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Training tips with Jeff - the command "Sit"

In our last session we discussed how to prevent jumping. When teaching a dog to not do certain unwanted behaviors you will want to have a new behavior that you can redirect your dog to. A natural redirect would be to sit as that requires no movement which eliminates the ability to jump.

As with any new behavior we want to start with a high value motivator. One of my favorite methods is to portion out the daily allotment of food. After portioning out your dogs meal use a portion of that to do your training with. This will keep your dog from over eating and also keep his prey drive up. A dog with a full tummy might not be as motivated.

First you will want to have your dog under control with a collar and 6’ leash. Using no pressure or tension with the leash, get your dogs attention by holding one piece of kibble with your index finger, middle finger, and thumb. Present the lure (kibble) to the dog and let him sniff or lick it to identify that it is something that he wants. Do not let him have it at first, let him struggle a bit to get it, and then allow him to take it. This will teach the idea that he will have to make effort to gain access to the kibble. Once he begins to move toward the lure consistently with no hesitation, begin to raise the lure upwards and moving it backwards so that he will want to sit in order to keep the lure in reach. Once he is in complete sit position mark the wanted behavior by saying yes and giving the reward. You will want to repeat this several times a day. Remember to never give the reward unless the dog is in the sit position.

It is important to not be in a hurry to move to the next step. Next you will want to get your dog to perform this behavior several times before a reward is given. This will teach the concept of indirect path to success. Once you have achieved this you will start to give the command only using the hand motion over the dogs head to courage the behavior. Practice this behavior until you have 100% success.

Next time we will explore advanced sit behaviors.

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