Sit

WHAT YOU ARE TRAINING

You’re teaching the dog to sit when asked.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAIN THIS

  • Basic manners
  • Safety
  • If a dog is sitting then he’s not…
    • jumping up at people
    • running onto the road

HOW YOU WILL TRAIN THIS

You’ll use the lure-reward method to guide the dog into the sit position.  

PUSH, STICK, DROP?

Make sure that with each step of the training you know what your criteria is; what your dog needs to do in order to get a reward.

Perform each step 5 times.

  • If your dog gets it right at least 4 times you’re ready to push to the next step
  • If your dog gets it right 3 times, stick with this step until you can achieve a higher success rate
  • If your dog gets it right 2 times of less, drop back to the previous step

Using this method will allow you not only to quantify your success but to move through the training steps more quickly.

STEP 1

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog as soon as his bottom hits the floor.

  • Hold a treat slightly above the dog’s nose
  • Move your hand slightly upwards and towards the dog, this will cause the dog’s nose to go upwards and backwards which will cause their back end to lower and hit the floor
  • As soon as the dog’s bottom hits the floor
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Reward
  • Repeat 5 times

STEP 2

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog as soon as his bottom hits the floor.  In order to help the dog maintain the position, you’ll continue to feed treats (treats stop if the dog gets up).  Initially these treats will need to be delivered quickly to avoid the dog getting up.  Rather than telling him to stay, you’ll teach your dog to maintain his position until he’s released.

  • Hold a treat slightly above the dog’s nose
  • Move your hand slightly upwards and towards the dog, this will cause the dog’s nose to go upwards and backwards which will cause their back end to lower and hit the floor
  • As soon as the dog’s bottom hits the floor
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Reward
  • Reward
  • Reward
  • Reward
  • Release (‘free’)
  • Throw a treat far enough away that the dog has to get up to get it (but not so far that he doesn’t see it)
  • Repeat 5 times

STEP 3

  • Repeat step 2, gradually increasing the interval between each reward

STEP 4

  • Repeat step 2, varying the interval between each reward

HELP

  • Dogs understand hand signals better than verbal commands so you won’t use a verbal command until the dog is reliably sitting using a hand signal.
  • Ensure that you give your dog lots of praise when giving him the treat.

HOMEWORK

  • Ask each member of the family to do these exercises with your dog (you can use your dog’s kibble and add treats intermittently).
  • Vary the locations where you do this exercises; different rooms in the house, in the garden, when you’re out for a walk.
  • Capture the sit; praise your dog when he sits without being asked.
  • Walk around with your dog, stop and wait for him to sit, without being asked.  Be sure to give him lots of praise when he does sit.
  • Get your dog to sit before crossing the road.  If you do this consistently at every curb, eventually he’ll automatically sit when he comes to a curb.
  • Get your dog to sit before putting his lead on.  If you do this consistently, eventually he’ll automatically sit when the lead comes out.  A dog is normally less excited when he’s in the sit position.

MORE READING

You’re using ‘lure-reward’ training to put a behaviour on cue.