What does a dog do when he is fearful of being attacked or hurt? In many cases they do what many dog trainers call a "Tap Out" or flipping over on their back trying to convince the threat they are not a threat and to please not hurt them. Now fast forward to training class the first night of trying to teach your dog to lay down on command and wonder why Fido all of the sudden seems hesitant to just lay down and see what happens. To this point there has been no track record of reward for this behavior only the dogs built in genetics that this position is a position of last resort.
So you sit in class or in your living room attempting this command and wondering what course to take and how to handle your dog... in my opinion you have two options:
- Force the dog into a down position and try to make up for this insult with a dog biscuit.
- Be patient, work slowly and allow the dog to gain confidence letting the command come naturally