My Dog Just Won’t Lay Down! 5 Reasons You Should Know

pup down lie
(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)

The “lie down” command can be a deceptively hard command for a new puppy to master. This article has been written to assist you frustrated dog-owners, who for the life of you can’t get them to lay down to sleep or if you’re wondering it is a sign your dog is in pain.

Also Read this article about tips to crate train your dog

Steps To Train Your Dog

– Firstly, find a comfortable training area which is quiet and familiar in order to avoid interference.

– Get your pooch to sit. Later on, once he gets the gist of the command, you can progress into a standing starting position. No doubt you will want him to be able to lie down readily from any position – this is the end goal. At the start, however, it is a lot easier to train him from a sitting position.

– Use a treat as motivation. Hold some food or a chew in front of your pooch’s nose and say “Down!” in an authoritative tone. Having done so, steadily lower your hand to a point on the ground between his front paws.

– Keep your hand in that place until your pup figures out what you’re getting at. Once he follows your lead into a prone position, reward him with the snack and encourage him with jovial tones.

pup down lie

– Repeat the process until he lies down instantly upon request. Once he has reached this stage, start making it progressively harder for him. After each success, let him have is treat after a slowly growing delay.

– Then, after he has mastered the art of waiting patiently for his treat, start to introduce some space between yourself and your pet while you give the command. Take a small step away from him at each success, until you can be confident at a few feet’s distance.

– Finally, you could introduce some form of distraction to his training. You could do this by moving his training to a busier environment, or simply by teasing him with a ball or toy.

– If he fails at a certain hurdle, remember to be patient with him, and retreat to an easier stage.

What If Your Dog Won’t Lie Down?

Even with the best will in the world, your patience can be seriously strained by a stubborn puppy. If you find that he just will not lie down, there are a few factors which may be discouraging him which you could help him with.

For example, breeds characteristic of a particularly thin coat may find that cold, firm floors are unpleasant. If this is the case it would be more appropriate to find something more appealing so that your dog won’t find the idea of lying down so unsettling.

A communication breakdown might also be the cause of your problem. Try making your wants clearer to your dog. Facilitate your training by set up a stable stool to exaggerate the act of lowering down.

Try This If Your Dog Won’t Lay Down Completely

If he gets the general idea but isn’t going all the way, bring your hand down to the point between his paws, then move it very faintly towards their nose. This will often prompt dogs to lower their stance.

5 Ways to Train Your Dog to Lay Down

If you are having some problems with the “lie down” command to the point of frustration, it may be time to get creative. Below is a list of 5 of the more imaginative methods for getting your pup to lie down.

Training from a raised platform. I have mentioned it above, and will mention it again. If your dog just isn’t getting you, put him on a bed, a low stool, a couch, or on the lowest stair; then entice him downwards with a treat. This action might just get him in the mind set and incline him to stoop for his reward.

Cushioning. If your pup is one of those short haired and bony fellows, get him a thick towel or a rug to sit on. He will definitely be more willing to lie down if he will be comfortable in doing so.

Limbo dancing. Utilize the underside of a stool or a smartly propped broomstick to create an obstacle for your dog to stoop under for his treat.

Tire him out. Exhaust him into submission. Try conducting your training after a long walk, so that your pooch is naturally inclined to lie down. You will certainly have a short session, but it might just plant the seed for the next attempt.

Imitation. For the last technique you will need some help. If you have another dog with another trainer, you could get your dog to copy the other! Start by getting him to imitate his peer in known commands, then with any luck you can progress to the point where you can get him to imitate unknown ones.


Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful information on how to get your dog to lie down. Remember, the best trick to training your pooch is perseverance. Also, not all dogs are the same, so don’t be shy in trying something new.

Is This A Sign My Dog Is In Pain? My Dog Can’t Get Comfortable Lying Down

The basic rule of thumb is, if you notice any marked difference in your dog’s behavior, it should be cause for concern. If your dog is usually great at lying down, but suddenly doesn’t want to or can’t seem to, get your dog to the vet. It could be a sign that your dog is in pain and no amount of information on the internet can get you the accurate answers you need – only a vet’s diagnosis can!

Also keep a lookout for other signs of pain such as changes in your dog’s vocalization, heavy panting, lack of appetite, sudden behavioral changes (sudden aggression or even shyness). These can all be early signs of pain so do get your dog to the vet if this is the case.

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