The Difference Between Plouts and Platz
Although this sounds very similar to your dog; Plouts are a hybrid between a plum and an apricot (quite yummy I might add) and Platz is the German command for “Down” in dog training.
I often use German commands because I like something a little different, it keeps my dogs paying attention to me (usually no one else in a class is using German), and it became habit when I worked with police and protection dogs.
Last week I was at a new client’s home helping her with some basic and not so basic dog training for her 8 month old puppy.
When I asked her to put her puppy into a “Down” she reminded me that the “Down” command and behavior is not as easy to train for some dogs and their people. And her dog had not mastered the skill, well at least not on command!
Why is The Down Command Difficult?….
Down, is a submissive position and in order to assume it the dog must feel comfortable with the person and in the situation.
Don’t believe me? Ask your dog to lay down while a bunch of other dogs run at him at the dog park! It requires some vulnerability. It is hard to defend yourself while you are laying down!
And, some dogs don’t like to show any signs of vulnerability or show submission.
It can also be because people (like my new client) yell; “GET DOWN, GET DOWN, STAY DOWN” at their dogs when they jump. This can be extremely confusing. If you are already using “Down” in this manner use another command=Platz or Drop as long as you and your family are consistent it doesn’t matter what you use!
I Don’t recommend LAY Down because “lay” sounds like “stay” and you may eventually have cross over problems!
Start at Home with Little to NO Distractions
- And, understand that this behavior needs to be reinforced and worked on in many different areas with many different levels of distractions.
- My Ultimate Goal Would Be Dog Park or Wal-Mart Parking Lot!
What You Need
- Your Dog
- His Favorite Treat
- His Favorite Toy
- Your Clicker
I don’t even use a leash at first. I don’t want to have to force my dog into a “Down” I want to encourage him and convince him that he likes and that he wants to assume the position.
Get your treats (I recommend treats for the learning stage unless your dog is only motivated by toys) and get your puppy to sit by either commanding him or raising the treat above his nose until his bottom hits the ground.
Next, slowly move that same treat (that is mostly hidden in your hand) close to your dog’s chest and toward the floor going in between in front legs and back towards his body.
This action, in toward his body, usually gets his body to crumple into the down position.
Pulling the treat in between his legs and out toward the room or his paws, he may stand back up.
If his butt pops up you can place him in front of a piece of furniture when you get him to sit.
As soon as those elbows hit the ground, click and reward!
Continue to play this game until your dog is getting the idea.
Tips To Make This Easier…
Reward your dog for choosing to lay down on his own!
Whenever you catch him laying down, click and reward, praise and pet!
Soon your dog will have the idea that you want him to lay down and he will be listening to your commands!
The final step is to increase the amount of time you have him lay down and increase the amount of distractions!
>NOTE: Chet has a series of exercises for helping your dog obey commands even in HEAVILY distracting situations (like squirels running in front of your dog 😉 He teaches these techniques in his ‘Dream Dog’ program that is all about teaching your dog to be more calm, less distracted and more confident in chaotic, distracting situations. That course is available here:
Not all dogs take to learning down as easily but if you reward the behavior and use lots of fun, games, treats and interaction I know that you too will soon have a dog that is familiar with the “Platz” position!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.