How to Train Your Puppy or Dog Using verbal markers (luring the sit)

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40600004-main_Thumb.jpg Jake at 4 months doing a very nice sit

Training a puppy or dog can be challenging and can wear on your nerves as you try to get your dog to do what you want him to do. But with patience and a few simple tools that I will teach you. You CAN train your dog or puppy yourself, without those expensive dog training classes or private training lessons.

We will be using verbal markers to lure the sit. Once you understand this concept you can continue training your dog yourself.
After all, a well trained dog becomes a member of your family, is included in family plans and a joy to be around.

For this exercize you will need the following

* hungry dog or puppy
* tasty treats cut up very tiny
* collar
* leash
* time

dog-leash-and-dog-collar-husky-akita-mal
a properly adjusted and well fitting collar with a leash is a must if you are going to train a puppy

First you will want to put your collar and leash on your puppy. If he is of a working breed he may be highly distractible and you will need the leash to keep his focus and attention on you

treatbagFull_Thumb.jpg you will need some sort of treat bag to store your treats, this is a commercial one that you can buy for around $10 You will need a bait bag and treats cut up into very tiny pieces, these treats need to be just a taste not something you puppy will need to take time to chew.

I use a fanny pack as a treat bag because I can also store my clicker, car keys, cell phone and whatever else I may need in the bag. Also I typically wear a fanny pack instead of carrying a purse so my dogs never know if I have the treat pack or my purse… gotta fool them pupsters!

clicker_Thumb.jpg These are the I-clicks clickers, of all the clickers out there I love these the best, but again for this one I am suggesting using a verbal marker.

For this exercise we will be using verbal markers but if you are proficient with the clicker you can use this as well. For me it is difficult to manage the clicker, leash and treats… so I use a verbal marker.

SIT_Thumb.jpg do not be afraid to get down on the floor with your dog or puppy for training sessions

Ok we will be luring the sit so if you have a small dog or puppy you will want to sit on the floor, if you have a larger dog or puppy you can sit on the couch.

Encourage your puppy to look at you and face you then you will show the puppy the treat, remember to keep the treats small. You want them to be just a taste so that they quickly finish it and look for more.

0c779fd4-1ead-46f7-926d-47221013aeba.Ful This trainer is a bit far from her dog but you can see her holding the treat above the dogs head and he is sitting nicely

palm the treat so that he can not get to it, and then you will move your hand towards your puppy at about shoulder (the pups)level and as you move your hand closer to the puppy you will raise it above his head.

puppysit_Thumb.jpg (once he is sitting you will then say “Yes”, followed by a “good sit”)

This will cause the puppy to want to back up and jump up for the treat in your hand, but since you are holding the leash you will not allow this. Do not let him back up, instead you want him to look up at the treat as you raise it over his head.

If he is jumping up trying to get the treat your hand is too high over his head, lower your hand and he should sit.

treatbagFull_Thumb.jpg Keep your treats in your pocket, a fanny pack or treat bag as shown

As his nose points upwards to the treat in your hand his butt will automatically go down and he will assume a sitting posture. As soon as his butt hits the floor, say “yes” followed by “good sit” as you feed him the treat from your hand.

Try not to use your hand to push his butt down into a sitting position. Dogs usually resist pressure and he may try to force a stand, this can damage growing joints.

puppylearntosit_Thumb.jpg as soon as his butt hits the floor mark it with a “YES” and treat

Do NOT say “sit” before his butt hits the floor or your smart puppy will think he did something correctly when he was not sitting but rather doing something else…

Try to time it exactly, butt hits floor = :Yes” immediately followed by the treat and “Good SIT”

LowchenPawsUp_Thumb.jpg If he tries to jump up to get the treat from your hand, you are holding your hand too high, lower it and he should follow putting his front feet on the ground and his butt on the floor

If he jumps up you push downwards with your hand, remember the treat should be fully enclosed in your hand so that he will not be able to snatch it. As you push your hand downwards if his butt hits the floor immediately say “yes” followed by “good sit”

puppybeaglesitwatch100_Thumb.jpg Once he sits correctly the first time, give him a jackpot and stop the session for now Once he has done this correctly about 10-15 times you can hold your hand over his head and say “sit” if he sits, immediately say “yes” and toss several treats on the floor followed by several “good sit” and end the session on a positive note

GF005972_Thumb.jpg Always end on a positive note with lots of treats and praise keep training sessions short.

Always finish on a positive note with a big jackpot of treats and then a play session to break up the stress of training.

Do not worry if he immediately jumps back up after getting his treat this gives you a chance to ask for another sit.

Tips and warnings

  • He will be thinking about the last training session so the next session should move faster.
  • Always end on a positive note with a big jackpot of treats
  • never train when you are tired or impatient
  • try to do several short sessions daily but no less than one session every day.
  • Work in various areas of your home, dogs learn in context of the entire situation so sit in his mind may only mean sit in the living room, while the TV is on, and you are the only one home… He may not understand that it means the same in another room or situation.
  • It takes about 10 repetitions each in 10 different locations before most dogs realise that the command means the same thing every time.
  • If your dog seems to have forgotten, do not punish him, simply back up your training a little bit as he must be unsure of what you are asking.
  • never train when you are tired, upset or angry
  • never hit your dog
  • do not assume that he is simply being stubborn for not doing what you ask, he probably does not yet understand that you want him to sit here and right now… back up the training and work slowly
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