So Your Dog Knows Sit. Now What?
by Robin MacFarlane
Sit-ProofingJust about every dog knows a Sit command. It seems the universal behavior that most anyone who owns a dog teaches at some point early in the dog / human relationship.
Over my years of training, many people who bring their dog to me for a behavioral evaluation comment, "but he already knows how to Sit". I referenced this common response in this article about proofing a dog's training for reliability.
These people are correct in believing that their dog understands how to put its butt on the ground, but what they are struggling with is understanding how to build on that basic knowledge so that the training of Sit actually has a useful purpose.
So once your dog knows Sit, what should you do with it?
One of the first things is to figure out what situations it would be valuable for your dog to Sit rather than doing something else that you find annoying.
Take for example, the situation when you are out for a walk and someone asks to pet your dog. Many dogs have the habit of jumping on people to be greeted, or they do the ever embarrassing, nose-poke to the private parts. It would be so much easier and less humiliating to have a dog that could plant their rear and keep it there as people say hello.
What about the dog that does the overly exuberant, happy-dance whenever you want to clip on a leash to go for that walk? All the chasing and trying to corral the bouncing dog could be solved if Sit always meant, put your butt on the ground and keep it there.
But this is exactly where many people struggle. They teach the basic behavior but don't develop their dog's understanding to make it really solid and reliable.
The next steps are to add reliability by practicing Sit with all sorts of distractions going on.
Have your dog Sit when you put down the food bowl. Do not let the dog break position until you give permission. This means every single time the dog attempts to go to the bowl as you are moving it toward the floor you will stop what you're doing and remind the dog to sit.
Have your dog Sit when other dogs are approaching you on the walk. Step off to the side if you need to create some distance from the other pooch, but use your leash, a lure, your body language or a correction if needed and get your dog to follow through.
Have your dog Sit when you open the door. Whether it is the door to go outside or the door of your car, insist your dog Sit and remain in that position until you give a permission cue to move.
Now have your dog Sit when you open the door and there is actually someone on the other side, like the pizza guy or the mailman. This means being prepared, but if you know you ordered pizza delivery, you know he's coming to the door relatively soon. Get a leash on the dog and enforce what you've told your dog to do. When a dog actually begins to realize we mean what we say, we start to get the results that we want.
The purpose of training isn't just to get your dog to do fun or cute behaviors. The purpose is to develop communication that gives you a way to organize your life with your dog into a peaceful co-existence.
Dogs who can follow through, even when distracted are dogs that get to enjoy way more quality time integrated into their owner's lives.
Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
FREE or only a penny with the following collars:
Delta XC, Delta SPORT XC
Dogtra IQ Plus
and several more...
Here's Why You Should Train Your DogDoes Your Dog Know her Place?Teaching a Recall? Start Slow and Make the Dog SuccessfulTeaching the Down CommandHouse Manners"Pay Me!"How to Strengthen Your Dog's Understanding of "Stay"How Long Does My Dog have to Wear the E-Collar?Consistency Without an E-collarSkills Every Puppy Should LearnDogs and Doorbells -- Oh My!Stop Your Dog from Bolting to the Door!Use Food Lures to Shape Your Puppies Introduction to Sit, Stand and DownPuppy Training 101: Play Biting ProblemTeaching Your Puppy to "Kennel Up"Dog Tricks: How to Teach Your Dog to Walk BackwardsWant a Standing Ovation? Teach Your Dog to "Take A Bow!"Want Your Dog to Come to You? Try Moving Away from Him."Catch me if you can!"Tired of Fido Stealing Your Snacks?E-Collar, Leash, Treats, Toy, and the Dog. How to Manage it All!Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog to DanceBefore You Expect a Dog to Stay on a Place, Teach Him to get on Willingly.Adding E-Collar Prompting to your Place CommandImpulse Control Games are a Time Well Spent Playing with your Dog!Juggling All Your Training Equipment?
FREE Dog Training VideosProper Fit of E-CollarIs Your Dog Collar Wise?"How long does my dog have to wear the collar?"Pressure NecrosisUsing Treats in TrainingCan I Use an E-Collar on My Small Dog?I Need a Shock Collar!Dog Training: Keeping it Real: Training Your Dog Should be EasyWhy Would I Want to Use an E-Collar on My Dog?A Tired Dog is a Good DogThree Things You Must Know to Have a Reliably Trained DogAre Remote Collars Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Motivators?The Best Way to Rescue a DogIt is More than Just Pushing a Button: Part OneWhat About the Leash?Tennis Ball, Tug or Cookie? What do Rewards Have to do with Good Training?The More Important Tool: Part 4 of "It Is More Than Just Pushing a Button."Do You Need Impeccable Timing in Order to Use a Remote Collar?What Does Your Dog's Future Look Like?6 Essential Things to Teach to Have a Good DogThe Top 3 Reasons Your Remote Collar Doesn't Seem to be WorkingHow Long Does It Take to Train My Dog?Put a Plan Into Motion for Dealing With Your Dog's Behavior Problems!Why are You Grateful for Your Dog?Are You Struggling to Get Your Dog to Stay? Try This.There are Only 3 Levels on a Remote Training Collar?The One Thing You Must Know if You Want to Train with an E-CollarHow to Help Your Dog Understand What You WantPhotos: One Great Reason to Teach a Place Command to Your DogNew Puppy TipsSit? or Sit! -- The Case for Intonation When Speaking to Your DogNumber of CommandsSo Your Dog Knows Sit. Now What?20 Reasons to Teach a Place CommandE-Collar Use: Training vs. EnforcingKnow How to Train a Dog, Know How to Use a Remote Collar?5 Ways to Enhance Feeding Time"But my dog doesn't like it."Outwit Your Dogs if You Want Better BehaviorWeaning Off E-Stim: Tap, Tell or HelpProofing: How to Help Your Dog Really "Get It."Should Your Dog Sleep on the Bed With You?Human Body LanguageGood Health: The Missing Link for a Happy and Well-Adjusted Dog?Are You the Center of Your Dog's World?E-Collar Training: Be Sure to Do This Before You Go Off LeashWhat Behavior are You Rewarding the Most?The Importance of Routine Nail Trims for Your DogWhen is the Right Time to Start Training My Dog?Is it Important that a Dog Learn to Heel?3 Things to do Right Now to Avoid Separation Issues with Your DogTraining Your Dog to Stop BarkingHow to Use a No Bark Collar