faster sit (basic position, as part of heeling)? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2010, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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faster sit (basic position, as part of heeling)?

Hi all,

I'm training my 9 month old GSD in Sch. We have a long way to go or the BH but he's already making progress on the revere and does well in tracking. He's OB is OK. The little guy is so high in drive the club manager can't stop praising him. So far, every mistake he's made was because of a mistake I made (that's just something I learned to accept... he's smart, I'm stupid lol )

Anyway, one problem he's developed is when we heel and I stop he'll sort of rock back into a sit. That looks bad, it's slow, and it leads to a crooked sit.

The only advice the trainer could give me was to work on that for a while, and only reward a fast sit. Although I've been doing that, he still sits slow sometimes.

Does anyone have any advice? I want that quick butt on the floor eyes up (yes, he looks forward when he sits and then back to me which I hate!! )

Any advice will be appreciated. He's a real good dog and I want him to do well. We practice every day (although some days I'll just tease him a little and take him straight home to build drive) and I really want him to succeed.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2010, 10:35 PM
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I think you should work on it outside of the heeling. And you should do two very important things. First off get your dog in the right attitude. That means happy, excited and ready to play. This will get him in the right frame of mind to sit fast. Then ask him to sit. This will give you the chance to reward faster sits. Second, reward (food, not toy!) every single sit the dog does. If it's too slow it's an attitude problem and you need to get him in the right mood. But reward every sit. As the dog becomes more confident about the sit he will sit faster.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 12:04 AM
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I sometimes have the same problem (my dog sits slow all the time, in any position) and haven't found the best solution yet, but I will say that I don't think it works to only reward the fast sits. I don't think the dogs really reason that out, so I agree with Fast that there has to be some way of getting a faster sit so every sit can be rewarded.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 11:10 AM
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There are 2 ways a dog can sit- They rock back moving their front legs to their butt or the maintain their front leg position and tuck under with their back legs. The second way is obviously preferable for heeling exercises because we ask our dogs to keep their front shoulder inline with our leg. A dog that scoots into a sit will keep his position better.

I have 3 dogs that rock back. This is because of how I initially taught the sit with the typical raise the treat over the head until they rock back into a sit. I have 2 that scoot into a sit. One I think naturally does it out of drive and not wanting to be any further away from his reward than absolutely necessary. The other I taught to sit that way. I had to teach him to keep his weight on his front legs and then pull under using luring and usually some kind of fence/wall to keep him straight. I saw it demonstrated at a Debby Zappia seminar and had club members who had taught their dogs that way...and it was sort of awkward for me at first- but now the only way my puppy knows how to sit is by pulling under. I have not had much luck in retraining that sit to my other dogs so I had to make other adjustments.

Dog #1 and #2 that rock back into their sits, forge slightly in the heeling to ensure that they end up in correct position for the sit. The fastness was taught by increasing the motivation (playing, teasing, etc) for the reward as well as issuing a correction at the time the command was given. So, prior to the sit command they had to be excited about their reward, and then as the command was given so was a sharp pop on the prong collar. As soon as the sit happened the reward was given and there was much play and praise. This way they would try to beat the correction and see that the quick reaction eared MUCH fun.

Dog #3 that rocks back into a sit has excellent position in the heeling and consequently when he rocks back tends to end up behind me. So, we did ALOT of position work, always rewarded him slightly farther forward where we wanted him to be, and what he did to compensate was that he sits quickly but he actually takes an extra step after I stop so that he can rock back into position and be correct. He's a smaller dog and quick so it's not really noticeable...but that's what he has to do.

It sounds to me like you need to start by checking your dog's drive level and your reward position. He may need more play/working up before you ask for the command. (Think something like Ivan's Game) Also where are you rewarding? I go back and forth between keeping my reward visible and hidden. If I'm having a problem I will bring the reward back out to pep my dog up. Keep your reward where you want your dog to be. Are you forward when you reward? Maybe that's he looks forward, anticipating a reward to appear in front of his face? Of course it's hard to say without seeing it. Try and video tape yourself and then you might be able to see better what is going on.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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JKatsky, thanks for such a detailed post! Thank you everyone else for their input as well. As you correctly pointed out, I originally taught the sit when he was a puppy luring with a treat over his head until he rocked back. As you say, I think the way he sits is firmly planted in his fundamentals so not much can be done there. As far as the reward, I usually bring him into drive with teasing and then tuck it under my armpit. The reward will come out of the armpit along with a release command. Sometimes when working just on walking with attention I'll keep the reward out in my hand as a distraction to see if he'll stay focused so he won't get into the habit of sign-tracking. I haven't really used the automatic correction that much, but I think I'll start and see if that wont make a difference (he will, hopefully, sit faster to try and "beat" the correction).

Anyway these is all great advice, and I'm happy to see such a large community on this site and especially in the sch section. I'll try each advice separately and see what works best.

One thing is that yea, he does get lazy. The first few sits are excellent - quick and clean, butt planted on the ground, eyes up, attentive. But after a few times he gets lazy. I try to keep the sessions short and finish while he's in high drive but maybe I need to keep them even shorter.

Anyway, sorry for rambling here. Thanks again for the advice!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 01:16 PM
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Some dog who get high in drive will develop the hydraulic sit. When my friend gets her female higher in drive, the sit is ever slower. You can experiment to see if the drive is too high or too low.

My boy can have a slow sit. I am not sure that a dog really can differentiate between those speeds when sitting and I think it is very hard for them to learn that you are rewarding a "faster" sit. I know some trainers advise this method, but I am not sure that I believe in it.

I have found with my dog that if I alter how I am working the sit, I can get it a bit faster. If I mover in a jerky faster motion myself, if I do a number of quick skip sits with him lured he is very fast. As far as getting these to carry over to all "sits", I am not sure how successful it will be.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ayoitzrimz View Post
One thing is that yea, he does get lazy. The first few sits are excellent - quick and clean, butt planted on the ground, eyes up, attentive. But after a few times he gets lazy. I try to keep the sessions short and finish while he's in high drive but maybe I need to keep them even shorter.
Or maybe you need to keep them longer. The only way to build stamina and endurance, not only physical, but also mental, is to work for that.

If all your sesions are perfect, but only 3 minutes long, you can't expect later the dog to do a complete obedience rutine.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 01:50 PM
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I just went out with Hogan to see if I could cause faster sits.

I took quick, one step steps with a sit each time. I call these "skip sits". I lured him with sharp cheddar cheese that pulled his head straight up and his neck stretched up. In this posture, his butt has to slide under his body quickly and then I pushed the lure down at him. Several of these with me in an "excited" manner did get his sits faster. Random sits have been harder for me to get a lot of speed on. Some dogs are naturally faster at these type of things than others. Some have a lot of fast twitch muscles and the build for it.

With my old girl, I was able to do some escape work with her and could come down behind her with my hand to goochie her hiney if it was not on the ground. She did sit faster to avoid this. In other situations than heeling though, still somewhat slower.

As fast says, confidence can speed things and it takes some time for the behavior to be so automatic.

Last edited by Samba; 11-13-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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