Being able to put your German Shepherd into a down-stay is incredibly useful.
I like to teach what’s called a “fold-back” down, where the dog folds his hind legs and drops his front legs into a down, from a standing position. If you’re competing, your dog can get into this position quickly from motion, and you don’t risk him creeping forward. If not, it’s a great way to get a fast down out-of-motion for emergency stops.
Take a look at how I teach GSD puppies to do a fold-back down:
And here’s a look at a finished fold-back down:
Tips for teaching ‘down-stay’
Stay beside, not in front of your dog while working on “down.”
Keep the treat on your dog’s nose, and let him lick at it until his elbows hit the ground. If his rear pops up in the air, remove your hand from his nose and try again.
Feed two or more treats once your pup lies down, to keep him from popping up again.
If your dog is having difficulty lying down on slick wood or concrete, try teaching the down indoors on carpet or grass first.
Follow the rules for regular stays to extend the amount of time your dog stays down.