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Training Exercise: Up and Down and Place


Practice the command "Off" by telling your dog to go on and off the couch at increasing distances.

What you will need:

- treats 

Why do it:

This is a good way to teach your dog the association between the command "Off" and the behavior of 'four paws on the ground'. We don't always have opportunities to practice "off" until our dog is already jumping, so this allows us to practice over and over again and reward our dog for being on the ground. By only giving treats for the command "off" (and not for getting on the couch), you are rewarding your dog for being on the ground, enticing them to be on the ground.

By slowly getting farther away from the couch, you are building off success and practicing for the real life scenario of giving your dog the command "Off" from a distance, such as a person from six feet away.

This is a great way for your dog to practice responding to pointing. Pointing is a method of communication that most dogs can understand and we, as humans, use quite often so it is a benefit if your dog can respond to pointing. It is more difficult than luring, therefore, it is a good way to challenge your dog.

How to Play

Step 1: Lay out your spots at three varying distances, getting farther away from the couch with each spot. Start by standing at the spot closest to the couch.

Step 2: Point to the couch and tell your dog to go up. (This is an exercise that assumes your dog is allowed on the couch. If your dog is not allowed on the couch, you can use anything that requires two paws off the ground such as a pile of pillows or stool.) Say 'Yes" when your dog gets on the couch.

Step 3: Point to the ground and tell your dog "Off". Say "Yes" when four paws land on the ground. Give them a treat and say "Good Off". This step pairs the behavior of four paws on the ground with the command "Off".

*If they do not get off the first time, try pointing and saying "Off" for a second time. If they do not get off after the second time, lure them to the ground by putting a treat close to their nose and directing them to the ground. They should not be laying down on the couch, they should be following your directions and staying active.

Step 4: Repeat going on the couch and getting "off" three times, only giving treats when they do "Off".

Step 5: After three times of going up and off, tell your dog to go to his place. When he goes to his place (bed), say "Yes" and give him a treat and say "Good place".

Step 6: Repeat from your next farthest distance.

Distance 1: Closest to Couch

Distance 2: A Little Farther

Distance 3: Farthest

Exercise Notes:

- Keep making the spots farther away from the couch. The farther away, the more challenging. But we love to tell our dogs "off" from a distance so this is a good way to get an idea of the distance where they actually listen to you!

- You can add "Stay" to the "Place" command and have your dog stay in the bed after getting off the couch each round.

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