Why The “Down” Exercise Is So Important
The down exercise is probably the most important exercise you can teach your dog for several different reasons. It is the exercise that when your dog is twenty feet away, you say down and your dog drops to the floor without you doing anything else is the day that your dog says you are the master.
Now please do not confuse the “down” exercise with the “off” command. Down means to immediately lay on the ground where the off commands means to get off whatever it is on.
A lot of things have been written about aggression and one thing that comes up quite often is that if your dog had been taught the down exercise as a young dog you would have probably never seen the aggression. When I mention aggression I am talking about all types of aggression. It can include aggression in the home, aggression with other dogs and aggression to other people who are not part of the pack.
I think that one thing all dog owners can agree on is that they want a dog they can take for a walk without it acting like Cujo (rabid dog ) when it sees another dog or person. Teaching the down exercise is the start to a well-trained and polite dog.
So as you can see the down exercise establishes you as the master. In fact when a dog is showing aggression the down is an exercise that we really concentrate on to make it 100% reliable.
The “down” has some more important uses and one of them could even possibly save your dog’s life. I like to use the down exercise as an emergency command. What I mean is that my dog is headed to the street I can give it a firm down command and my dog will drop to the ground immediately. As you can imagine having a strong “down” in a situation like this could save your dog’s life.
Down is also an exercise that is used in pretty much every type of competition I can think of. Yes the down exercise is used in everything from AKC (American Kennel Club) obedience competition to Schutzhund and even with agility training. So as you can see the down command is widely used with anything that has to do with dogs and dog training.
I hope you can see that the down exercise is very important so start early and train your dog to down when you say it one time.
It just may save its life.