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Back to Basics: Teaching the Sit Command

by Robin MacFarlane

These are some simple techniques I believe most anyone can perform.

I appreciate how a remote training collar can provide us security in running our dogs off leash. Having a great recall is the surest way to be able to provide our dogs some of the freedoms I believe they should be able to experience.

The downside of educating people about this tool is the worry that some may misunderstand and assume that the e-collar is a sort of remote control like we use to turn the television on. It is not. We can't just push the button and the dog suddenly changes behavior and listens to us.

It is a tool that we must take the time to teach the dog to understand.

When teaching with it, it is our responsibility to know how to help the dog understand the desired behavior we are trying to achieve.

You can push the button on an e-collar all you want, but if you first don't understand some simple ways to teach a particular behavior, adding the collar to the mix won't fix the problem.

So let me start with one of the most basic behaviors: the Sit position.

There are a number of ways to teach a dog to put their butt on the ground on command. After all, it is not a unique behavior. Dogs do it on their own all the time. However, if we want to add a cue to it, we either have to always wait for it to happen and name it (capturing), OR we have to find ways to prompt (shaping) the behavior.

I am going to focus on ways to shape the behavior by either Lure and Reward methods or Modeling and Molding it. These are such simple techniques I believe most anyone can perform them.

Plus, I like the advantage that teaching these ways automatically builds in additional cues for the dog other than just the verbal signal. By creating certain touch or other subtle pressure cues, such as laying a hand on the shoulder blades or putting your foot on the leash, you can communicate with your dog without speaking to them.

This can come in handy if you are in the middle of a conversation with someone. You can cue the dog into a behavior without breaking the conversation with your other friends.

So here is a look at a few of these techniques while teaching a Sit command.

-- Robin

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.
  • Robin writes for Gun Dog Supply on our E-collars Dog Training blog
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  • Pull-Quote= There is more than one way to teach Sit.

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