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Sit and Leash Training

by Benita Hentges
dog trainer 30 plus years -

Teaching a Dog To Sit

I do not use food to entice good behavior. I have them on a leash without any lead what so ever. I use a harness not a collar. (my preference-neck jerking is not good for a dog)

I tug the leash say the word sit in a stern and serious manner. I take one hand under the chin to keep his attention directed at me while the other hand pushes the rump in a sit position. I continue doing this over and over and while in the sit position say “good sit...nice job” this is repeated several times. Lift your hand off the rump...he will probably stand up immediately at first then do it all over again. Spend about 10 min. doing this, take about a 30 min. brake and do it this as often as you like. If you have a 1/2 day, full day, just the one time. Do it when you get home from work/school, do it before and after dinner, before get the picture. After the sit command is learned then you can go on to leash training...or mix it up a little..your choice. Do what works for you and your dog.

Leash Training Your Dog

When taking a dog out for a walk first off you need to be the pack leader. SInce your dog does not fully understand this yet here is how you teach them. I always use a harness no matter how large or small the dog may be. I think pulling on a dogs throat to teach them something they will learn just as easy without that discomfort is just unnecessary. Never give a dog full lead when on a walk when they do not have the social skills to handle that kind of freedom. It is not fair to the dog to assume he will just act socially acceptable...they do not know what we do not teach. This being said, potty your dog outside in your yard before you leave. Then put on the harness/leash. Do not give your dog any more lead than what will keep them in a heel position. Walk and chronically tell your dog “nice walk..good job...stay with me...nice work Buster (name of your dog)” When the leash is being strained by a over vigorous dog...just give it a tug, put him in a sit position with a stern, but not loud command. This just helps them to get back some self control. Remember that when a stew is being made we say “mmmm that smells good” while a dog can smell each and every ingredient put in the stew. So while outside there are an abundance of smells that will bring on excitability. This doesn’t mean your dog is out of control or means there is a lot out there that dogs face (in the excite mental side) that we just do not see or think about. Once we are aware of these it is easier to show a bit more grace/boundaries needed. If your dog has to go potty do not let him any more than his body length away from you. That way you are out of “shot” but he is not too far so you do not lose control. What I usually do to help them learn to meet and greet properly is have someone I know walk by several times. I teach them to sit then teach them to “shhhhh” no barking, no loud whining...look quietly, it’s time to observe sort of behavior. This comes by you keeping a firm hand as well as a firm tone, not overly dramatic in any way. Just kind of with this mind set...”this is what you need to do, this is how you will learn it, I will not give in, you will learn what I am teaching because it is for your own good”. Sometimes that helps to just keep an even keel inside of us. Dogs pick up on the slightest things so it is our job to only give them what they really need to learn. If your dog seems to just not be able to do the “sit” in a close situation just direct them further away before the sit position is taken. For instance I do highly aggressive dogs - so I start with taking them 2 labs length away from the sidewalk and put in a sit position. They are not allowed to stand or bark. Barking can be a sign of aggression to another dog coming by so you want to make sure that your dog is not misunderstood. If you continue to do this 3 days in a row for an hour walk or dog will be getting the jest of it. It takes time...but just remember that learning does take time pure and simple. You can do this, so just keep your mind set in the direction you want to go and go.