Sits and downs, the basics for a well-mannered family dog.
When you have a puppy, they don’t know any of this…you’re going to want to pair the word with the actual behavior. It takes a lot of repetition for them to remember what word cues what behavior.
Pretending the dog in the video does not have a sit or a down, the instructor will put the cookie on the dog’s nose and as she brings the dog’s head up, the butt should drop down and the instructor will say the word, “sit”. (Two Demonstrations in Video)
Again, the instructor brought the nose back, which brought the butt down.
We also do not allow our dogs to get up from the behavior until we give them a release word. If you notice, when the instructor says “break”, the dog moves.
How we teach that (this starts when training the sit-stay and down-stay):
– Continue to reward the puppy for the sit or down until you are nearly out of rewards.
– Release your puppy by physically moving them and pairing the motion of you moving your puppy with your release word (we use “break”, but it can be any word you choose).
When you’re working on sits and downs, some puppies have a lot of trouble staying still. You’ll see some who move around a lot (even if it is just their front feet). You don’t want to be feeding if that happens. If you are asking for a “sit” and your puppy starts moving their paw(s), take the food away. As soon as the reward goes away, the puppy should think, “what was I doing that got me all that good food?” and sit back down. It does take some reinforcement history first, however. But you do not want to be feeding if they’re shuffling. If they’re shuffling, you have to take the food away.
Sometimes, with small dogs, not only do you get the feet shuffling, but you’ll also get the one paw up. You don’t want that. You really want your puppy to sit solidly. How you deliver your reinforcement can help with that behavior. If you deliver with the head slightly down, it brings their weight forward onto their paws. This will help them stay still better. If they bring one paw up, you may need to bring the head slightly over to one side to get their weight on the one paw that is coming up. You can finagle your reward a little bit to get the best result.
Good luck with this! If you have any problems at all, let us know. Rehearse it a lot. Remember, dogs don’t learn the words without a ton of repetition. Once they have a good understanding, then you are ready to learn how to fade the hand, but initially they will need your hand there.