©2013 Jerry D. Patillo, CPDT-KA
Lure the Dog into Position
1. Get a pocket or bag full of very delicious treats such as cheese, liver, chicken, T-bone steak, etc., cut up into tiny pea-size pieces. (T-bone steak? You give me the steak; I’ll bring the treats!) If you’re using a clicker (which we recommend), have it ready in your hand. If you’re not using a clicker, don’t worry. We’ll still tell you what to do.
2. Have your dog in front of you. Don’t say sit yet; don’t say ANYTHING until I tell you to. If you say “Sit, sit Sit, SIT, SIT!” and your dog is jump, jump, jumping to get a treat, what are you teaching your dog? To jump up to get the treat when you say “Sit.”
3. Put your dog in front of you. Without saying anything, put a food treat in front of your dog’s nose and bring it SLOWLY over your dog’s eyebrows. Most dogs (but not all) will lower their butt to the floor to keep track of that treat going upward. The instant your dog’s butt hits the floor, click! and then treat. If you’re not using a clicker, say “yes!” (just once) the instant your dog’s butt hits the floor, and then treat. Don’t click or say yes multiple times. Each click or yes pinpoints the exact instant of behavior your dog was doing that earned the reward. If you click or say yes multiple times, you’re not giving your dog precise information.
If your dog is jumping up to get the treat, you’re probably holding the treat too high. Try to resist the temptation to pull the treat away from your jumping dog. Hold your hand still and try again to bring the treat over its eyebrows. If your puppy’s needle-sharp teeth are bothering your treat hand, then use light gloves to protect your hands. Don’t give your dog or puppy anything until its butt is on the floor. The instant your dog’s butt hits the floor, click! (or yes!) and then treat.
Introduce Hand Signal for Sit
4. With a treat in your hand, lure the dog’s nose upward and its butt to the floor 4 or 5 more times. Reward each time. Don’t say “Sit” just yet. (Don’t worry; that’s coming!) Now, pretend you have a treat in your hand. Hold your empty hand in front of your dog’s nose EXACTLY the same way you did before. Slowly lift your empty hand over the dog’s eyebrows EXACTLY as before. When your dog’s butt hits the floor, click! Now you can give it a treat. Now you’re using the treat as a reward instead of a bribe.
5. If your dog doesn’t sit when your hand is empty, then repeat step 4 three or four more times. Keep repeating step 4 until your dog is sitting with your empty hand signal 80% of the time (8 times out of 10). Be patient. Your dog will get it eventually.
- Lure the Dog into Position
- Introduce Hand Signal for Sit
- Introduce Verbal Cue, “Sit”
- Phase Out Hand Signal (Optional)
- Randomize the Rewards