Clicker Training Basic Commands – SIT command
By Peter Tyler
Now heâ€™s responding to the â€˜clickâ€™, you are ready to teach some basic commands.
Clicker Training is a completely hands off approach â€“ we are going to allow the dog to use his brain and work out what we are asking him to do. And we all know that the best way of remembering how to do something is to teach ourselves; Clicker Training is so easy because the dog is almost teaching himself!
This is an easy command to train and should take no time at all with the clicker.
With your dog standing in front of you, get his attention by saying his name and letting him know that youâ€™ve got a treat in your hand (and be ready with the clicker in the other hand!).
Remember that we will not use the command â€˜sitâ€™ at this stage.
Slowly lift the treat over his head so that he looks up to follow the treat. Keep the treat moving slowly back over his head, and as his head continues up to follow the treat, his bottom should automatically move towards the floor.
At this stage, he doesnâ€™t have to sit â€“ if his bottom moves towards the floor at all, click and treat.
Continue in this manor, but become more selective with the click and treat; only click and treat when his bottom is very close to the floor, or is actually on the floor. And once he is sitting with reasonable regularity, only click and treat when he is actually sitting.
He will quickly work out in his own mind that by sitting, he earns a click and treat.
This should be very quick to teach â€“ within just 1 or 2 sessions, he should have the idea.
When he appears to know what we want of him, this is where we introduce the verbal command. As the treat is moving over his head, say, â€œFido*, Sitâ€. Practice this with short, frequent sessions, only clicking and treating when he sits on your verbal command.
*NOTE: Before giving a command, we should say the dogs name to get his attention.
For a short time, heâ€™ll try sitting even when you havenâ€™t given him the verbal â€œFido, sitâ€ command, but heâ€™ll soon get to grips with the fact that he only gets a treat when he does it following the verbal command.
Further short sessions should work on improving the quality of the sit. We are looking for him to respond quickly to our command, and we should only have to say it once.
So, if we are trying to achieve a quicker response, we should be more selective and only click and treat when he sits down immediately after our verbal command.
The key to dog training is the understanding that all dogs are different, so what works for one may not work for another.
It may be necessary to alter the method slightly for each different dog, so although we follow the same basic rules for Clicker Training, if you find something that really works well with your own dog, you should embrace it and consider how you can make it work for other commands.
Once he is sitting well, and appears to do it without really thinking about it, the clicker does not have to be used every time we ask him to sit. For a time, it is a good idea to have a refresher session occasionally, with the sit command and the clicker, to reinforce it, but on the whole, it should be very well instilled in his mind.
Now, you are ready to move on to DOWN command.
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