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The Four Point Down

What is a four point down? Why is it important and what does it actually do for the dog and the handler? Is it hard to achieve?

A dog going into a down/down stay what is the big deal. You tell the dog down and he lays down. Isn't that simple? No it is not that simple and when done incorrectly it makes not only problems for the dog but for the handler.

A four point down means exactly that. Four points must be touching the ground-2 elbows and the hocks of the animal. The dog when doing a four point down is straight as an arrow. He leans to neither the right or left. Because of the nature of the four point down he is alert, sharp and ready for what is coming next. Since he is neither leaning to the right or left and lying on his side he is not lethargic and lazy. To maintain the balance of the four point down he can be nothing but alert. When a dog does not do a four point down his tendency to roll over is greatly increased and his attentiveness is greatly decreased.

What it basically does for the dog is increase his stress level so his workability is greatly sharpened and enhanced. What is does for the handler is increase the scope of the animal through his attentiveness so his learning for other exercises become more precise and he learns more fluidly.

How is this wonder tool accomplished, easy as falling off a log. When teaching your dog a down do it close to a wall. Have the dog's shoulder, when sitting, touching the wall. When giving the down command have the dog down whereby his entire body is rubbing against the wall. On the other side have you leg against the dog so he cannot tilt the other way. Leave him in the position for a few seconds and break off the command (release the dog). STOP (standard operating procedure) go ballistic and lavish him with praise. Do this at varying intervals throughout the day. Always the same wall, always the same procedure. As he gets used to this wall increase the time he is down 30 seconds (depending on the dog) at a time until he reaches a 1/2 hour. Remember you are always with him with your leg next to him.

When the dog has gotten it down in the same wall area, go to different walls and complete the same procedures. Different walls are to be introduced one new wall at a time until the 30 minutes is reached per wall, then go to a different wall. When you feel he as gotten the idea and he is rock-hard on his down, a perfect four pointer, try him without the wall and without the leg supporting him. If he wavers and starts to tilt gently, ever so gently, help him to straighten out.

Now your dog has a four point down and his mind is as alert as a tack. See it wasn't that hard!

Written by Neal Seaman

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Aldo's Acres, Inc.
2810 Wise Road, Conway, South Carolina 29526
Phone: 843-365-5021

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