The "Long Down" Technique
This is a technique to help obtain and maintain your leadership role with your dog. Done correctly, this non-aggressive approach can give you the loving, obedient dog you have always wanted, and maybe you will learn a little something about yourself … patience.
This technique should be done 3-4 times a week, especially early in training or with a puppy. At any given time, while watching television, reading a book, or engaging in conversation, grab your dog and place them in a down. Say the down command only one time. Every time the dog gets up, place them back into the down position. Do not get in the habit of repeating the word ‘down.’ You will want to do this for at least 10-15 minutes, even if you have to place the dog in the down position multiple times. It is important to do something else like watching television while using this technique. This helps to show your dominance by ignoring, and it helps you to be patient. Sometimes after repeatedly placing our dog into the down position we find ourselves getting aggressive and frustrated. These feelings are very detrimental to what we are trying to accomplish with the exercise. After the time is up, simply release your dog. Do not give up! Sometimes if we have given our dog the impression that they are in charge this will not be easy for the first couple of weeks.
It is helpful for everyone in your household to practice this exercise with the dog. You should change up the location of the exercise and you can add a towel, rug, or mat and have the dog lay on it. Eventually you should be able to use that object whenever you want the dog to lie down and stay.
In class we will talk about correcting our dogs in the way they understand it by using techniques that dogs use to correct each other. Tone of voice, posture, and touch (physical contact). If you catch your dog chewing your shoes, give your correction word with a stern, assertive voice. You may want to stand over your dog (posture), the poke or lightly pinch (touch). Not to hurt them, just to get their attention. If your dog corrects itself, then praise. If not, use the Long Down exercise. In this situation, not as part of a correction, but because your dog did not respond to your correction so you need to reinforce your leadership.