down position. (I just feel that every time my dog hears the word “NO!”, even if it’s not meant for him and his behavior, he gets confused). Who knows but perhaps my dog in a quandary is beginning to ask himself: “Oh gosh, what have I done wrong this time??” Is it still possible to introduce a new word that I can substitute for “NO!” exclusively to my dog.

I want the word “NO!” to be totally taken out of my dog’s vocabulary. Please advise, sir! How am I to do it properly and slowly? Thanks, Alberto Dear Alberto: Yes, it is posible. But it can take awhile. What you’ll need to do is to re-associate something positive with the word, NO. Start by just whispering the word, NO! and then feeding your dog a piece of hot dog. Gradually, over a period of days, start saying the word louder and more forcefully, and then give the dog a piece of hot dog. Pretty soon, he’ll be happily wagging his tail when he hears the word, NO! Just be sure that YOU keep it consistent and don’t accidentally use the word NO! when you go to correct him.

Verbally Correcting One Dog When You Have Two

“I have two dogs- – a Pit Bull and a Boston Terrier. I have read that you should not use the dog’s name and [the word]”No” together so that the dog does not associate negative feelings with his name. So how do I tell one dog “No,” without both feeling like they are both in trouble? Situation: The Pit Bull is happily playing with her chew toy.

The Boston Terrier is chewing on my sofa. How do I let the sofa chewer know that he is in the wrong (the Boston knows better. I have corrected him using the prong collar in the past and by just saying, “No,” will get him to stop) without making the Pit Bull think that she is in trouble. Adam replies: Eye contact. You don’t need to worry about the other dog’s “feelings.” Just make eye contact with the dog you are going to correct. If the dog is chewing on your couch you should NOT BE GIVING VERBAL CORRECTIONS.

You should be giving leash corrections. Chewing on the couch is a major infraction. We don’t give $2 tickets for chewing on the couch. We give $200 tickets. Otherwise, your correction will have no meaning. (Keep the tab and training collar on the dog.) You shouldn’t be giving exclusively verbal corrections for this behavior. Period. Two, maybe three leash corrections for this behavior and your dog should never do it again.

If he continues doing it, then you know that your corrections aren’t firm enough. Also, you may want to try taking one link out of the pinch collar.It should be a snug fit. I don’t advise pet owners to ever use the dog’s name in conjunction with the word “No.”

How To Teach Your Dog To Come Every Time You Call Him– Summarized Down To One Sentence

First of all, let me just say how much I have enjoyed your book. I cannot believe the difference in the behavior of my two dogs since I started using the pinch collars and your techniques. I accomplished in about 15 minutes what two obedience classes could not – I got both of my dogs walking on loose leads. Amazing. Also, both will do a good down stay around most distractions – we’re working on proofing now.

I have a 19 month old border collie cross and an 11 month old lab cross. Both are females and great dogs. My main problem at this point is having success with the recall command. I guess you could say that I feel I could use more detailed instruction here.

I’ve been working with a 20 foot line in a nearby park as outlined in your book. Things work fairly well when we’re alone (i.e. minimal distractions) but this park is also a fairly popular off-leash area and when other dogs arrive I usually give up and take the line off – otherwise it just becomes a tangled mess. How can I introduce “controlled” distractions and how should I go about getting my dog’s attention? I mean, at this point my dog becomes deaf when she comes across something on the ground that smells good, never mind another dog or person. I just want to be sure that I’m getting my timing right with the command and correction or praise. I’m hoping that you can help me with this -our Canadian exchange rate makes the cost of ordering your video rather prohibitive at this point! Just being honest.

One last thing – both dogs will walk on a loose leash when I walk them individually, but the younger one tends to want to walk ahead when I’ve got them out together. Is there a way to correct this, or do I need to walk them separately for a while longer? I guess that I’ve just asked a second question, so you can ignore this one if you want. I more concerned with the recall anyway.

Thanks so much. Your book has been so helpful and I’ve recommended it to several friends.


Dear Shannon:

First, if you take the long line off the dog, then you’re undoing everything you’ve just attempted to teach your dog. Now you have NO WAY of making the dog come back to you.

Remember& this isn’t rocket science. Training your dog to come back to you reliable can be boiled down to one simple piece of advice: “MAKE the dog come back to you, every time you call him& until he becomes conditioned to do it on his own.”

If you call the dog and cannot make him come& because he is not wearing the long line& THEN WHAT HAVE YOU JUST TAUGHT HIM??? You’ve taught him that he DOES NOT HAVE TO COME!

You are an excellent dog trainer. Whatever you end up teaching your dog (to come or not to come) & YOU have done an excellent job of doing it.

Now& does it matter if there are other dogs in the park, and the line gets tangled? No. (True, it’s a hassle& so you could use a 10′ line instead of a 30 foot line) But none of this should interfere with your ability to MAKE YOUR DOG COME when you call him (UNTIL HE BECOMES CONDITIONED TO COME ON HIS OWN).

If he ignores you when you tug on your leash, then this tells me that you are not tugging firmly enough to get his attention. Make sure that you’re getting slack in your line when you tug, and make sure that you’ve got the pinch collar fitted firmly enough.

As for walking two dogs at the same time& there are two things you can do:

1. But a coupler. This is a device that contains two 1 foot leashes that are attached together to your 6 foot leash. It kind of “Y”‘s off at the end, so that you can reach down and correct one dog but not the other. Most pet stores carry these devices. (Each 1 foot leash has it’s own harness snap.)

2. As the one dog begins to forge forward, give him the “Heel” command and give a sharp snap on the leash in a rearward direction. If the dog learns that every time he starts to forge ahead of the other dog that he will feel discomfort& quite simply& you’ll notice him stop doing that behavior.

And remember& get outside and have fun with your dogs!!!