Practicing “Down” all at once.
All of the teams should stand in a straight line side by side. At the command of the course instructor, all of the dog trainers should begin walking with their dogs free by their sides. When the teams reach a pre-marked line the dog trainers should give their dogs the “Down” command but continue walking by themselves. They would then stop in front of their dogs, wait a few seconds and return to the side of their dogs.
Try these variations of this exercise for increased results.
- The same positions and progression as above but this time have someone off to the side signaling (but not too vigorously) to distract the dogs.
- The same positions and progression as above but this time have someone throwing a ball into the air and catching it, while walking in front of the dogs.
- The same positions and progression as above but this time have someone kicking a soccer ball while passing in front of the line of dogs.
- The same positions and progression as above but this time have a person walking with a stuffed toy attached to a stick and string, down the line of dogs in the “Down” position.
Practicing “Down” in different groups.
Divide the teams into three smaller groups that then face each other standing on the points of an imaginary triangle. With all of the dogs lying down have one team from a group take a walk around the other two groups before returning to their former position.
Continue until all of the teams have had a turn.
Practicing “Down” with heavy distractions.
Have three or four dogs in a straight line in the “Down” position. Have a group of people stand in a circle around the dogs. They should be about five meters away from the dogs. Now begin the distractions. The group of people can throw ball (even over the dogs), walk around, sit, talk or perform other similar activities. If this exercise doesn’t work well try lessening the intensity of the distractions or widening the distance between the lying dogs and the people.
The distractions should never put the lying dogs in harms way nor should the dogs be made to feel threatened in any way.