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    1. #1
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      There's sit... and then there's sit

      It seems to me a lot of people are trying to teach their dogs a lot of behaviors all at one time. In particular they don't seem to get the heel and sit the way they want because the dog doesn't remain sitting. And the discussions seem to center upon what the handler is doing wrong to make the dog get up prematurely.

      My question is... why are you working on heel, when your dog isn't solid on sit?

      When I tell my dog SIT, I can walk away from it... back to it... talk to it... praise it... go to the end of the leash... come back to it and pat it... walk around behind it... walk away again...eat a brownie, pick my teeth, clear my throat, hum a tune... whatever, until I either resume the heel position and tell it to "HEEL" or tell it to "HERE"... or give it a release command. (And... you know, I hope, that you don't work on "here" until the sit is absolutely solid. Right?) A dog who can sit in a relaxed manner and remain sitting is one who can pay attention to you and the other things you want to teach it.

      IMO, classic "obedience classes" rush this process terribly and are often counterproductive as a result.
      Last edited by TuMicks; 03-02-2015 at 11:44 PM.

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    3. #2
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      Welcome to the forum.

    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      A dog who can sit in a relaxed manner and remain sitting is one who can pay attention to you and the other things you want to teach it.

      That is the point! Good post and welcome.

    5. #4
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      I will answer why I trained more than one thing at a time. There's a saying, " A change is as good as a rest" Teaching SIT to a three month old puppy was done in a minute, no more than a few. For a change or a rest we next worked on STAY, or DOWN. We would do several short training session throughout the day and vary what we worked on. We did make sure to leave lots of time between sessions. By the time my dog was ready to hold a SIT STAY as you describe he was nearly his adult weight. If we hadn't worked on other things at the same time he'd have been unmanageable to walk on leash. He did earn his CGN at 9 months old.

      LOve your comment on teaching HERE. It gives me an opportunity to say my belief is it (I said COME) should and can be the very first thing a baby puppy learns. My puppies were solid on COME at 9 and 10 weeks old. I walked them, off leash, down snowmobile trails. Because many other dogs went to the place split by in use rail way tracks we Didn't hit that till last puppy was 4.5 months old and safely vaccinated. I really think many folks leave this way, way too late to train. The fear method of teaching COME works very, very well but the puppy must be very, very young. You can't teach it in a class because it must be just you and puppy and nobody else around.

      WElcome to the board. Good topic you've introduced. Can you tell us some about the training theories that you like and have worked for you? We like Operant Conditioning but use bits and pieces of Classic Conditioning too. And I love clickers.

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    7. #5
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      Thanks all.

      My background is in AKC Hunt Tests and I'm just beginning to earnestly train my own dog. Have had dogs trained by pros, love the sport, but am only just now trying to do it myself.

      SIT (or in our parlance... steadiness) is the foundation for all other behaviors which will in the end include many complex and subtle commands.

      Snowshoe, you are correct, we/I certainly are working our puppies on learning the language of obedience from the beginning... cookies for come, working basic fun stuff in the kitchen... a few moments at a time... all good fun and building a relationship.

      Heel for me is (in the beginning) just stay within a few feet of me, don't pull on the lead. Usually the puppy learns this themselves when our strolls include changes in direction. In no time they are watching me and eager to know where we'll go next. And in our walks there are SITs interspersed. And the sits get longer, and my strolls away from the sitting puppy get longer, and the distractions get more distracting. Correction is just putting pup's butt back on the ground and praise when she does it well. The training sessions are maybe 10 minutes long and begin with play and end with play (chasing something.)

      We begin formal training for field work when the dog is about 6 months of age.

      It just seemed (when I was reading the training threads) that people were really sweating the walk at heel, the stay and such and it didn't sound like their dogs were really ready for all of that. Imagine how much easier it would be if the dog could just sit and relax and watch their handler.

      BTW: I admire every dog owner that takes the interest and puts in the time to go to a class and work with their dogs. Classes, however, are by necessity 30 minutes to an hour. A really long time for the dog to retain interest. When they are working with their dogs after class, it should be maybe 10 minutes a couple of times/day.

    8. #6
      Senior Dog
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      BTW: My young fire-breather and I are off to PetCo to get a bag of dog-food. It will be a real trial for her (and me) but she will be polite and restrained. I know she can do it. We just have to practice.

    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      BTW: I admire every dog owner that takes the interest and puts in the time to go to a class and work with their dogs. Classes, however, are by necessity 30 minutes to an hour. A really long time for the dog to retain interest. When they are working with their dogs after class, it should be maybe 10 minutes a couple of times/day.
      I completely agree with this! For my pup, it's just too much. He gets restless, and is pretty much just done with it all by the 30-40 minute mark. We are taking a term off to work on attention and refine some of the stuff we did in the last class before moving on to the next level.

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    11. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      BTW: I admire every dog owner that takes the interest and puts in the time to go to a class and work with their dogs. Classes, however, are by necessity 30 minutes to an hour. A really long time for the dog to retain interest. When they are working with their dogs after class, it should be maybe 10 minutes a couple of times/day.
      A dog paying attention to the owner for this long is a learned behavior and a lot of work on the handler's part. I find that after our classes, particularly private lessons, both the dog and I are exhausted! You also need a good trainer who can teach you to know when your dog is getting tired/stressed/bored and a trainer who can, at these crossroads, move in the direction that is best for the dog, even if that means abandoning a lesson plan. For example, when Linus seems bored, we might bring out the jumps. When he seems to lose interest, I throw treats. When he seems stressed I help him and then we move on to something he knows well. If he is especially tired, we might put him in a crate to chill and work on my footwork.

      Drilling a dog is the devil. Creating play within your exercises is key.

      I personally train outside of lessons/classes no more than 10 minutes about three times per week.

    12. #9
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      Sigh... trip to PetCo went well all the way to the checkout. Why do the clerks give an excited dog wads of treats when the owner is telling the dog "DOWN". I think I'll have to train the clerks before we go into the building again.

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    14. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post

      Drilling a dog is the devil. Creating play within your exercises is key.
      This right here. If the dog is bored and losing interest it's because you are not making it fun enough for them. Brief bits of serious work should be interspersed with tons of games and play - a brief minute of play (tug, quick retrieve, just a little butt scratch is Chloe's favorite!) can easily be used as a reward. Depending on what it is you are trying to teach there are usually fun games that can be incorporated as part of the process.

      As far as teaching a really solid sit before heel, I think that depends in large part what your dog sport is. I primarily do Obedience, in which a precision, focused, heel is much more important than it is in field work. On the other hand, much as a reliable sit-stay is needed in Obedience, I've found that at least for Labs, the temptation to break is much greater when distance retrieves and birds are involved, so for field work, it probably takes on more importance. I'm not saying that they don't also have to heel in the field, but it is just not the same. For us, we teach heel as an attention exercise first, and it is taught simultaneously with attention in the sit. In other words, they are taught attention in the sit AND taught to pay attention while moving as two different exercises which are eventually brought together.
      Annette

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