Sitting

The Sit and Stay is one of the simplest and yet most useful commands you can teach your dog. It gives you a wonderfully easy way to control him when you need to most. It's also one of the most basic commands that you and your dog can quickly accomplish.

The importance of teaching a dog to sit and stay can't be overemphasized. Not only does Buddy stop jumping up on Grandma when she walks into the house, but when the door opens, he won't run into the street.

Use the "Sit and Stay" command when you want your dog to remain quietly in one spot. For example, Kaiser, a German Shepherd, would become so excited when Jane was about to feed him that he sent the dish flying out of her hands. After teaching him the Sit and Stay, he sat like a perfect gentleman when she put his dish down.

Getting your dog to sit — the easy part

Teaching your dog to sit on command is quite simple.

1. Show your dog a small, bite-sized treat, holding it just a little in front of his eyes, slightly over his head.

2. Say "Sit" as you bring your hand above his eyes. When your dog looks up at the treat, he should sit.

3. When he sits, give him the treat and tell him what a good puppy he is.

Tell him without petting him. If you pet him at the same time as you praise him, he'll probably get up, but what you really want him to do is sit. Praising is verbal, such as saying "good" or "good dog" in a pleasant tone of voice. Rewarding is giving the dog a treat for a correct response while he's still in position. For example, if your dog gets up after you told him to sit, and you then give him a treat, you're rewarding his getting up and not the Sit.

When using this method of teaching your dog to sit, position your hand properly in relation to the dog's head. If your hand is held too high, your dog will jump up; if it's too low, he won't sit. Hold your hand about two inches above his head.

4. If your dog doesn't respond on his own, say "Sit" again and physically place your dog into a Sit position by placing your left hand under his tail and behind his knees and your right hand on his chest, and then tuck him into a Sit (see Chapter 2).

5. Keep your hands still and count to five, before giving him the treat.

6. Practice making your dog sit five times in a row for five days.

Some dogs catch on to this idea so quickly that they sit in front of their owner whenever they want a treat.

Getting your dog to sit on command — the next part

When your dog understands what the word "Sit" means, you can start to teach him to obey your command.

1. Put the treat in your right hand and keep it at your side.

2. Put one or two fingers, depending on the size of your dog, of your left hand through his training collar at the top of his neck, palm facing up, and tell him to sit.

If he sits, give him a treat and tell him how good he is while taking your hand out of the collar. If he doesn't sit, pull up on his collar and wait until he sits, and then praise and reward him with a treat.

3. Practice until he sits on command — that is, without having to pull up on or touch the collar.

4. Give him a treat and praise him for every correct response, keeping him in position to the count of five.

As your dog demonstrates that he has mastered sitting on command, start to reward the desired response every other time. Finally, reward him on a random basis — every now and then give him a treat after he sits on command. A random reward is the most powerful reinforcement of what your dog has learned. It's based on the premise that hope springs eternal. To make the random reward work, all you have to do is use it and keep using it!

Now when Buddy wants to greet you by jumping up, tell him to sit. When he does, praise him, scratch him under the chin, and then release him. Following this simple method consistently, you can change your dog's greeting behavior from trying to jump on you to sitting to being petted.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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