Gun Dog Training Basics: Sit Command
Teaching Basic Sit Commands
Besides ensuring you can get your dog’s attention when you need to, teaching your dog to sit is one of the most important basic steps to training your hunting dog. There are a number of ways to achieve this basic level of training, and as long as no abuse takes place, what matters is the end result: Will your hunting dog in training sit on command?
The following is a guide teaching you how to train your dog to sit. When attempting any training of your animal, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Go slow – it may seem obvious but it bears taking note; your dog doesn’t speak your language. Saying “sit” initially means the same to a dog as saying “antidisestablishmentarianism”. The goal is getting the dog to understand the sound of the word and attach the appropriate behavior to it. This takes time and dogs will get training fatigue. When your dog appears to be losing focus, they are becoming overstimulated. You’ll need to take a break or work in shorter time spans.
- Be patient, stay calm – particularly in young dogs, focusing on one thing for long gets to be too difficult. They are like humans in this way. They will only learn this type of behavior after multiple repetitions and with positive associations; when you get frustrated or angry at apparent lack of progress, your dog will react accordingly. Being calm but assertive is the best posture to assume when training your dog.
- Reward – bird dog training works best when you reward them for correct behavior. This often means treats, but it can also mean belly rubs or just encouraging words spoken in a cheerful manner; as we know, dogs respond to sounds better than actual words. Do what your dog likes best.
These are general training rules to keep in the back of your mind regardless of what you’re training your dog to do (and they tend to work well when dealing with people too!)
Training Your Dog to Sit in 4 Steps
- Physically lower yourself to their level. This will help them to focus on you, which is essential throughout the process.
- You’ll need a treat to hold in front of their face, but out of reach. Raise the treat slowly above the animal’s head so the dog must raise its muzzle to see what’s in your hand.
- When the dog’s rump eventually touches the ground, calmly but assertively say “sit”. Immediately give them the treat they earned and accompany it with saying something along the lines of “good boy!” in a cheery tone. Do not vocalize any additional instructions, as this will confuse the animal.
- Repeat as often as possible. Using small treats or even tiny bits of healthy human food will save you money and prevent the dog from eating too much during this training period. When your dog seems to respond quickly and consistently to your command, remove the treat from the training.