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Thread: Sit Happens

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    StinkwadMod littleroads's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    East-central Wisconsin

    Exclamation Sit Happens

    From La Bone Appetit Newsletter for April, 2008:


    SIT is the simplest and most useful exercise of all. Think of SIT as meaning I'm in control. It is your constitutional, when in doubt, way to go. Here's what to do:

    Stand close to your pup and scoop your hand up and over his head in a semi-circle, starting at chest-level and arching towards his rear end. Tweak or snap your fingers to engage his eyes. As his head moves up and back to follow your hand his toosh will go down, and Voila! SIT happens. Once in position, tell him what a brilliant boy he is while petting his chest. Now it's time for a treat. And give the puppy one too.

    I'm big on hand signals. To learn a visual cue in addition to a verbal one is equivalent to learning French and Spanish. Hand signals encourage the puppy's watchfulness. By checking in visually he is more inclined to look to you for guidance. This, and all hand signals, can be minimized once the behavior is mastered.

    The time to say SIT is as he moves himself into position. The operative words are "moves himself." To use force is to create resistance. We want him, not you, to do the work. The most you can hope for by pushing the puppy's rear-end down when saying SIT, as in compulsory training, is to condition him to tolerate coercion. The point is to facilitate the pup's figuring out how to do it himself.

    Once the association is made between the action and the word, saying SIT will prompt his doing so. Use a soft, natural voice. He can hear a Frito fall at 250 yards, there's no need to yell. SIT is a prelude to good things: food, thrown balls, walks, dessert, etc. It is not reciprocal though. While the puppy has to SIT to make good things happen, they don't automatically happen after every SIT. Intermittent reinforcement keeps him on his toes by allowing you to select his best efforts to reward.

    What if the puppy doesn't SIT?

    1). Make sure your signaling hand is close to but not touching his face. It should be a few inches over his head.

    2). He may need traction. Instead of working on a slippery surface, try carpet or grass.

    3). The puppy may be a leaner. Allow him to back into something solid, a piece of furniture, a wall or tree.

    4). He could feel vulnerable. A strong SIT is a sign of self-assurance. Working with him here may bolster his confidence elsewhere.

    5). If the poor dog has hip dysplasia or is arthritic, it may be too painful. Here, clearly, skip the SIT.

    As SIT means I'm in control, when you're feeling out of control of your dog's behavior, ask him to SIT. It may not always make sense, but it's often the best we've got.

    Good luck!
    Jody Rosengarten
    The Bark Stops Here
    [email protected]
    Last edited by littleroads; 04-29-2008 at 11:08 AM.
    Rody Jane, the Bionic Flying Stinkwad (Cattledog/Stinkwad mix)
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    George P-Dog (Perfect Dog) (Great Pyrador)
    Miss Dixie Two-Minute Moonpie - Official Foster Failure (Polka-Dot Dog) (Australian-American Rattledog)
    Carpe Ossium - "Seize the Bone"

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