Introduction to Sit

09/02/2022

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SIT

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to teach your puppy one of the core fundamental exercises – how to sit. Sit is a very useful exercise to teach your puppy. It will help to teach many other skills – such as polite greetings with people, waiting patiently instead of rushing through doors and asking politely instead of counter surfing.

We are going to teach you 2 different methods of training your puppy to sit – the first is by capturing any time your puppy naturally sits and the second is by luring them to sit with a tasty treat.

To capture your puppy sitting all you need to do is be ready with your clicker or marker word so that when your puppy chooses to sit you can mark and reward them quickly with the treat. This is called capturing. Simply wait for your puppy to sit, mark and reward. Throughout the day when your puppy offers the behaviour, make sure you mark and reward wherever you are. Your puppy will start to offer a sit more frequently.

To lure a sit you are going to hold a treat between your thumb and first 2 fingers. Show it to your puppy and as their nose gets close, slowly lift the treat up and back slightly over their head. Your puppy will look up and their bottom will touch the ground. Click or say your marker word and quickly reward your puppy with the food. You are aiming at delivering the treat to your puppy whilst their bottom is still on the floor.

After a few repetitions the next step is to remove the food from your hand. Pretend to your puppy there is food and move your hand in the same way as before. Up and back over their head slightly. Mark and reward when their bottom touches the floor. Removing the food from your hand is really important and will prevent your puppy needing to see the reward before they offer behaviour.

When your puppy reliably sits when you move your empty hand as a visual signal, you are ready to add the cue word.

Remember to say the word first, and then after a slight pause, lift your hand. Mark and reward when your puppy sits. The slight delay means that your word cue and visual signal are distinct from each other. Your pup will learn that the word predicts the hand signal they already know. You will find they then start to sit when you say the cue, even before you move your hand.

If you have taught your pup by capturing the sit each time and now they are frequently offering it, all you need to do is say the cue word just before you know they are going to offer a sit.

All that’s left now is to practice in lots of different places to generalise your puppy’s new skill.

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