Teaching A Yorkie ‘Down’ – 5 Easy Steps

teaching yorkies 'down'

Hey, everyone.Teaching a Yorkie 'down' is one of the more difficult commands to teach. It's a vulnerable position for a dog. Your Yorkie may be slightly hesitant in the beginning.

Teaching your Yorkie puppy down can be a very useful skill in many situations, from visiting a friend's home to waiting at the vet to remaining calm when meeting a strange dog.

A Yorkie dog who can lie down on command is a calmer more controlled calm dog.She will not jump up or run off without your permission.

Important Tip

'Down' is the command to get your dog to lie down. Try not to confuse her by saying 'Down' if you want your dog to get off the sofa. Use 'Off '  instead.

Teaching A Yorkie 'Down'

1. Start by getting your Yorkie to sit. Now she is already half way to a down.

2. Hold a dog treat between thumb and index finger palm down.

3. Let the dog try to nibble the treat but keep it a little out of eyesight between your fingers.

4. Without ever letting your Yorkie's mouth to stray from the treat, gradually lower your hand to the floor between her front paws while you tell her " DOWN." When her nose and the treat are on the floor, draw the treat toward yourself and slightly to the side of the dog.

You will be performing an L-shaped movement.

5. The minute Yorkies' body hits the floor tell her " GOOD DOWN " and give your dog the treat.

What Do I Do If The Dog Won't Move?

If you find that your treat and your hand are not enough of a lure you might have to physically move your Yorkie into the down position.

Carefully lift one of your puppies front paws while pressing gently behind the opposite shoulder-blade. By lifting the dog's paw you come up with a tripod effect. You take the Yorkie to the ground by lightly pushing his shoulder-blade and then pulling dog slightly on his leg.

Immediately reward the dog with a treat and tell her " good down." After a few repetitions wean her off the need to be placed into position and go back to the hands free technique.

​​​​​​​​​Now Practice The “Down” Hand Signal

As soon as you've finished teaching a Yorkie 'down' with the use of a treat, you can push on.

Begin using a hand signal to get her to lie down.

You still use treats as a reward, but hide them behind your back so your Yorkie follows the hand signal, rather than the treat.

Now work to cut the hand signal. Shrink the signal so it becomes a smaller movement and you don't have to bend down towards the floor. Repeat the " DOWN" command and the hand signal, without a treat between your fingers.

Instead of moving your hand all the way down to the floor, move it down until it's an inch or two above the floor. Continue teaching a Yorkie down with this new, smaller hand signal for a couple of days.

Once the puppy responds to the smaller hand signal, adjust your movement so your hand is three to four inches above the floor. After practicing this for a few days, shrink your hand signal again so it's farther and farther away from the floor and you have to bend over less and less.

Soon you won't need to bend over at all. You should be able to say the “DOWN” command while standing up straight and pointing at the floor. Try to get to the stage where the verbal command is enough to get the Yorkie dog to lie down.

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Teaching The Long 'Down'

Perhaps the most important of all is the long down. Could your dog lie down and stay down while you walked away?

This is a difficult exercise because the dog is so vulnerable. The dog is usually asked to lie down in an exposed situation outdoors. The owner is further and further away. In a training situation, there's usually other strange dogs around. The dog does not have permission to run away or to defend itself if things go wrong

The facial expressions of dogs learning the down-stay in classes says it all. They are not just a little stressed out, they're really worried.

A useful tip is to provide your dog with a physical cue, a blanket or mat, that, when spread, means "Stay here; we're going to be here for a while."

Then, if your Yorkie is already a star at ignoring distractions, you could ask him to lie on his mat at the vet's office, or while tied to a parking meter while you mail a letter. Now, downing in the midst of distractions should not be as terrifying.

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Richard S.

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