top of page

"Sleepy Head". A Cute Trick for Dogs!

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Teaching Your Dog to Place Its Head Flat on the Floor: A Step-by-Step Guide

Oreo being an adorable model for Sleepy-head


Training your dog to perform new tricks not only provides mental stimulation but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. One intriguing and adorable trick that you can teach your dog is to place its head flat on the floor. This trick showcases your dog's focus, control, and willingness to learn. In this article, we will guide you through the process of teaching your dog to place its head flat on the floor, step by step. If you practice this with enough consistency and patience, you can use it to take cute photos of your dog or jsut have fun with them!


This trick grows concepts in your dogs brain such as: engagement (they're engaged with you and vice versa!), focus (their attention is on you!), proximity ( they stay close to you because you're exciting!), grit (how hard they push through a challenge), motivation (your dog is motivated to learn and work hard) and optimism (what you're doing is positive and fun!) Your dogs brain is working hard with positive growth with one trick!

Step 1: Preparation


Before beginning the training process, gather the necessary supplies: treats, a clicker (optional), a comfortable floor space for you and your dog, and a quiet and distraction-free training area. I use a portion of my dogs daily food allowance. Ensure that your dog is ready to engage and learn (most dogs are EAGER to learn new tricks as it really works their brains, so why not make them work for their food instead!).


Step 2: Target Training

Target training is an effective technique to start with before moving on to the main trick. Begin by presenting two fingers to your dog's nose. As your dog touches the target with its nose, click (if using a clicker) or marker "good girl" and reward with a treat. Repeat this several times until your dog consistently touches the target. I mark using "Boop". Using your fingers is a good setup for teaching your dog to focus on your hands to look for command signals, which really engages their brains and builds concepts such as proximity, engagement and focus. Now that your dog knows your fingers are a reward based object we can move on to the next step.


Step 3: Transitioning to the Floor


Ask your dog to get into a down position. Once they are lying there focused on you, bring the treat under their snout and wait for them to dip their head inwards. Click and reward once they dip their head. Gradually bring your hand further away from their snout and extend the time between rewarding them to allow your dog to think for itself and dip its head. Click & reward them every time they dip their head even slightly. This section will require patience, as you want to go at your dogs pace. Remember they don't understand what we want and are trying really hard to figure it out. You may even notice your dogs eyes going red from all the brain power they are using!


Click & reward them every time they dip their head even slightly. This section will require patience, as you want to go at your dogs pace. Remember they don't understand what we want and are trying really hard to figure it out.

Once your dog understands to dip its head we want to work on them laying their head flat on the ground. Place your fingers on the ground and encourage your dog to touch them with its nose. Use the same mark/click and treat technique to reinforce this behavior. Gradually reduce the distance over time until your dog becomes comfortable touching the floor with its snout as they wait to boop your fingers!


Place your fingers on the ground and encourage your dog to touch them with its nose.


Step 4: Introducing the "Sleepy Head" Command


Once your dog is comfortable touching the floor with its snout, it's time to introduce the verbal cue. Choose a simple command, such as "head flat" or "sleepy head" and say it only when your dogs head is flat on the ground. Repeat this process, gradually reducing the distance between your fingers and your dog's nose until your dog responds to the command without needing to touch your fingers.



Step 5: Shaping the Behavior


To achieve the desired result of your dog placing its head flat on the floor, it's important to shape the behavior progressively. Gradually extend the time your dog keeps its head flat on the floor before rewarding. Initially, reward even the shortest moments of success and gradually increase the duration. Remember to offer verbal praise, treats or strokes to reinforce the behavior.


reward even the shortest moments of success and gradually increase the duration. Remember to offer verbal praise, treats or strokes to reinforce the behavior.

Step 6: Adding Distance and Distractions


Once your dog understands the concept of placing its head flat on the floor, introduce distractions and gradually increase the level of difficulty. Start by practicing the trick in different areas of your home, then gradually introduce distractions such as toys or other people. Remember to reward and praise your dog each time it successfully performs the trick in a distracting environment.


Step 7: Consistency and Practice


Consistency and regular practice are key to successful training. Dedicate short, focused training sessions to reinforce the trick. Be patient and avoid rushing the process. Dogs learn at different paces, so adjust your training accordingly.


Remember to approach the training process with patience, positivity, and consistency.


Once Oreo mastered the trick, I dressed her up in a cute hat for some adorable photos!


Teaching your dog to place its head flat on the floor is a fun and challenging trick that can impress your family and friends. Remember to approach the training process with patience, positivity, and consistency. With time and practice, your furry friend will master this adorable trick. Enjoy the journey of training and bonding with your dog, and celebrate each small achievement along the way. Dogs work really hard to understand us and deserve to be praised for all that brain power. Once your dog can do this successfully it can be transferred into training games and cute photos!



0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page