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So my dog already knows down, but he always puts his butt down first, then crawls forward into the down (2 step). I am trying to teach him to drop straight down (single step). I am starting by trying to get him used to the biomechanics by luring him with a treat straight down. He does very well when a treat is involved. I mark it with a yes and follow with a treat. I eventually paired it with the word down and he still gets it with the treat. The moment I take the treat away he defaults to butt down first then crawls forward into the down. I may have to back track and work on the biomechanics some more before pairing the word. Any suggestions?
 

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Start from the stand with the dog facing you. ONLY reward when he does it the way you describe (front first).

He just does not understand the bridge between the behavior you want and the behavior he naturally defaults to. He also does not know about doing things fast (yet.. don't rush it, it will come).

What breed/kind of dog is he? IME Hounds are often the walk forward to lay down sort of dogs, but any dog can default to this.
 

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What you want is known as a "fold back down". You can search the web for videos and tutorials.

Always teach this beginning from a stand. Avoid having your dog down from a sit, whenever possible.

Use of a platform, or barrier in front to prevent unwanted creeping, and proper luring mechanics in the initial stages of teaching will all help. I wouldn't lure straight down. Rather, I would *push* the treat *back + into* the dog so that you achieve a sort of play bow first. Mark and reward just for the correct 'front half' mechanics initially. Then, as soon as you have that part down pat, you simply wait it out a bit longer for the 'back half' to settle on the floor before marking and releasing the treat. Speed, and synchronicity of both halves will come eventually.

I wouldn't assign a verbal cue to it until the entire behaviour is virtually perfect. Be patient in this regard, even though you may be tempted to add it quickly. I would also consider a new, distinct cue from whatever you've been using so far, such as 'drop' instead of down. I usually reserve 'down' for a hip-roll down, which is useful for down-stays.
 
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