How to Train a Labrador Retriever Puppy to Lie Down
Training your Labrador retriever puppy to lie down on command is one of the most useful lessons you can teach, and one that will serve both you and your puppy well as it becomes an adult. If you need your dog to settle down quietly after a boisterous playtime or if you want it to stay by your side for extended periods while you read, there is no more convenient command than "Lie down," and no better time for your dog to learn it than as a puppy.
Moderately Easy Use positive reinforcement to teach your Labrador retriever puppy to lie down on command
Things You'll Need
Bite-sized puppy treats
Exercise your Labrador retriever puppy well about half an hour before the training session. A vigorous playtime with you will help it burn off some of its excess energy.
Give your puppy the "sit" command, if it has learned it. If not, wait until it naturally goes into a sitting position--you can encourage this by passing a treat over the puppy's head, which should cause it to automatically lower its haunches.
Let the puppy sniff the treat when it is in the sitting position, then lower the treat slowly to the floor while saying the puppy's name followed by "Lie down." Use a voice that is firm and clear--but not stern or commanding--and avoid sounding hesitant or questioning. Enunciate the "N" strongly at the end of the word "down" in order to set the phrase apart from normal speech, and to distinguish it as a special command.
Watch your puppy as it follows the treat down to the floor. The second it is lying down, praise it, saying "Good lie down." Immediately give the treat.
Repeat "Lie down" if the puppy tries to lunge forward and grab the treat. Lower the treat to the floor so that it is between your puppy's paws, and slide it closer to it so that the most natural way for the puppy to get the treat is to be lying down.
Release your Labrador retriever puppy from the "lie down" command as soon as it has eaten the treat by saying "OK." Even though it was about to spring up anyway, giving the "OK" command helps the puppy associate the act of getting up with "OK." As your puppy gets better at obeying the "Lie down" command, you can have it remain on the floor for longer and longer periods--the beginning of learning the "stay" command.
Practice "lie down" for three to five minutes at least three times a day. Don't allow frustration or impatience to show in your voice, even if your puppy is slow to get the idea; that will only make him anxious. Keep a confident, upbeat attitude.
Tips & Warnings
Resist the temptation to guide your puppy into the "Lie down" position with your hands. Puppies seem to learn better when they figure it out for themselves.