The “Down” command is so crucial that there is absolutely no room for any mistake. There are normally three different dog mentalities that tend to over-react to the "DOWN" command and they need to be handled cautiously: 1) Over-Submissive dogs; 2) Nervous dogs; 3) Aggressive and dominant mentality dogs.
Here we will discuss the Over-Submissive mentality dogs and ways to teach the dog "DOWN" command. (Photo Credit: Flickr/Andrew Morrell Photography)
The Over-submissive Dog
This mentality dog gets overly stimulated when in presence of his owner and even a normal touch from his owner will tend to increase his level of nervousness. When the owner seeks to influence him with his suggestions and commands, this dog totally misinterprets them and will either prostrate himself or lie down on his back defeating the entire objective. Without actually going "DOWN" with his focus on food, this dog will continue to keep his focus on his owner. In other words, this type of dog is defensive rather than being firm in his drive and he is mostly driven by nervousness to portray a trait of submissiveness to his owner.
Ways to Train a Dog
Hunger can be used as an effective tool to help a dog reduce fear and increase stamina and focus for this type of dog. This type of dog is very inhibited by nature which makes his owner feel that his dog’s subdued behaviors are often inappropriate responses to his confrontational approach used in dog training. Moreover this dog indeed just learnt to give up his drive by becoming submissively nervous, rather than learning how to transform his drive. To address this issue, when the owner observes his dog rolling on his back, he should strive to neutralize this reflex by running away from there or by commanding the dog to jump up and make contact.
The running exercise will help relax his nerve; and the next time he gets the urge to roll over, the owner who is the object of the dog's maneuvering, is not within his proximity. The aim of doing this exercise is to convert his nervous drive into a cool, calm drive. This task will ensure that the dog gets to contact you only by clear drive activity such as running after you or plunging into you. You should however reward your dog with his favorite food after he makes contact with you. (Photo Credit: Flickr/JDENredden)
The act of your dog staying focused on food and remaining resilient to a shock will actually help a dog to transform his nervous behavior into a poised drive behavior. Once your dog becomes calm about the act of staying, ensure that his state of shock is then followed by the pure drive activity of running after you.
In this manner, your dog can start to choose drive factor rather than his habituated nervousness. He will get proactive and will work to avoid the shock by self-inhibiting his nervousness. By this he will learn that the calm position of lying down in a focused and focusing on his owner as well as on his food will end up causing fun and pure drive activity by chasing you. Eventually by following this method you are disassociating him from the nervousness, which you probably helped to create in the first place, and finally will help to calm your dog.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Dr. RawheaD
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