Is Down Your Most Important Command?

By Hexen –

Last ngiht at the Boxer club I was watching the Master trainer work with another member and their male dog. They were working at the protection work and when the dog got the arm the owner was instructed to command down when the dog had the arm in the mouth then ask for a release. This was totally a new exercsie that they were doing.

Courious as to why they were now teaching this I asked the Master trainer what his thinking was and why he was teaching this. (In advertantly Hella and myself were, is and are the basis for this new approach he is working on with the more dominant dogs at our club).

Down is the worst command for any dog as this places them in a submissive position. By teaching a strong down and a willing down this will not only cements you in the position as leader but also buillds the respect to you as true leader.

Recall should always be a priase command and the best thing is to come back to you.

So the master trainer is now teaching down as a calming command and recalling directly after as a safety or praise reward command.

So in a situation such as vaughn69 is going through, with one dog growling and snapping at the others in a posission guarding responce over the person, I would have each dog set up with a bed or crate in the common area, and upon the dominant growling not remove that dog outside away from the others but make each dog learn the strong down stay command on their bed/place.

Do not just place her down on her bed, but when she growls and or snaps take her to her place command down, then the next dog down on their place and so on down the line, remove all attention to each dog and make each dog stay on their place for at least 5 to 10 minuets (to be increased as the down command becomes proofed). After this time period go to her, praise her for the down stay by petting and release her first. Then go to your next dog, praise for down and stay by petting and release, then the next dog or the least dominant dog last praise and release. If they come to you after for attention and the incident occures once more, repete the above.

You can also try a twist to this by when the more dominant dog growls to start with the more submissive dog first in their place to stay and work the way down the line to the more dominant. This could also work to help the more dominant dog to feel secure that you see them above the others. But always release the more dominant dog first as this is their right.