Canine Gym At Home: Down To Stand

By Lauren Tobin | Updated: Mar 31 2019

As we talked about in our previous blog, “Stand” is a SUPER useful command. Since you’ve mastered (or maybe not ‘mastered’, maybe ‘achieved’…..) the Sit to Stand, let’s move on to “Down to Stand”.

Down is probably one of the most used commands we teach our dogs, and it’s also the one that we find most people teach incorrectly. We prefer that dogs can down from both a stand position AND a sit position, and when I first teach it to puppies, I like them to be in a stand. That way, when the dog hears the command “DOWN”, he’ll understand that he needs to fold into the down and ‘hit the deck’ without sitting first.

And as far as strengthening your dog’s body, the “Down to Stand” exercise is high on our  list of favorites. It teaches your dog (adult, puppy or senior dog) not only how to down properly, but also teaches the “Stand” command quickly and easily. Also, taught this way, it creates a full body workout which will engage your dog’s core, rear and front limbs.

To make sure your dog is getting the proper workout, it’s imperative that your dog doesn’t move his front or rear feet while moving from the down to stand (and vice versa). 

How To Teach Down To Stand

  • Start on a level surface, with your dog in a stand.
  • Place your closed hand (inside are a few high value treats!) in front of your dog’s nose, and slowly move it diagonally, towards the space between your dog’s front feet.
  • This should cause your dog to drop in a down – shoulders first, and followed by his rear.
  • Make sure your dog is completely lying down before rewarding with the cookie (no cheating!)
  • Continue to drip feed your dog the remaining cookies (but save a few!) to create duration of the position.
  • To release your dog into a stand: place a treat by his nose, say “OK”, and lure him up by slowly moving the treat slightly up and forward until he’s in a standing position.
  • Release your dog with “OK” to end the exercise. Praise, reward, and play!

Troubleshooting The Down To Stand

If your dog keeps moving his front feet, place an object in front of him (chair, pole, etc). You can even go outside and stand on the edge of the curb. That way, if the dog steps forward, they step off the curb!

Down To Stand Challenges

You’ll need 2 objects for this challenge. You can use couch cushions, phone books, folded up beach towels, blankets, or folding chairs. Start with something lower, and when your dog is confident, you can add some height:

  • Start by walking the dog over the unstable surface
  • Lure the dog (use a treat) so that his front feet are on one object and his back feet on the other.
  • Repeat that a few times until your dog is confidently loading onto both items and is comfortable staying there.
  • Next, lure your dog into a down (use your down command if you have one), and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Release your dog into a stand:  Place a treat by his nose, say “OK”, and lure him up by slowly moving the treat slightly up and forward until he’s in a standing position
  • Release your dog with “OK” to end the exercise.
  • Congratulations! You did one rep!
  • Try building to 3-5 reps, release your dog, and do a quick walk/jog/run around the room to give him a chance to stretch.

We love to see you and your dogs working at home. Post your pictures and/or videos on our Facebook Page or email them to us at:

Happy Training!

Lauren Tobin


Lauren has her Animal Sciences degree from Penn State University. During college, she worked with both domestic and wild animals, and volunteered at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for 4 years of college and even interned at Central Park Zoo. She is a Certified Dog Trainer from IACP and is a Certified Canine Athlete Advisor for Canine Conditioning. She also holds her CGC/CGCA Evaluator for the AKC.

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