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Old 04-12-2014, 11:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sit/down

Just a couple of questions:

1)How do you get your dog to lay down without touching or pointing inches from the ground?
2)Also, my dog will only lay down if previously in the sit position. How to I break this?
3) He will only sit if he is right next to me too. How do I get him to sit when I tell him to sit without coming next to me?
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LoveDogs View Post
Just a couple of questions:

1)How do you get your dog to lay down without touching or pointing inches from the ground?
Are you talking about using a verbal command only, or fading your hand signal so it's more subtle?

Quote:
2)Also, my dog will only lay down if previously in the sit position. How to I break this?
Have you tried luring him into a down from a stand position? You can also "capture" the behavior by hanging out with him and marking and rewarding when he lays down on his own. Toss the treat just far enough away from him that he has to get up to get it, then wait for him to lay down again. Once you can see he's about to lay down, use the verbal command right before, then continue marking and rewarding for awhile.

Quote:
3) He will only sit if he is right next to me too. How do I get him to sit when I tell him to sit without coming next to me?
You need to generalize the sit command. Most people train early behaviors with the dog right in front of them, facing toward them, so that's how the dog learns the command. It doesn't realize that sit means plant your butt on the floor no matter where you are in relation to your owner or what you're doing at the time. Start working on sit in different ways - with him in front of you toe to toe, with you sitting on the floor, a chair, or the couch, with him in the car, on the other side of a gate, with your back turned to him, etc. At first you may need to go back to the beginning and use a lure until he starts to figure it out.

For distance commands you could tether him to something a few feet away, so he's not able to come towards you to sit. Expect that he may be confused at first. When he does finally get it, mark it and go to him to reward. Phase out the tether, and simply walk him back to where he was if he does come to you before sitting.
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the advice. For clarification, the down command I want to be able to say the word and have him lay down where he is standing at the moment (I tend to talk with my hands so I probably will still use a hand command but I don't want to have to touch the ground each time). I definitely will try the ideas you present.
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveDogs View Post
Thank you for the advice. For clarification, the down command I want to be able to say the word and have him lay down where he is standing at the moment (I tend to talk with my hands so I probably will still use a hand command but I don't want to have to touch the ground each time). I definitely will try the ideas you present.
I would get a very solid verbal "down" near you before attempting to get a solid "down" at a distance, and I would also expect to have a solid "down" with your hand signal before expecting him to execute with a verbal cue only. For a distance down, follow the instructions for the distance sit.

To transition from a hand signal to a verbal cue, say the cue a second or two before you use the hand signal, NOT afterwards or at the same time. The word, that he doesn't know yet, will become a predictor for the hand signal that he does know, and will be associated with the behavior you're asking for. Phase out the hand signal by gradually extending the amount of time between the word and the hand signal, giving him some time to work it out. Use the hand signal if you need to remind him what the word means. Big party the first time he sits or downs without having to use the hand signal - lots of praise and a few yummy treats delivered rapid fire.

Don't rush the process! If you try to progress to the next step before he's mastered the previous step it's going to take longer than if you set him up to succeed.
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