Dog training basics: The “sit” command

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 Training your dog is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a strong bond between you and your friend, as well as your pets safety. The sit command is one of the first commands you will want to teach your dog. Most other commands you will teach will start from sit. For instance the stay command is usually given after the dog is in a sit position, heel is always started from a sit position, down in usually given from a sit. This in combination with the fact that the sit command is one of the most used commands you will give your dog. While feeding your dog, you want them to sit so they are not in the way, when taking them outside you want them to sit to attach the lead and open the door. There are many more reasons for the sit command and many more commands that will require your dog to know sit. So teaching your dog the “sit” command is a great place to start your training.

Most owners will not get their puppy until around 8 weeks old, this is because 6-8 weeks is “puppy socialization period” this is when your pup should be spending time with other puppies and dogs. This is most commonly and recommended to be spend with the mother and siblings. So most owners will pick their puppy up when they are around 8 weeks old. This is the time when you should be introducing your puppy to it’s new home and new family. This is a great time to spent playing and getting to know each other. If your puppy can have fun with you, he will be more eager to learn with you. Therefor training is recommended to be started at around 10 weeks of age.

Dogs love to please people and many dogs are happiest when they are working. Since most dogs now a days are not used for working, training gives them the opportunity to feel as if they are working for you. It keeps their mind active, as well as their bodies and gives you and your dog a chance to bond. The most important part of training a dog is a combination of repetition, consistency and praise, none less important then the other.

There are many resources out there that recommend using treats to train your dog. The problems people face when using this method are many and these include, always having to walk around with a pocket or hand full or treats. Dogs not responding to commands when there is nothing in it for them. Some people have also seen signs or aggression when they are trying to get their dog to “work” for them, when there are no treats involved. Also this can cause your dog to become unhealthy because of the amount of treats he is consuming. This method was not for me so I looked further I went to training classes where the training was done using a pinch collar (prong collar).

Many people think a pinch collar looks like a midevel torture device, but consider this a normal nylon collar, or a choke collar will actually cause more damage to your pet. When they are wearing these styles of collars you will hear your dog gasping for breath as it pulls, this is actually damaging their necks and trachea. A pinch collar when used properly with a downwards jerk on the lead, simply pinches the skin around the neck, in the same manner the mother would when teaching her pup. This method works for many reasons.

The “correction” you are giving your dog is not causing them any lasting harm, it is something that they have experienced since they were puppies from their mother. They already know that when they feel this they have done something wrong. It also accomplishes the task of focusing your dogs attention on you, he is working for you and waiting for his next task. The “reward” your dog receives for doing what he is asked is praise. This is something you do not run out of, it will not make your dog unhealthy, and it will create a stronger bond between both you and your dog.

The begin the sit command place the pinch collar around your dogs neck and attach a 6 foot lead. Your dog will want to be on your left side, so it is best to always have him sit there. This will make other commands easier, because your dog will always be on the same side. Hold the leash in your right hand, feel free to shorten it by holding it in a loose loop. You will stand with your dog on your left side, and give him the sit command.

A command should not only include the “word” you use for the command, but also a specific “action” for that command. I use the command word “sit” at he same time I take my left hand (the one closest to the dog) and do a motion like I am “scooping up water”. I then give my dog a correction if he/she did not do what was asked. A correction with a pinch collar is a downward jerk on the lead, this will be done with your left hand, while holding the lead in your right hand. A correction should be done immediately after the command is given, and each and every time your dog does not to what is asked. It is important that this be done with repetition and consistency.

You should then start walking with your dog, and give them the sit command again and respond according to what they do. When you dog sits praise him/her, get excited and pet them, use a happy voice and have fun with them. This is so important! This lets your dog know what he is suppose to be doing, and how happy it makes you when he does it. These steps will need to be repeated, but if done right, your dog should be sitting on command with in one training session.

Many times if an owner is not seeing results it is because they are doing something wrong. If this is happing to you make sure you are correcting and rewarding immediately after the command is given. Timing is key to your success. Also make sure you are always giving the same command word and action each and every time, without this repetition and consistency your dog will get confused and not know what exactly you want. Make sure you are praising your dog and having fun with them when they do something right, this is why they are going to want to do things right, and how they will learn what right is.

Training is not just about your dog doing what they are told, it is about bonding with your dog, and making your dog happy to please you. This in turn makes the owner happy with their well behaved dog and builds a stronger bond between dog and owner. Trained dogs are safer, healthier, and show less signs of aggression. Training or “working” your dog will create a happier dog, and stronger bond between them and family.

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