Teaching your Pug tricks will be a lot easier if they are younger. However, it’s NOT impossible to teach an old dog new tricks. Today, we’re going to take a look at the easiest way to learn how to teach a Pug to lay down. I’ll also share how I taught my black Pug the command below.
How to Teach A Pug To Lay Down
The best way to get a stubborn Pug to do something is to have plenty of treats on hand. It’s best if you use your dog’s favorite treats, Mindy loved these. If you don’t have those, you can also use the food they love eating.
Either way, rewarding your Pug with food will be one of the best and quickest ways to learn new tricks. You’ll also need to have a lot of patience because Pugs are not the easiest dogs to train. Read this article if you’re just getting started training a Pug puppy.
However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be taught new tricks. In fact, every pet owner should be responsible and spend time training their dog.
No one wants to be around a dog that is unruly and misbehaves all the time. Not to mention, some people are scared of dogs and you can get in trouble if you can’t control your pooch.
Mindy our black Pug knew the following commands: (although, sometimes we had to say the command more than once if she wasn’t in the listening mood.)
- Lie Down
- Leave It or Don’t Touch
How to Teach A Dog to Lie Down
It didn’t happen overnight, and the best part is you don’t have to be a dog trainer to teach your Pug new commands. This is how we got our Pug to finally lay down on command.
Introducing The Lie Down Idea
Mindy our black Pug was extremely adorable, friendly, smart but could be extremely stubborn when she wanted to be. We soon realized that if she didn’t want to do something, then she wasn’t going to do it.
However, we finally realized how important it was to teach her how to lie down. Whenever we had company she was jumping on people because she wanted to be pet. Have I mentioned that Pugs shed a lot and NOT everyone wants to pet your dog, regardless of how adorable you think they are?
Teaching your dog to lie down is a useful behavior because it keeps them from jumping on people or things they shouldn’t be on. The ‘Lie down’ command also helps you control your pet and keep them out of trouble or mischief.
If you still haven’t taught your Pug the sit-down command, you should do so first. Many dog trainers will tell you that it’s easier to teach them the ‘Lie Down’ command if they already understand the ‘Sit’ command.
Some dogs tend to have a difficult time with the ‘Lie Down’ command because it’s a more submissive position, and it makes them feel vulnerable.
Okay, now let’s teach your pooch one of the standard set of obedience commands every dog should know.
#1 Lure Your Pup To Sit
We used the Lure method because Mindy loved eating. It’s so easy, all you need is plenty of treats.
Get your Pug to sit and then hold the treat over their nose. Move the treat straight down and slide it out in front of him/her. As you lower the treat, squat down to the ground.
Guide Your Pooch
The movement of your hand will guide your dog into the down position. As soon as your Pug lies down, repeat the command “down” to help associate the word “down” with the behavior of lying down.
Your Pug is most likely going to try to eat the treat right away. However avoid giving them the treat until they are lying down, then you can feed her the treat and pet her while saying “good girl or boy.”
The goal is to have your pooch lying down completely before you give them the treat and say ‘Down.’
Increase The Time
Start increasing the time she is lying down before rewarding her with a treat. Before you know it she will be laying down on command for an extended period.
Remove The Treats
Keep repeating this process over and over until your dog fully understands the down command. Eventually, you can stop giving her treats and just reward her with praise and affection.
Trust me, once your pooch learns the command she’ll be happy with being rewarded with hugs and kisses.
#2 Building From A Bow
If the lure-reward training doesn’t work, then try the building from a bow. With this method, you’ll want to stand or kneel on the side of your Pug instead of directly in front.
Place The Treat
Using their favorite treat, you’ll want to move the treat in between the front paws at an oblique 45-degree angle. The goal is to get them to go into the same position as a play bow.
Dialing It In
Keep repeating the process until your dog is bowing consistently. Once they understand the bow, it’s time to start pausing between their front feet.
Eventually, their bottom will plop down and your pooch will be laying down. You should be saying the word ‘down’ or ‘lay down’ so they can associate the word with the behavior.
Praise them by saying “good girl or boy” as soon as they lie down. You can also give them the treat once they are lying down.
Rinse and Repeat
You’ll want to keep repeating the process over and over using positive reinforcement training. This will help your pooch understand the new behavior.
#3 Bathroom Reward or All Or None Reward Training
Most likely your Pug loves shadowing you where ever you do. Use this to your advantage to teach them new tricks.
Fill A Bowl With Their Treats
You’ll want to fill a small container with about 15-20 of their favorite kibble treats. Don’t forget to grab a magazine or your Kindle. Pick a small room like a bathroom or walk-in closet to close yourself inside with your pooch.
Have A Seat
Don’t pay any attention to your Pug and just start reading the material you brought with you.
Do Your Own Thing
Your pooch is going to want some attention from you. Whatever you do, just ignore it and let them be. Eventually, your dog will get bored with sniffing the corners and lay down.
Immediately start praising the behavior and toss a treat far enough to where your dog has to get up and get it. This sets them up to do lay down again.
As the dog starts to understand that they get a treat whenever they lie down, it will be much easier to teach them on request or stimulus control.
All you have to do is say the word ‘Down’ and they should have no problem listening to you. Don’t forget to reward them.
Leaving The Confined Space
Just know that your dog may need a bit of coaxing to realize that the ‘Down’ command works everywhere. However, at this point, simple lure-reward training should be enough to get them to listen.
#4 Shaping By Bridging
This is the most difficult and most time-consuming method. However, if your Pug is stubborn and doesn’t quite pick up on the other methods, you may want to try this one.
Luring Your Dog
Essentially you’ll be using a food reward to crawl under a bridge. This bridge can be a stool, your leg or bent knee, or an end table. It just depends on the size of the dog your training.
For Pugs, your knee will probably work best.
Sit On The Floor
Sit down on the floor with your knee bent to create a gap big enough for your pooch to crawl under.
Place The Treat
Place the treat on the opposite side of your knee. Use the treat to get your Pug to crawl under your leg to get the treat.
Your pooch may be tempted to go around your leg or jump your leg to get the treat. However, don’t let them and don’t give them the reward until they go under the bridge.
As soon as your pooch goes down on their floor and their elbows and bellies touch the floor, praise them with a treat and praise.
Repeat this process and keep repeating the process ‘Lie Down’ or ‘Lay Down’ so he can associate the command with the behavior.
Remove Your Knee and Add Destination
Once they understand, you can remove the bridge or your knee from the equation and just use the lure-reward training. Once they understand the command “Lay Down” you can add the word “Go” and identify a spot such as a mat or their bed.
Eventually, you’ll have a well-behaved and polite dog that listens to you on command!
Final Word On Teaching Your Dog To Lie Down
Some Pugs will pick up on learning new tricks faster than others, every dog is unique. With consistent positive reinforcement training, you’ll have your Pug lying down on command in no time.
Every dog should understand the basic commands. As a pet owner, you’ll have much more control over your pooch if they actually listen to you.
The important thing to remember about this breed, is they want to please their owner. So whatever you do, don’t give up on them, because there’s no limit to what your Pug can’t do!
References and Further Reading
Cesars Way – 5 Essential Commands You Can Teach Your Dog