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Proofing The Sit Command: How To Make It More Useful

As much fun as it is bringing a new pup home for the first time, it’s absolutely vital that you take the time to teach it a range of different commands so that you can keep it under control at all times. An unruly dog can be a danger to yourself and others, so it’s essential that you protect it and those around you by teaching it essential commands like sit, stay and come.

One of the first commands your dog needs to learn is how to sit. This will ensure that they’re kept safe when you’re out and about in the real world and you’re sure to find there are lots of useful applications for the command, everything from helping you cross the road safely to waiting patiently in a queue, or when you’re meeting new people and other dogs.

Luckily, it’s a relatively easy command to teach and your dog should get it down pretty quickly as long as you’re consistent and put the practice in at the beginning.

First, stand in front of your pup and let them know you have a treat ready and waiting, then move it up over their head. Their hind quarters should touch the floor as their head follows the treat. When it does, make sure you reward them with the treat to help reinforce this behaviour.

Repeat this until they’ve got the hang of it and then continue without the treat, rewarding them with a treat delivered from the other hand and verbal praise instead. 

You can then start using the hand gesture along with the verbal “sit” command, continuing to reward them when their bottom hits the floor. With consistent training of this kind, your dog will soon start sitting when they hear the verbal cue.

Proofing the sit

So that’s that! Job done! But you shouldn’t stop there and you can take the sit command even further by proofing this type of training to ensure that your dog continues to obey you as you’d like when you’re in a range of different environments.

Of course, it’s easy for your dog to learn commands when they’re in the safety of their own home, but with so many exciting sights, sounds and smells to discover in the outside world, it’s hardly a surprise that their training often flies out of their heads and they’re less obedient when they’re out and about.

When you start to proof your dog’s behaviour, you’re checking to see if they’re capable of displaying the behaviour for different amounts of time, if they can perform when you increase the distance between the two of you and whether they can perform when there are lots of distractions flying around.

Take it slowly and don’t try to change too much all at once. Work on one variable at a time to maximise your chances of success. When your dog is successful, make sure you reward them immediately with high-value treats and lots of praise. This will help make training more fun for your pup and will keep them motivated during lesson time.

And finally, don’t forget that you need to switch up the handler from time to time as well. It’s all very well and good if your dog behaves for you, but you want them to be able to display the appropriate behaviours no matter who’s issuing the command.

If you’d like any further help or advice relating to proofing dog behaviours, get in touch with Sean Hyden today to discuss dog training in Battersea and the surrounding areas.