Crooked Sit - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Crooked Sit

I'm training my female 4 year old GSD for the BH this summer, all is going well with the exception of the heel.

We can do the pattern no problem, she is nice and tight to my knee without crowding and changes paces beautifully.

My problem with her are the crooked sits she does.
I don't understand how she can heel so well and then deliberately throw her butt off 4 inches when we pause!

What can I do to correct this problem?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 02:56 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

when you find out...let me know!! *L*

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 02:59 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

Is her butt away from you? Chico was like that also. I was taught, with treats, don't know if you use them, to have a small piece in my left hand. When getting ready to sit, hold the treat up in front of her nose, but with your forearm away from your body, so she has to look up and out. Her head will be turned away from you, but that should help to straighten her butt out. I hope you could follow my directions, and good luck!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 03:01 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

Practice against a wall?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 03:12 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

We are working on this now.

While on leash, take a step forward and to the side, at the same time tell your dog to "get in" while guiding the leash forward, then out, then close to you - like an S motion. You are holding the leash palm facing you and using your thumb

To practice stand so your dog is crocked and then work on it. It didn't take me long to get the motion as this was the way I trained my other dog to "by-me" or go to heel position.

Hope I explained it correctly.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 03:14 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

Sayth, what I told you in the PM add what Leslie said, I forgot the treat part.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 03:44 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

Practicing along a wall will help - that way she can't sit crooked. If you're not against a wall, you can use your left foot to quickly swoop behind her around to her left side and scoot her butt in, while giving a verbal correction. It's not kicking the dog, but it has to be done quickly, as the physical motion is a correction in itself. It's a bit hard to describe, easier just to show in person, lol .

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 03:47 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

If you are a purely positive trainer and don’t give corrections to a dog you could try heeling next to a wall but this technique will take a lot of time. I personally have never had success with this method. When there is no longer a wall next to the dog the issue returns in my experience.

If you are OK with correcting a dog hang an extra leash over your left shoulder. When you stop that leash comes down and slaps your dog across the rear hips as a correction. The dog will instantly move the ass inward toward your body. In my experience 2 or 3 good corrections in this fashion corrects the problem for me. Like all corrections it must mean something to the dog. A sissy type slap will not produce results. Good corrections and timming is required!

You problem was created because of training technique. Re-evaluate your technique and make sure you are not encouraging the dog to open up (move the ass away from you). A reward held or presented in the right hand often creates this issue.

Have a great day
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 04:35 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

I did the heeling against a wall or fence to straighten out sits and out-of-motion downs. Lots and lots and lots of practice. Correcting by hitting her hind did not work for my dog, it only made her worried, and if she worried she got more crooked!

Your girl most probably pushes her rear out to get a better look at you, and because she wants to get closer to your right hand were the treat is coming from.

Have the treat come to her from your left hand. Hold it over her head, or as LXHunter was saying out to her left. Keep her looking at you for heeling and the basic position. Hold the leash in your right hand and correct her if she turns her head to look at the treat while heeling, or before you release her.

She will do funny stuff at first, because you are changing the way you reward, but she will stay in closer and not swing her body out to get closer to the treat, because the treat is already close to her, and coming from the other direction.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 09:38 PM
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Re: Crooked Sit

A real effective way I've found of straightening up a crooked sit is to teach my dog to target to my hand. This means that the dog learns (separately, away from the heeling) to touch the palm of my hand with his nose when I hold my hand out and say "touch". Then I add this in to the heeling. When I slow down for the stop, I hold my hand up over the dog's head and say "touch" as I stop. The dog has to raise up the front end to touch my hand and that naturally drops the hind end into a straight sit. And then I further back that up by saying "sit!" so that the front end will settle into the proper spot too.

What's nice about this is that if the dog does sit crooked, I can do a quick "touch" to bring them into the right position, and then I can reward that position. One of the challenges in re-teaching a proper sit is to do it without messing up the heeling (which can easily happen if you start nagging or punishing the dog for sitting crooked). I'm sure the last thing you want is to get your dog stressed to the point where she's lagging on the heel because she's worried about a punishment on the sit.

As you progress through this and the dog is consistently rewarded for the straight sit, you can fade out the touch command and the hand over the head. In all honesty, this was one of the quickest "fixes" I'd ever found for a crooked sit.

You will want to also be sure that your body language is correct. If you are turning your left shoulder back, that will encourage her to sit crooked. It's a real help to set up a video camera and to tape your sessions to see what you might be doing wrong. A crooked sit is almost always a trained behavior, so something along the way set your dog up to sit crooked. I doubt it's "deliberate" in the manner of your dog thinking "I must move my butt out four inches" - it's simply the way she's learned her sit. Many dogs develop a crooked sit because they have been taught to look up at their owners and that's hard to do from the side, so they swing out a bit to make it easier. We do so much "front" work that it's a common problem.

Good luck!

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