Teaching Your Dog To Sit on Command

When your dog is already heeling on leash, you must teach him to sit. The two lessons are intimately associated because they're used together when you are walking the puppy on leash.

The pup is trotting on your left side. The leash must be held in your right hand, your left hand just now being set aside for a different action. Coil up the leash into a moderately short length. Halt and command him to "Sit!" Your dog does not understand this command, so you'll have to show what you have in mind. As you give the command, draw the leash upward using your right hand while you press down on his hindquarters using your left to place him in a sitting position. Press lightly, slowly, and don't remove your hand too rapidly. You prefer the dog to sit but not to lie, so you might have to continue the upward draw on the leash. As you give the order, hold your feet still. When you move your feet the puppy would move as well.
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The first few times, your puppy might be surprised at the pressure and possibly even try to break off. If he refuses, order "Heel!" At once, and begin walking to calm him down. Then try the "Sit!" once more. Keep at it, and he would soon be acting perfectly.

If he lies down rather than sit as he should, odds are that your grasp on the leash was wrong. A slow, solid up-pull on the leash when you issue the order "Sit!" ought to produce the correct pressure. When your grip on the leash isn't that strong, and the dog lies down, never try to compensate by jerking. The error was yours, not the dog's. Reach down, and using your right hand between the forelegs, raise him up to a sitting position, then pet him to express approval.
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When he arises the moment you take your hand away, that also is your fault. Hold your hand pressed to his hindquarters long enough for him to realize what you want, even if it takes a few seconds. Bit by bit, less pulling and pushing would be necessary and, ultimately, none at all. When your dog sit diagonally rather than squarely, nudge his hindquarters to the right or left so that he faces directly forward.

© 2011 Athena Goodlight 

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