Most dogs especially puppies when they are first starting out just follow the food. Here in this clip I am trying to teach this dog to lay down for longer and longer periods so I position myself and the food as to encourage the dog to stay down. Keep the food lower than the dog’s head. This way the dog will naturally stay in a down position longer and longer. It will make training the down easy and you won’t give as many mixed signals. Keep the food low and your dog will stay low.
To get the dog to sit I tap his paws with my feet and he pops right up. Then I keep the food up high so he can follow the food and keep his head up and stay in a sit. Remember dogs will always do the behavior right if you don’t give them a chance to do it wrong. You can see this dog is catching on quickly and in short order I can keep the food at a higher level and the dog stays in a down. The other thing I do is train the dog on all sorts of surface areas.
Last thing. Did you see how the dog went from enthusiastically jumping on the place boards to just lying down on the ground right next to it? That’s when you know your dog is done for the moment. If that were my dog I would kennel or crate him for and hour or so then train for about 5 more minutes. Do that a few times per day. When you see your dog start to loose steam and enthusiasm, that is when it is time to stop and give it a break. If you keep going then it becomes tedious and stressful.