If you have a rescue dog or a puppy who does not learn to sit using the most common, positive methods, then it's time to get creative.
The simplest method, which I was referring to above to help your dog to learn to sit is this:
- Have a piece of food at their eye level
- Move the food just above their head and then back towards their tail, they rock back naturally onto their hips
- As their hips touch the floor, use your marker word, “Yes!” or click your clicker
- Release the dog with your words, “okay” or “all done.”
If your dog does not learn to sit and you try positive methods like the one used above and you don't get a sitting dog, is your only choice to pinch your dog above the tail or shove the dog's backend into the floor while you pull up on their poor, sweet neck?
It must seem that way because I see people doing this at the dog park and in dog training classes.
When there is kinder and more productive way to help a dog to learn to sit, which won’t hurt your dog and damage your relationship and bond of trust.
And it works even on the most reluctant "soon-to-be-sitters."
Even if you think that you are not “shoving them” down too hard ...
Imagine being a child and feeling that kind of coercion especially if that’s how your parent showed you how to sit in a chair for the first time.
And then you became a bit fidgety or just didn’t understand what they were asking you to do and they shoved you down again.
- What would that feel like?
- Would you want to sit when they asked you to?
- What feeling would you associate with sitting?
A Kinder, More Creative Way To Help Dogs Learn To Sit
Click to see what I tried that worked for a very nice "dog sit"
And keep in mind that patience is always the key if your dog is taking a little longer to play this game of "sit." It just means that she's extra special and deserving of some extra time.
One internationally known trainer shared that she stands straight and tall in front of a dog, moving a little closer to the dog and the dogs tend to naturally rock back into a sit.
I have been hesitant to share that technique because many rescue dogs that I meet are fearful and if they felt confronted, they could become assertive and growl or give other cues that they are not comfortable with a human towering over them.
So if you see solutions on the internet that don't feel right, don't try them.
I know that might seem like "Duh! Everyone knows not to do something that doesn't feel right."
But science shows that we often abdicate our highest beliefs to perceived experts.
And remember to always watch your dog's body signals.
If she is yawning, licking, or averting her eyes, then this may be a bit too soon to play this game and you may need to back up a step and work with "look" and "take it" and simple games before moving onto sit.
If you would like to go deeper into the game of "sit" and lots of other great games, check out the Mindful Pet Parenting courses...
For example, in Mindful Pup Parenting™, we teach lots of games, with plenty of interaction and ways to ask personalized questions because every pup is an individual and needs a personal touch. You can CLICK HERE to see if it's a fit for you and your pup. Any pup 4-years-old and younger is perfectly matched for this fun online course.
Focus, calming and bonding are our specialty.
xo, xo, xo