Lure and Reward
- Hold a treat tightly in your hand and and place your hand just above your dog’s nose. Draw your hand back toward his skull, encouraging him to keep smelling and/or licking your fist. As his nose goes up, his rear will naturally go down toward the floor.
- Give him the treat as soon as his back legs start to fold into a sit position.
- If your dog keeps backing up then put him in front of a wall.
- Reward increments of the final sit position instead of waiting for him to go all the way into the sit. Some dogs are reluctant to sit so need encouragement along the way. Even if you cannot get him to go into the sit, his muscles will remember how to work on their own and in his next session or two he’ll eventually sit.
- After 10 or 15 successful repetitions, lure without any food – just your fist. Be sure to quickly give a treat hidden in your other hand.
- Hold your fist too high up, the dog will start jumping up to get the treat.
- Hold your fist too far in front of his nose, the dog will start taking steps forward.
You can also teach your dog to sit by waiting until your dog does it on his own. Have your treats ready for immediately rewarding your dog.
Add the verbal cue
- Since you lured the dog with your fist moving back over his head, you automatically have a hand signal for this behavior. If you want to add a verbal cue then you can start saying "sit", or whatever word you choose as soon as his rear end hits the floor.
- Continue using your hand signal with the verbal cue for several days, before fading away the hand signal.
- Duration (the automatic stay without having to say the word "stay")
- Wait one half second after your dog sits before giving a treat. Repeat several times.
- Continue increasing the time.
- Be sure to practice duration in a distraction-free environment
- Ask for too much too soon. A laid back, easy-going dog may learn a three-minute sit in only a few training sessions. A high-energy dog make take a week.
Distraction – must train duration first
- Stand very close to your dog and have him sit. Now squeak a toy or let something fall from your hand. Be subtle with your initial distractions. Repeat several times.
- If your dog breaks the sit just repeat your cue and lessen your distraction. Always set him up for success, not failure.
- Get creative with your distractions: Wave your arms around, feign a sneeze or cough, ring the doorbell, sit on the floor, hold his food bowl, and eventually place a piece of food on the ground far away from him. Repeat each step several times before moving on to another distraction.
- Provide an overwhelming distraction at the beginning of your training. A hot dog placed a foot away from the dog would be more than most dogs could handle early on in their Sit Stay training!
Distance – must train duration and distraction first
- While you are in standing position, have your dog sit. Take a step backward. Quickly return to dog. Give a treat. Repeat several times.
- Take a step sideways. Quickly return to dog, and treat. Repeat several times.
- Increase to two steps backward. Repeat several times.
- Continue increasing the distance.
If it suddenly seems that your dog cannot stay in position then you’ve gone too far, too fast. Go back a few steps in your training.
Dogs don’t train poorly, they just have poor trainers. You’ll be amazed at how quickly dogs learn desired behaviors with the proper training.
Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer
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