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Old October 17th, 2009, 09:59 AM
htsource htsource is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Hamilton
Posts: 82
Teaching the dog how to sit and down

My dog knows how to sit and down, but I believe she's looking for my hand rather than my voice. Basically now when I say "sit", she'd just looking at me, then if she sees my hand is holding up, then she'd sit. Similarily if I put my hand on the ground, she'd lie down.

One thing she knows for sure is I won't do anything to her until she's sitting down so she knows if I don't respond to her, she'd eventually sit down and look at me.

Just wondering if I can train her to listen rather than seeing my hand for commands?

Thanks for your help.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 10:28 AM
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CearaQC CearaQC is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Great White North
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I suggest holding a treat above her head, give the sit command and wait until she sits and then give her the treat. After a while she will sit with the voice command alone. That's what I did with Sheeba anyway. And now when I say sit that bum hits the floor pretty darn quick because she knows she won't get what she wants until she "earns" it. But I have to admit she doesn't always sit other times when she gets excited about walks and play ball time and I have to use a more firm voice and add the word "now," which works for us. She will be two years old next month and still acts like a puppy.

I also like hand signals. I just point down to her bum over her head. That's hard to describe. For lay down, the hand goes in front of the head pointing to the floor.

Some days I will give commands through voice and other times with hand signals. In my opinion it gives more exercise for the brain to mix it up once in a while.

After a while they get smart and will just do stuff automatically without being asked, like giving paw, etc.

Take your time, and train a few minutes every day in short sessions. And make it fun!
Sandy Belle Sheeba - born 11/14/07 at 12:30 pm Linx Jasper
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Old October 17th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Bailey_ Bailey_ is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 1,722

Does your dog ever sit on the command? When you got her, did you train her with using the voice command or simply hand commands without your voice?

Chances are she knows exactly what sit and lie down mean. But if she isn't sitting or lying down on the first word of it, she's gotten used to having you put more effort and interaction into this process than simply hearing your voice.

IMO, I prefer a dog that responds to hand signals, simply because it requires them to look at you more often compared to just hearing your voice. Your dog NEEDS to focus on you to give you his attention and thus recieve reward.

But if you want to have her respond to voice command first - start from scratch. Say 'sit', and if she does not respond, instead of incorporating your hand signal, tap her bum lightly with gentle pressure directing her bum to the ground.
Go from the 'sit' to the 'lie down' in the same way, but do NOT use your normal hand signals. She will be looking for them.

Afterwards, praise with voice, touch, or treats - whatever you use.

Once she sits & lays at your voice command, then you can start incorporating your hand signals back into the game if you wish, as long as she continues responding to your voice.
"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater. . . suggest that he wear a tail."

Bailey (Labradoodle)
Tippy (Collie/ShepX)
Vali (American Bulldog)
Artiro (Cane Corso)
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Old October 18th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St. Philippe-de-Laprairie, Qc
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You may also want to try this technique where you put a name to an action already occurring (contiguity learning). When you see your dog about to/in the process of sitting, say "sit" as soon as her bum hits the ground and reward. Same with when she immediately lays down, say "down" and reward. The difference here is that you're not giving her a command before she does the action, your putting the command word to the action that she's just completed. Several repetitions throughout the day for several days and she'll associate the word with the action. Try it. After 4 or 5 days, you can give her the verbal command and I bet she'll respond instantly.

This is what I love most about incorporating training into daily life. It only takes minutes at a time with little effort, and you get a smart, happy pup .
"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." -Will Durant
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