Sit-sit-sit--Can't you just sit!?
Why do we teach animals behaviors?
There are many reasons why we should make sure animals are trained. Yes fun "tricks" are entertaining and amuse us but the real and most important reasons are as such.
For our house hold pets it makes life easier for everyone. We show them what we expect so we all live in harmony. If not it will be just like having a bad roommate that causes trouble, keeps you up, makes messes and won't clean up after herself. Person or animal doesn't it sound like the same problems? We can't expect either to read our minds and know exactly what we want or expect.
For all others training teaches them manners and keeps their mind stimulated. Imagine us sitting around and watching television all day long. Our brains would go to mush, we would gain weight, and possibly lose our social skills. So training and working behaviors break up the day and keeps the animals thinking and on their toes!
Ensures that we can take better care of the animal allowing vet work, grooming, exercise and so on to help reduce stress.
It encourages and strengthens the bond between trainer and trainee. We can learn to trust and enjoy the time and work with our animal friend.
At this point in time you may have established your bridge word, focus, and working on your release word. So what's next? We can start off with "sit". Sit is as simple as that, teaching your dog/animal to sit down. If your working with a puppy or adult it can be done the same exact way. You may find that puppies learn very quickly being the sponges that they are, but adults dog can also learn just as fast. You can "teach an old dog new tricks".
Which is your next behavior you want to train?
- Treat pouch
Using a treat to lead the dog into following your hand which will guide them into a behavior
Word used to send the signal to the animal that they did what you asked. The word creates the bridge from movement to treat
Word used to let the animal know that they can take a break or that the lesson is over.
Process of teaching a new behavior in smaller incrimints until you the behavior you wanted to established.
How to lure into a sit
Shaping in steps
Follow these steps
Now that you have collected your tools we can start. I do recommend starting off with the leash so that your pup does not run off on you. Also don't forget to keep the lessons from 5-10 minutes long.
- Hold your leash properly in one hand. See photo for proper leash holding. Also about 5 pea size treats for easy distribution.
- In free hand hold the treat that you will be using to lure your dog to sit.
- The dog should be in front of you, take your treat and start slowly tracing your dogs head from nose to the top of the head. (see drawing)
- Make sure that you are moving slowly, naturally the dog will try to look at the treat and the time that you get to the back of the skull his head will lean back and his bottom will hit the floor. As soon as it happens even for a moment bridge and treat.
- After doing that a hand full of times you can add the word sit then lure. Sometimes I find it easier to add the word once you figure your approach so that you don't get over whelmed with all the juggling.
- The leash will keep the dog from backing away too far so he should at least start leaning back. Sometimes it takes some more time to get the dog to sit. If he won't put his rear down but bends his knees slightly you can take that bridge and reward. We call this shaping.
- Start shaping the behavior by slowly rewarding the dog the lower he gets to the floor.
See drawing. If the dog gets to level 2 each time then reward that a few times. Then work for level 3, then 4, and so on. Don't for get to make sure the training sessions are about 10 minutes a few times a day so no to overwhelm him. You do not have to rush through the steps.
8. When he sits about 90% of the time you can start working on the length of time he sits
"Sit"- (wait 3 seconds)-"good"-reward-step back so he gets up-"Sit"- (wait 3 seconds)-"good"-reward-step back so he gets up-"Sit"- (wait 3 seconds)-"good"-treat- "All done"
"Sit"- (wait 5 seconds)-"good"-reward-step back so he gets up-"Sit"- (wait 5 seconds)-"good"-reward-step back so he gets up-"Sit"- (wait 5 seconds)-"good"-treat- "All done"
and so on...
Just a tip
Start off working behaviors with little to no distractions. Once the behavior can be considered solid be sure to work the behavior with more and more distractions. Example: 1st in your house. 2nd your back yard where street nose is subtle. 3rd in front of your house, park and so on. Some times with the new distractions added it is hard for the dog to focus. If this happens start wit the focus game then when you work sit use your lure again. Though this time it will work faster he just has to be able to work past the distractions. The more places you practice the better!
If you have multiple people in your household be sure that they all work on behaviors with the dog. They do not have to do the whole process if they do not want to but make sure they know how to get the animal to do the behavior. You may notice depending on the person, voice, or involvement if everyone doesn't practice the dog may respond differently.
If you want to use a hand signal, the motion of the lure starts this for you.
- When the lure is established instead for luring to the back of the head a simple hand raise from the nose and go up.
- The dog may think you are doing the full lure and sit. Bridge and reward.
- When that is established start bringing your hand away from the dogs face. Bridge and reward as you go.
- Once your are standing up right a simple hand movement can be done to get the dog to sit. (see photo). I have seem hand signals picked up very quickly especially since you are already starting with out even knowing with the lure
Using a hand signal
Thank you very much for reading! Please check back for more on training!
- What's in a "Release" word?
A "release" word is just what it sounds like. It releases the animal after completing the session. Think of the school bell ringing at the end of class.