Every other month, our pet expert and Canine Coaches dog trainer, Jill Bailey, will answer your pet questions. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Canine Coaches visit caninecoaches.com. This month, we’re talking about how important it is to teach your dog to sit. This is a basic instruction and one of the first most people learn in introductory puppy classes. As you move forward and add more steps to this position exercise, it will become evident how helpful this basic direction can be.
Much like any other behavior, training the sit command can be done by using a food lure. It’s very important to praise the dog a lot when you are getting the behavior you desire. Training takes repetition, so you’ll want to practice this with your dog over and over. Be sure to mix it up – you should do this while standing and sitting, be sure to have your dog to the left, right and in front of you. You’ll also want to practice the behavior in different areas. As your dog gets better and better at the behavior, you can begin to increase the distractions in the areas you are training in. This is very important because generalizing a behavior for your dog is a must. Generalizing basically means to teach your dog to perform a certain behavior in different environments and situations. If you need help with this, there are great videos online to help walk you through the steps. Just do a search on how to teach your dog to sit and find the video that works best for you.
Remember, the sit command can be the base for so many things: sitting at doorways before darting out, sitting on the sidewalk before crossing a road and sitting in the car until released when opening car doors. Teaching your dog to sit and stay on walks while you pick up after them is also very helpful, since there can be so many distractions during a walk. That being said, I personally use it for a couple different things; one is to get my dog to calm down on walks. If he sees something that gets him excited, we stop and he sits for a minute to relax. I also use it at feeding time – he has to sit and wait for me to give the O.K. before he can start eating.
Training is so important, it will help you and your dog have a safe and happy life together!