Few things in life are prettier than watching a well-trained dog and one of the basic commands is the sit command. There are several methods of teaching your dog to sit. Two of the most popular are the Click and the Compulsory methods. The Click method is based again on purely positive reinforcement while the Compulsory method uses both positive and negative reinforcements. Let’s begin our discussion with the easier of the two, The Click Method.
The Click Method of training a dog to sit is based upon rewarding the animal for the desired behavior. It gets its name from the idea that some audible queue is used to alert the animal of a pending reward with many trainers using a device called a clicker for this purpose. Whenever the audible queue is given, the reward follows immediately. To train a dog to sit by this method requires little effort on the trainers’ part.
One begins by lavishing the dog with several treats, one right after the other while giving the audible queue. Then abruptly stop the shower of treats and wait for the animal to direct its attention to you. Now display a treat and give the audible queue as you give the treat to the pet. Now hold another treat at chest level so that the dog must look up to see the treat. After a few minutes, your pet will likely sit down on its haunches because this position makes it much easier to watch the treat. Immediately, when this happens, give the audible queue and reward the pet. Repeat this lesson several times. After a while you will notice your pet sitting in anticipation of the click and the reward so it is now time to add your verbal command to the routine. When the dog begins to sit, say “sit”. This will gradually teach the dog that the command precedes the action and they will learn the meaning of the command in this way. After some practice and a bit of patience, your dog should begin to sit without having to see a reward being offered.
Now let’s discuss the more traditional method of training…. The Compulsory Method. This is the method grand dad used on his dogs. Tell the puppy to sit while enforcing it. Saying the verbal command “sit” and pushing down on the puppy’s tail section to make it contact the floor accomplish the lesson. With some dogs you might have to hold their chin up during this process or they will go ahead and lie down. The object behind the lesson is to teach the pup when you say “sit” that there is no other choice but to sit and so eventually the animal will respond on its own rather than having to be coaxed into position. Some owners use a tool called a choke collar for this training method. They will leash the dog with the choke collar in place and upon the sit command push the dog down.
At the same time they will hold the choke collar down by way of the leash allowing only enough slack for the dog to sit but not stand up. If the dog tries to stand the choke collar tightens around the animals’ neck producing extreme discomfort. The author does not recommend this method as it can produce a nervous and fearful animal, which can become quite aggressive when it feels threatened. Such training also makes leash training much more difficult as it teaches the animal to fear the leash because of the pain inflicted by it. This also tends to lessen the bond between master and dog because the dog comes to associate the master with the pain and discomfort as well and may lash out at the owner or others if the treatment continues.
In whichever method you choose for training your pet, one thing remains constant. Always be consistent. Also be sure to pour lavish affection upon your pet for good behaviors and responses as this improves their bond to you and makes them desire to please you more fully. With a moderate amount of time and patience, your dog will be rivaling any animal presented at the local dog competitions for his well-trained style and mannerisms.