Mini Schnauz - Down Command
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Thread: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

  1. #1
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    Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    My MiniS is 3 years old. He has learned many commands, is well socialized, can handle many unplanned situations. But the "Down" command is beyond our grip.

    He will "Down" beside me when I'm on the sofa or in bed. I can even pat the spot with my hand where I want him to lie down. He knows "Off" is paws on floor. I do not intermix these two commands.

    This is the typical sequence (closest to success) used in training with a valued treat. I will be in front of Shadow kneeling on 1 knee. "Shadow. Sit." He sits immediately. He can smell the treat, but does not receive it. I say, "Shadow. Down." as I lower the treat in front of his nose to the floor between his front paws. His nose follows the treat to the floor. Then he stands up on all 4. Ok......no treat. Repeat with a slight variation. "Shadow. Down.", move treat in front of his nose to the floor, but ahead of his paws so he needs to extend his head........he stands on all 4. Both these techniques are attempted multiple times before I quit and we move on to the next activity. I have even tried to influence him by applying a gentle pressure on his shoulders while the treat is moving to the floor....he stands.

    So, any hints? How to I push through this Schnauzer head and keep his butt on the floor to make a "Down." command. In truth, I don't care how he lays down, just as long as he goes into a "Down" position.

    This is a bit frustrating because I know his intelligence and learning is very high and keen. He learned the "Home" command after about 3 attempts from the elevator. We exit the elevator, I can remove his leash/collar, "Shadow. Home.", then off he goes to stand in front of our apartment door.

    I have been trying to train this little twerp the "Down" command for about 2 years........that is how he knows "Down" when I'm on the sofa or in bed. I know he knows the command.

    I'm sure the problem lies with me, but I can't sift it out.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Abbylynn's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    How are his legs? Any patella issues? Maybe he just likes soft surfaces.

    You are training the "Down" just like I have for over 55 years. I honestly had a dog who for 17 years refused to sit his rear on any surface in the "Sit" position. He just did not like his rear on the ground. It looked like he was sitting ... but he wasn't LOL! We lost a dog obedience contest because of it.


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    Senior Member LeoRose's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    Have you tried training the down from a stand? With him standing, lower the treat to between his front feet. Mark (click or verbal) any effort to lower himself to get the treat, and then let him have it. Next rep, ask for just a bit more, mark and reward. Keep asking for a bit more of him on the floor, always remembering to mark and reward. When he does full down, mark and give him several treats as a jackpot. Keep each session short, maybe five to ten minutes, and repeat often. This video shows a down from a stand. https://youtu.be/DWOUSBbidOw

    You could also try shaping a down. https://youtu.be/29Tm_1PWAl8 I personally find shaping to be hard, mainly because I have lousy timing.

    I will say that part of our problem is that your aren't giving him the treat. You have to mark the behavior, and give him the treat. It doesn't matter if he stands back up after the mark, since the mark means that the behavior is done.
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    Member laurelsmom's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    Plan B from my trainer is to sit down on the floor, bend your leg at the knee so that the dog has to bend down to crawl under it, and lure them with a little Hansel & Gretel breadcrumb trail of very small treats.

    I'm not describing it very well; it starts at #6 here:

    https://www.wikihow.com/Teach-a-Dog-to-Lie-Down

    and I'm sure somebody else here can explain it better.

    That's what worked for me with active little terrier/Chihuahua mutts, anyway.
    Yes, they're all mine, yes, I know what causes this, and if you think my hands are full, you should see my heart:

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    Chocolate (Blue Skies O' The Mountains), born 10/4/18: cute little mutt with anxiety issues and talent in Obedience class
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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    Bucky never lay down, he was up and at it unless penned. Cute but annoying. I tried luring but he wasn't comfortable enough with me at the time and as he came to me a biter there was zero chance I would put hands on to manipulate his body.

    I captured the down. Dog on leash, me armed with book to read, clicker and small number of treats. I sat and waited pretending to read my book. He roamed around, sat, thankfully didn't decide to start barking and eventually lay down. As soon as those elbows touched the ground CLICK. Then I rolled a treat away from him so he had to get up to get it. Repeated for the half dozen or so treats in my hand.

    Next day I started to use my cue word as elbows were going down just before the click. He never seemed to get it and offer rapid fire downs the way I'm used to seeing in with a clicker savvy dog but whatever.

    Following day no lesson needed. I asked Ginger to lay down for a treat. He lay down next to her. He probably was mirroring her behavior but wow.

  8. #6
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    Re: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    Quote Originally Posted by Knute View Post
    I say, "Shadow. Down." as I lower the treat in front of his nose to the floor between his front paws. His nose follows the treat to the floor. Then he stands up on all 4. Ok......no treat. Repeat with a slight variation. "Shadow. Down.", move treat in front of his nose to the floor, but ahead of his paws so he needs to extend his head........he stands on all 4.
    From a stand, with treat sort of concealed between thumb and two fingers. Try moving the treat downward while slightly pushing it *in* towards / underneath his chest or sternum area. Briefly hold it there at ground level. Hopefully, this will tend to cause a bit of a play-bow whereby his elbows touch the ground. If so I would accept that ("yes!" and release treat) multiple times, as a starting point. Once he becomes fluent you can begin to delay the yes marker and treat release until he puts the rear end down as well.

  9. #7
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    Re: Mini Schnauz - Down Command

    Petpeeve. I will give that technique a try.

    Right now, I am refreshing his behavior commands. I just returned from a 17 day vacation to USA. Shadow was pet boarding with my Vet. They just feed and walk the animals. I had to tease my Vet because Shadow is now a bit fat. He went in at 6 kg.....now he is at 7.1 kg. They feed but are short on the exercise and command regime. So, his food has been reduced, exercise is back on normal schedule and commands are on the refresh.

    I expect to begin the modified technique of "Down" in about a week.

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