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'Sit' training advice needed,

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I'm having some difficulty with teaching Ben to sit. He is resistant to a gentle pressure on the rear end. Occasionally it has worked but mostly he plants his feet firmly on the ground or backs off because he doesn't like it/doesn't know what is happening to him. He is clearly a bit skittish about this and I don't want to undo our progress so far.

I have also tried holding a treat in front of his nose and raising it - the theory being he should raise his head to follow the treat and sit naturally in the process. But the problem is he can't focus on things close up and the smell alone doesn't do the trick. I tried doing it with the squeaky ball and that didn't work either.

It all might come in time but any suggestions in the meanwhile? Cheers

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What kind of treat are you using? Is it really good and smelly? I am wondering if the treat you are using doesn't smell that strongly so he is not focused on following it. Just a theory.

 

Are you able to capture a sit? i.e. when he sits naturally, click (or say 'yes' or similar marker) and then give him treat/praise. You may have to set up a situation in which he is likely to sit to start to give him the idea. You can also say 'sit' when his butt touches the ground before treating so he begins to associate the verbal with the action.

 

Good Luck.

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One other thought, since he is an older dog, is that sitting might be less comfortable for him for some reason. If that's the case, you might try to teach a "stand and stay" or a "lie down" instead. My one older dog finds sitting uncomfortable for him at this stage in his life and so I am happy with him either standing still or lying down when I need him to remain in one place for me.

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Maybe try this:

 

If he does a lie down it might be easier to lure him in a sit position from there. Put him in a lie down position, keep the treat higher and move it back over his head. Click the second he has his front legs higher than his back legs, and move your hand towards his mouth with the treat at that point so you don't reward him standing up. And then work your way from there. If he backs up instead of moving into a sit, try using a wall behind him to prevent him from moving.

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Thanks folks. Yes he can and does sit. I tried a nice bit of smelly liver and that didn't work. I think part of the problem is he is used to people chucking scraps down at his feet so as soon as you approach with a treat his first reaction is to start looking for it on the ground and not up in the air. I will work on those suggestions and maybe even change the word because sometimes it seems to me that he associates the word with being told off. It could be in the past people yelled at him to sit or told him off for not sitting..

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Sounds like you have some good thoughts about the why of his not sitting for you. This may just be something that takes a little longer to work through. I like the idea mentioned by another poster of what we call "puppy push-ups". Lie him down, move the treat up over his head to get him to sit, and then use a treat again to get him back into the prone position, and repeat. All the time, be cheery and positive without being pushy, and you soon may find him happily giving you the sit. Then you might progress more easily to sitting from standing, once he's at ease with sitting from lying down.

 

Just a thought!

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If I had this situation, I would abandon all luring and simply work on capturing the sit. Carry something he really likes with you around the house and do a marker (click on a clicker, or say "yes!" or "Good!" or whatever you use for a marker) followed by a good treat every time he sits. Also, call him to you and then just stand there. Do nothing but look at him. If/when he sits, mark and treat.

 

After a while he will learn that sitting gets him a treat, and he will offer sits for you. At that point, add in the cue word just before he sits.

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This may be simply a silly idea, but I am wondering if you could watch and see where he usually sits down by himself so you can "plan" on catching him going to sit so you can say it. For example, a lot of dogs will sit down on the seat of a car to look out the window. I remember you said he was a bit car sick or something like that, so this particular plan might not work. But if you watch him a couple of days, I bet there is some place or some sort of situation where he will often sit down just the way you want him to. So then all you need to do is put him in that place or situation and you can plan on asking him to sit -- and he will. It's the same as what everyone else has said, just trying to find a way to increase the likelihood of him actually sitting.

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Thanks folks. Occasionally he sits when he comes to me while I am sitting on the sofa so that would be an easy time to capture the sit and reward him for doing so. Will have some treats at hand!

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Yes he is beginning to sit when asked. I started by asking him to sit when he was sitting down anyway! But I also find a slight angled pressure just below the curve of the rump works better than a straight forward downward pressure on top of the rump.

I've used the same principle with 'drop' to get him to drop the ball when asked.

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