Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New Ebook
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Alternative Methods for Teaching the Sit Command
Sometimes, if you're having trouble getting your dog to understand a command, it's not the dog's fault. It may simply be that you're training in the wrong environment. Ask yourself a few questions, like:
Is my dog getting distracted with something in the environment?
Am I using highly motivational rewards?
Is my dog sick, tired, hungry, or have some other problem that could make it hard for her to concentrate?
Whenever you run into a problem behavior or can't get a command to stick, the environment is always the first place to look for the solution – because it's much easier to change the environment than it is to change your dog's natural behavior. Take the easy road.
If you're sure it's not an environmental factor but just the fact that the first technique doesn't work for your dog, here's another one you can try. In this method you'll be physically moving the dog into the sitting position and then rewarding him. Follow the same steps as for the first method, but this time as you draw the treat back over the dog's head, use your other hand to gently press down on his rear end. The key word here is ‘gently' – don't force him down. Pushing a dog (especially a puppy) into a sitting position can cause damage to the knee joints.
Capturing a Natural "Sit"
Some dogs are very stubborn and won't respond to either of the training methods listed above. That's alright though, because there is another alternative. Professional dog trainers use this third method to teach obedience with particularly hard-to-train dogs. The idea is you're going to "capture" the sitting movement every time your dog does it on her own, and attach a command to it.
It's best to focus on teaching one command at a time with this method. You'll need to keep treats on you or nearby throughout the day. When you see that your dog is about to sit down, anticipate the move and say "Good dog" as soon as she sits. Give her a treat as quickly as possible afterwards. This technique is not only useful for the Sit – it can be used to teach a wide array of commands to dogs that don't respond well to typical training methods.
Next time: Basic Training Commands – The Come Command
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