‘Down’ is a common and simple cue that you can teach your dog. It’s useful for helping them calm down in the evening, or in other situations where you need them to relax. It’s also the first stage in more complicated tricks, like ‘roll over’!
Just like with all training, short, frequent sessions are better. Puppies especially have very short attention spans, and trying to introduce new training for more than 5-10 minutes at a time will just result in frustration for both of you!
Although this command is often designed for use when dogs are overexcited and need to calm down, the cue needs to be taught in a relaxed environment. Once they are responding well in a quiet environment, then it’s time to increase the difficulty, and begin saying ‘Down’ in more challenging environments.
For successful training, it’s also important to get your dog engaged with you. Usually, a fistful of yummy treats is enough to get that covered! Keep treat portions small, but big enough that your pup feels like they are worth the effort.