The sit

This trick doesn’t work.

Let me explain…

Back in the day when I got my first dog and I wanted to train her, the first place I turned was the internet.  Many MANY articles and videos later I came away with the idea that training my dog to sit, was the cure-all for unwanted behaviors such as jumping.  After all, your dog can’t jump while they’re sitting right?

WRONG

It’s pretty amazing watching a puppy go from a complete standstill to all four feet in the air at once but this seems to be their favorite way to show you they love you when going through the door.  It really doesn’t matter how many times you tell them to sit either.

This isn’t a post about how to stop your dogs jumping when you go in and out, that’s later.  This is about how to train sitting into you and your dog’s routine.   Also, I have to say that training your dog is a very subjective experience, and your dog may do really really well at sitting when they’re excited.  Consistency is key, and dogs can be trained to do many things, but don’t expect your dog to sit in exciting situations just because you’ve spent a few afternoons teaching them how.

Why sit?

I use sit for several things.  First, I teach them to sit before they eat.  They are not allowed to go near the food until they sit (and I release them from sitting) because they have a tendency to knock the food bowl out of my hands.  I don’t like that.  Second, I don’t like my dogs to rush out the door when I’m letting them outside to play, so I make them sit.   Third, I make them sit while I’m putting on (AND TAKING OFF) their leashes.  It’s just easier to hold on to them when they’re sitting.  There are other times I use sit, but these are the main ones.

HOW TO SIT

Here is how I train all of my dogs to sit.  It’s definitely not the only method, but this has never failed for me.

 

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When you are starting out, praise your dog whenever you see them sit.  The important thing here is timing.  If you see the dog sitting IMMEDIATELY praise him by giving him loves.  I don’t usually carry dog treats around with me, but if you do that works too.  Just make sure you praise your dog while it’s in the act of sitting.

Okay, that’s the easy part.  Once you are ready to have your dog sit on command you must have treats of some kind.  Show them the treat (maybe give them one to sample) then hold it above their head and draw it back.  The dog will either sit or back up.  If they back up maybe try next to a wall.  When they start to sit, give them the command, and then the treat when they finish.  Repeat until your dog associates the word sit with the movement of sitting.  When they understand that, your work has just started!  Now you have to reinforce the command everywhere.  When you’re walking, when you’re in the back yard, in the driveway, in the car… you get the picture.  If you only teach your dog to sit in the living room, your dog will think “sit” means ” I have to put my  on the floor if I’m in the living room.”  I’ll write an article about this sometime.

 

I think that’s about it!  What methods have you used to train your dog to sit?  Do you use sit to stop your dog from jumping?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

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