Down Classroom


Questions? AskDebbyQ

Teaching your dog the Down, either or both the Sphinx or Roll, in a manner that will build your dog’s confidence will give you a reliable down position. In the case of the Sphinx Down, it will give you a fast response to a follow-up command such as a recall or release. Adding games during every step of your down training will keep your dog energized and in an active state.

PDF Files to help your training!

Points to Remember Down PDF

Problem Solving Down PDF

Training Log Down PDF


CLICK ON TAB for section of interest.

Sphinx down!Roll Down!

Steps for teaching the Sphinx down!
Questions? AskDebbyQ

Visualization
During either the Sphinx or the Roll Down (see Roll Down Tab),  your dog will stay in an “active” state and ready to go on your next command. The Sphinx down, your dog will stay on his haunches ready to spring into action. It is important for your dog’s front end to hit the ground first! After teaching either down, your dog should be confident and happy with his head up and intently focused on you.

STEPS FOR TEACHING SPHINX DOWN

Before you begin, check out and have ready any equipment you may need for the class. Treats, Toys, Collar, Leash etc.

End Goal – End Goal – For your dog to drop quickly, front end first into the sphinx position. Once in a sphinx, your dog will spring off the drop when released to a held or thrown treat.

STEPS TO SUCCESS

The Sphinx Down is needed and used for many dog sports such as rally, agility and obedience. It can be used on the agility table as it allows the dog to quickly spring off of the down position. If you show in USDAA, a DOWN on the table is the required position. For Obedience the Sphinx Down is used for the drop on recall as well as the signal exercise. In rally, the sphinx down gets your dog into and out of the position quickly.

Level 1

  • Have some tasty treats. Hold a treat in the palm of your right hand.
  • Have your dog standing in a relaxed position in front of and facing you.
  • ALWAYS start the SPHINX down with your dog in a stand.
  • If you have a small dog, this exercise may be easier to teach if you are on your knees or even sitting on the floor.
  • Place a treat in the palm of one hand with your thumb over the treat.
  • Show your dog the treat and slowly place your hand PALM down onto the floor and in front of your dog. The treat is now covered.
  • Encourage your dog to find the treat.  Ideally he will lay down in order to smell the treat that is hidden under your hand.
  • When your dog drops totally to the floor, lavishly praise and flip your hand over and give him the treat.
  • Energize your dog off of the down with a JUMP TO THE HAND game or toss a treat out for your dog to run and get. Hold the treat in front of your dog and slightly higher than your dog’s head position so that the dog jumps forward and up for the treat or toss a treat out in front of your dog so he will drive off the down.
  • Play with your dog and repeat the above again.
  • Practice several times a day with your dog always releasing your dog with an energizing game.

Level 2 – PROGRESSION – DOG DOWNS WITH LESS HAND MOTION

  • This week, try to reduce the distance from the floor your hand travels. Example: if you have been having your hand touch the floor, this time just go to within 2 inches off the ground.
  • Your dog is still standing in a relaxed positioned in front of you
  • Hold a treat in your right hand and still show you dog the treat. Turn your hand over holding the treat in the palm of your hand and move your treat hand towards the floor. But this time see if your dog will drop BEFORE your hand is completely on the ground.
  • Praise and reward your dog with the treat in your hand.
  • Energize your dog off of the down with a GET IT game to a treat held in front of your dog and slightly higher than the dog’s head. This way your dog jumps forward and up for the treat. You can also toss a treat out in front of your dog to get your dog to bolt off the down.

Level 3 – PROGRESSION – ADD VERBAL CUE

If your dog is dropping quickly 80% of the time, it is time to add a verbal cue to the behavior. Examples of verbal cues are “DROP, DOWN,” etc.”Feel free to select any word that you can remember.

  • This week, continue to reduce the amount of hand motion you have with your right hand.
  • Your dog is still in front of you STANDING relaxed.
  • Hold a treat in your right hand.  Show your dog the treat and turn your hand over holding the treat in the palm of your hand.  Move the treat hand towards the floor as you say your verbal cue (DROP, DOWN, etc.). See if the dog will drop BEFORE your hand is completed moving.
  • The minute your dog is down, lavishly praise and reward him with the treat in your hand and then drop several additional treats between your dog’s front feet while in a sphinx down.
  • Energize your dog off of the down with a GET IT game or a jump to the hand game.
  • Play with your dog and try the skill again.

End Goal – For your dog to drop quickly, front end first into the sphinx position. Once in a Sphinx Down, your dog will spring off the drop when released to a held or thrown treat.

Before progressing to the next section –


Drop quickly without you bending over?
Drop front end first?
Drive off the drown position when you present a treat in your hand or toss a treat out for him to run to?

Have fun Teaching the Sphinx Down!
Questions? AskDebbyQ


STEPS FOR TEACHING THE ROLL DOWN

Why is the ROLL DOWN important? The ROLL DOWN position is a more relaxed position and your dog is more likely to stay in position when doing the Obedience down stay exercises in Novice and Open. Furthermore, there are some Rally signs where a ROLL DOWN works better than a SPHINX DOWN.

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Visualization
When teaching the ROLL DOWN, your dog should roll onto his RIGHT hip with his back next to your left leg. Your dog should be lying straight, front feet pointing forward and on his RIGHT hip. On the ROLL DOWN, your dog will remain on one hip and not move until released. This position provides the maximum distance between your dog and the dog next to him on the stay line. Your command for the ROLL DOWN needs to be different than the command you use for the SPHINX DOWN. You can select any command you want as long as the command has NOT been used for any other behavior. Some example commands are:, “roll, curl, down,” etc.

STEPS TO SUCCESS
Before you begin check out and have ready any equipment you may need for the class. Treats, Toys, Collar, Leash etc.

End Goal – For the ROLL DOWN, your dog needs to remain ACTIVE and ALERT. Your dog cannot change hips, go to sleep, or move in any way from the original POSITION or LOCATION. Your dog needs to remain alert and actively thinking about what he is doing.

Level 1

  • Have your dog sitting at your left side and have a high value treat in your right hand.
  • Place the treat on your dog’s nose and bring the right hand down towards the floor between your dog’s front feet. SIMULTANEOUSLY say your ROLL command and apply pressure/tap your dog’s LEFT side/flank with your left hand.
  • If necessary, you can slightly turn your dog’s head away from you to assist your dog in rolling on to the his hip.
  • Reward your dog several times while in this position and then release.

Level 2: RANDOMIZE WHETHER YOU HAVE A TREAT IN RIGHT HAND

  • Use the same motion with your right hand, but randomize whether you have a treat in your hand or not.
  • Have your dog sitting at your left side.
  • Bring your right hand to your dog’s nose and then down towards the floor as you say your ‘ROLL’ command. Simultaneously apply pressure/taps with your left hand at your dog’s left side/flank so that your dog goes down and rolls on to his hip at the same time.
  • When your dog does the behavior, immediately praise and stop your hand movement.
  • Reward your dog several times while in this position and then release.

Level 3: REDUCE/ELIMINATE RIGHT HAND MOVEMENT AND LEFT HAND TAPPING

  • Instead of bringing your right hand all the way to the ground, simply take your right hand, start the motion down but point to the floor and simultaneously tell your dog your Roll command.
  • Over time, reduce how much your right hand moves and work to have your dog perform the behavior only on your verbal command.
  • Lots of praise and reward when your dog performs the behavior properly.
  • Gradually add duration before releasing your dog

Your dog should drop and roll hip quickly with minimal motion from you.

Before progressing to the next section –


Roll quickly on the predetermined hip every time?
Remain in position without flipping to the opposite hip?
Drop and roll without extra commands or movements from you?

Have fun Teaching the Roll down!
Questions? AskDebbyQ


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