The Long Down is one of the easiest exercises a person can do with their dog, after the initial phase. Anyone can do it. Start practicing Long Down 24 hours after you bring your dog home. Long Down is one of the most valuable exercises a person can do with their dog. It has numerous benefits for dogs and their people.
- Teaches the dog that the human will reinforce their requests for as long as it takes. It establishes leadership in a non-violent and non-confrontational manner.
- Teaches the dog to control himself.
- Builds confidence in an unconfident dog because it teaches them self-control.
- Establishes leadership over an overly confident dog because it teaches them that you are more stubborn than they are in getting what you want.
- Very useful during dinner time to prevent begging at the table.
- With the leash on, sit on the floor beside your dog.
- Gently place your dog in the down position as you say “Down”.
- Sit on the leash so that s/he can’t get far should s/he try to get up, but leave the leash loose so that s/he is not aware that you’re touching it.
- Do not touch your dog or let your dog touch you unless you have to put him or her back down.
- If your dog moves, gently replace him/her without saying a word. Smile as you do this and do not get frustrated. *
- S/he can lie in any position s/he feels comfortable, so long as s/he does not move from the original spot.
- After 30 minutes, release your dog with "OK", even if s/he has gone to sleep.
- After your dog is reliably doing LD with you beside him/her, you are ready for Phase II. Do not move to Phase II until Phase I has been mastered.
- Do everything the same as in Phase I except you sit in a chair or on the couch beside your dog with your dog on the floor.
- After your dog is reliably doing LD with you beside him/her, you are ready for Phase III. Do not move to Phase III until Phase II has been mastered.
- Do everything the same as in Phase II except you sit in a chair or on the couch with your dog on the floor across the room.
- You can try moving around the room, but remain in the room with your dog.
- After your dog is reliably doing LD with you beside him/her, you are ready for Phase IV. Do not move to Phase IV until Phase III has been mastered.
- Do everything the same as in Phase III except you sit or stand with your back to your dog with your dog on the floor across the room.
- You do not have to keep your back turned the entire time but spend at least a few minutes not facing your dog. This can be uncomfortable for some dogs and therefore helps with learning self-reliance. It also helps to move on to the next phase, which is leaving the room.
At this point, you should be able to leave the room for a few minutes at a time and your dog will maintain the Down. Build up slowly, and eventually, you can leave the room for the entire 30 minutes. Please remember to build up s.l.o.w.l.y. If at any point your dog has trouble with a phase, returned to the previous phase and build up again.
Repeat the long down 3 to 5 times per week in the beginning, and then randomly later on to reinforce.
10 Minute sit is done the same way, except that your dog must Sit still for 10 minutes before being released. Begin incorporating 10 minute sits when you reach Phase III of LD. Do not do LD and 10 Minute Sit in the same session.
* To physically place the dog in the down position have your dog sitting on your left side, kneel next to him or her, both of you facing in the same direction. With your left hand, reach over your dog’s back and place it behind his or her left foreleg; place the right hand behind the right foreleg. Keep your thumbs up so as not to squeeze your dog’s legs. Lift your dog up slightly and then lower him or her to the ground.
Relationship based training philosophy
Training the Natural Way by Wendy Volhard