The Sit and Down commands are usually the first commands we teach our dogs. What we often forget is to create variety and challenge once our dogs have an understanding. The following examples are ways to really practice these commands and challenge consistency.
Important points to keep in mind!
- HAVE FUN!
- It takes hundreds of reps and then some for your dog to truly know a command.
- Use daily routines to practice during the day.
- End on a successful note.
- If you say the command and your dog does not respond, look away and move to another spot and try again.
- Once your dog sits/downs THE FIRST TIME when asked consistently here are some exercises for you and he to enjoy.
- Practice these commands in each room of your home.
- Practice with other people walking around in your home.
- Have others be distractions in the home while you are working with your dog in all of the rooms. Distractions can be noise, motion etc. Does your dog still perform the command?
Once you are doing great in your home (controlled setting) then you are ready to work in the yard and beyond.
***When outside you may want to use higher value treats (cheese, meat) at first to keep attention and motivation up with all the other sights and scents etc.
*** Keep practice times short and successful (2-5 minutes)
**** If your dog looses interest then go back indoors and have him perform the command once and end on a good note. Begin inside next session and then try outside again.
Now that your dog can do this in all rooms and with chaos going on you are ready to practice another challenge.
****Anytime you change the situation of the environment or your body posture it may require a bit more motivation and higher value treats to keep interest and focus on the task. Begin at the basics again and recognize that context changes the skill to the dog and so to him it is new until he really learns to generalize it through practice in ALL situations.
**** You may also want to be sure to have your dog on a leash as you begin these new exercises.
Once your dog consistently does the commands in one position then you are ready to give your dog the same commands while sitting, lying down, with your back turned etc. Begin with one and practice it using the above steps and then move on to the next.
- Practice commands while sitting holding a doll.
- Practice while pushing stroller.
- While leaning back on couch and holding baby doll.
- While baby sounds CD is playing.
- While kids are playing.
Why is this important?
- It gives you a definite command that is useful while guests are in your home.
- Encourages fun and safer behavior around children.
- Gives your dog mental stimulation by doing short and definite commands throughout the day.
If you have any questions please never hesitate to contact me directly. Have fun and enjoy your time together!
Article submitted by: © Jennifer Shryock (Biography & Additional Information)