When you first get your puppy it’s a good idea to immediately start training the foundation behaviors you want to have in your adult dog. Such as sit, down, and holding position. If you start training these behaviors right away it becomes easier to have a solid foundation in your adult dog.
In this video, we demonstrate the very beginning of training the sit.
The instructor will use her cookies as a lure, pulling her hand upward until the puppy sits. Once the puppy sits, the instructor will add the word “sit”, and feed as long as he is holding position.
(Two Demonstrations in Video)
We believe you can teach your puppy to stay at the same time as teaching a sit by feeding as you move around them. If your puppy moves their feet, stop feeding until they settle, then start feeding again – rapidly enough – that they should hold still as you move around them.
If you drop food, are running out of food, or you would like to give them permission to move, ask them to move by pairing your release word while you nudge them gently out of position. Only reward the release with praise. (One Demonstration in Video)
How we teach that (this starts when training the sit-stay and down-stay):
– Continue to reward the puppy for the sit 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.
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.