How do you get your dog to learn how to sit?

asked 2015-09-05 13:41:45 -0600

When we give our dog treats, we wan't him to sit instead of standing. He does things in a different way. Would love to hear ideas from anyone .

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a gentle tap on the bum while commanding or hold treat above head almost out of sight for the dog. it will force him/her to sit, trying to get the treat. once they sit , even if its on accident, make a really big deal out of it, use treats , jump up and down , give praise to the dog and use phrases like"good sit" so that the dog will put the command, the action and the after math all together and realize that he or she will want to sit for you more often. *consistency is key to ALL training.

Alexcis H.'s profile image Alexcis H.  ( 2015-09-07 19:51:27 -0600 ) edit

Take a treat and move it slowly over your dogs head. As your dog looks up and follows the treat, his rear should sit down. Never force a dogs hind quarters down.

Lisa C.'s profile image Lisa C.  ( 2015-10-05 03:18:04 -0600 ) edit

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answered 2015-09-05 14:05:40 -0600

There are a lot of ways to teach a dog to sit on cue, or to sit automatically (sit to say please). If you want to take an active role, lure training is a good way to start. You hold the treat in your hand close to his nose, and slowly move your hand back over the top of his head. You want the treat and his nose to be like two poles of a magnet, stuck together so his face follows your hand. As you move the hand back, he should naturally fall into a sit position, at which point you praise him and give him the treat. After you do it a few times, he should start to anticipate what you want from him and go into the sit position more readily without needing the treat to be so close to his nose. At this point try moving the treat to the other hand so he's not focused directly on the treat, but on your hand motion. Then you can start pairing the cue with the action, saying "sit" right before his butt hits the ground. After many repetitions of that he should pretty well associate the cue with the action, and you can start to ask for the sit first.

You can also start using the capturing method, where you simply praise and treat whenever he sits on his own. This isn't actively training, you're just going to keep treats on you so that you can capture in real time when he chooses to sit on his own. This lets him know that you appreciate that behavior and he'll start to offer sits more and more. If you want him to offer a sit as a way of asking please when he wants something from you, just wait silently until he chooses to sit (most dogs will go through their repertoire of behaviors that have gotten them rewarded in the past if they're unsure what you want) and then reward him by giving him what he's asked for. Eventually he'll catch on that if he wants to eat dinner or have his leash put on or get pets, he has to say please first, and will offer sits readily. You can pair the cue with the behavior in the case, as well, again by just saying "sit" as he does it until he associates the verbal cue with the behavior.

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Hi Laura, that was great advice. I will try that next time.

Dawn S.'s profile image Dawn S.  ( 2015-09-10 13:07:49 -0600 ) edit
answered 2015-09-06 17:24:16 -0600

What a great question! I am a big, big proponent of capturing when training sits (and downs). I like my dogs to be active, engaged thinkers whose good behaviors are not dependent on me.
I think of it kind of like teaching your child to pick up his socks. I could go through the process of teaching him to respond to my pick-up-your-socks cue, but I eventually want him to pick up his socks without being told. So, if start there, and simply capture the behavior without giving instructions, than I never have to wean him off the instructions. Obviously, not a perfect example, but that's the general idea. That's not to say luring is wrong, it's just not my first choice.
I am, however, pretty opposed to physical manipulation (i.e. pull up on the collar and push down on the rump). In that scenario, we're not really teaching the dog to sit, we're teaching him to yield to pressure, and then teaching him that to avoid that unpleasant sensation, he should fold himself into a sit before we push down. I'd rather have a dog sit because he wants to, not because he's avoiding something.

I would disagree only ever so slightly with Laura's comment that capturing is not active training. You can actively train with capturing, but I suppose it might depend on what is meant by "active". When I train, or coach owners to train, a sit, I do use training sessions, they just might look different than a training session that uses luring. For sit, I put 10 treats on a table or chair (out of the dog's reach), and wait for a sit. I click, or say, "yes!" the moment he sits and then feed a treat while he is sitting. I toss a treat away so he gets up, and then repeat. I also make heavy use of Laura's suggestion of Say Please First, or Life Rewards. Is that what you meant by active, Laura?

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Essentially I meant that you don't have to engage in what most would consider to be training sessions - you can use any opportunity throughout your day to recognize a behavior and reward it. You can be sitting there watching TV, and if you see your dog willingly sit, you can recognize that you like that behavior with praise or treats. I do this a lot when a new dog comes into my house, since I want them to feel comfortable and relaxed. I give them quiet praise and pets (if they like that) whenever they give me a more relaxed behavior, like sitting or laying down. I don't tend to use formal training sessions for capturing most of the time, but I agree that what you describe is active and also capturing.

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2015-09-07 03:04:19 -0600 ) edit
answered 2019-11-12 18:22:28 -0600

make it sit on top on the tip of a pole

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