Training Your Cat: Lie Down

What You’ll Need

  • Your cat at mealtime
  • A quiet room where the cat is comfortable
  • A specific command (in this case, the word "down"), preceded by your cat’s name ("Scooter, down")
  • Your positive signal (a clicker, or an upbeat word such as "yes")
  • The reward (his favorite food or special treats)

Training Steps

1. Gently sit the cat on the table at the edge nearest to you, and pet him so he is comfortable.

2. Holding the food reward in one hand slightly below and in front of the table (but not close enough that he can grab it), give the command "Scooter, down."

3. When the cat lowers himself to reach for the food, hit the clicker (or use your positive sound) and say "down, good down." Immediately give him his food reward.

4. Eventually your cat should respond to the command "down" and a downward gesturing of your hand, without the food being held below the table’s edge.

5. Once your cat has learned this behavior consistently, you no longer need to place him on a table.

As with teaching "sit," in the beginning you might have to gently help your cat into position for this trick. Be gentle and patient. Remember not to frustrate or frighten your cat. If he resists, try again another time.