Very excited about the treat, and instead of relaxing, he/she immediately jumps back up into a sit or jumps on me to get the treat out of my hand
1. Use low-value treats.
2. Shape the wanted behavior by going really slow and rewarding for each step of the way until your dog relaxes on one side.
3. Teach this when your dog is somewhat tired. Go for a long walk or tire your dog out with some play. If your dog is tired, the chances of him/her wanting to lay down are higher.
4. Capture any moment that you catch your dog laying on one side and relaxing. Quietly go up to your dog and say the verbal cue “relax” with a low tone of voice while gently petting, massaging, and you can give a low-value treat.
5. Train in a non-distracting environment or a quiet room.
6. Give your dog some food before training.
Most Common Mistakes
Trying to teach “Relax” before teaching the “down” command
Your dog should know how to go into a down position before learning to “relax.”
Using high-value treats
The high-value treat may cause too much excitement and arousal that it makes it hard for your dog to relax. He/she may be too focused on eating the treat, so they will get up and jump towards your hand rather than relaxing. Instead, use low-value treats or their kibbles when first teaching this command.
Teaching this too fast
Some dogs don’t enjoy going on their back. When you lure the treat towards the spine into the semicircle position, especially when you lure at a fast pace, your dog may sense that he/she is about to get turned on his/her back. For some dogs, this is an uncomfortable feeling, and so they will naturally want to stand and get up from the position where they had to turn their neck. Read below, the alternative ways, for help.
1. Tire your dog out with some active play indoors or go for a long walk outdoors.
2. After prolonged physical activity, go back inside your home. The chances that your dog is tired will be high.
3. Your dog may still have his/her hyper energy right when entering the inside of your home, so be patient and wait a few moments to catch your dog going into a down position.
4. You can also calmly encourage your dog to enter his/her crate, bed, or whichever area they find most comfortable in and ask them for a down position. Start to gently massage and pet your dog when he/she is in the down position. Move slowly and be patient as your dog will start to settle and calm down.
5. Have a small piece of low-value treat or kibble ready and present it close to your dog’s nose.
6. Lure your dog to lay on one side by bringing the treat close to the spine and into that semicircle.
7. Lure in slow steps and reward each step that your dog gets closer to laying on the one side. You are shaping the wanted behavior in slow steps until your dog performs a successful, relaxed position. Avoid going too fast and move slower.
8. The moment your dog lays down and relaxes on one side, either click and give the low-value food or speak in a calm, low toned voice and say “Good Relax” and give the treat. You should also continue to gently massage and pet your dog when he/she is in the relax position while eating the treat you gave.
9. You can start to teach the verbal cue “Relax” along with a hand signal.