Teaching your German shepherd the down command

Don't start training to lie down until your German Shepherd puppy is almost letter-perfect in sitting on command. Place the puppy in a sit, and kneel before him. With both hands, reach forward to his legs and take one front leg in each hand, thumbs up, holding just above the elbows. Lift his legs slightly off the ground and pull them somewhat out in front of him. Simultaneously, give the command "Down" and lower his front legs to the ground.

Hold the puppy down and stroke him to let him know that staying down is what you want him to do. This method is far better than forcing a young dog down. Using force can cause him to become very frightened and he will begin to dislike any training. Always talk to your puppy and let him know that you are very pleased with him, and soon you will find that you have a happy working dog.

After he begins to get the idea, slide the leash under your left foot and give the command "Down". At the same time, pull the leash. This will help get the puppy down. Meanwhile, raise your hand in the down signal - your hand raised in front of you, palm down. Don't expect to accomplish all this in one session. Be patient and work with the dog. He'll cooperate if you show him just what you expect him to do.

You should never begin serious obedience training before your dog is seven or eight months old. While your dog is still in his puppyhood, concentrate on winning his confidence so he will love and admire you. Basic Training can be started at the early age of three or four months. He should be taught to walk nicely on a leash, sit and lie down on command, and come when he is called.
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