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’re going to add distance, duration and distraction to the sit, and teach the dog that he must maintain the position until released.  You’ll need to increase your criteria very slowly for this exercise.

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.

PREREQUISITS

STEP 1

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog as soon as you’ve moved one foot.  Do this quickly in order to minimise the chances of hime getting up.

  • Ask your dog to sit, varying whether you use a hand signal or verbal command
  • As soon as the dog’s bottom hits the floor
  • Move one foot to the side and immediately back again, varying which foot you move
  • 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 2

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog as soon as you’ve taken a side step.  Do this quickly in order to minimise the chances of hime getting up.

  • Ask your dog to sit, varying whether you use a hand signal or verbal command
  • As soon as the dog’s bottom hits the floor
  • Move take a step to the side and immediately back again, varying whether you move to the left or the right
  • 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

Criteria

  • Repeat step 2 5 times, adding a step, until you can walk a complete circle around the dog

STEP 4

Criteria

  • Repeat step 3, varying the pace at which you move

STEP 5

Criteria

  • Repeat all steps in increasingly distracting environments

HELP

  • Ensure that you increase the criteria very slowly to ensure sucess.

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.