Teaching your dog the difference between ‘sit’ and ‘lie down’ is great fun for you and your dog, it also is a great way to build confidence. So often dogs know how to sit and to lie down – but only in that order!
Try asking a dog to ‘sit’ when they are already in the lie down position, can they do it?
You can practice these cues by doing puppy push ups! (not limited to puppies) To teach a puppy push up, we will use a tasty treat and the luring technique. We are going to guide our dog into certain positions using a reward that they love.
Start by asking your dog to sit, then asking them to lie down. Now we are going to ask them to sit again, can they do it? If not, use that tasty treat and place it close to their nose, slowly bring it upwards so they follow the treat with their noses. It is very likely that your dog will use their front paws to push themselves up and go back into a sit position, so they are closer to the treat, once in that position give them the treat and praise.
Now ask them to lie down, then sit, then lie down. We can do this lots of times using the luring technique, and gradually we can remove the use of the lure and just use the verbal cue or the hand signal.
If your dog gets really good at these, you could add 'stand' too, following exactly the same process!