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How Can I Train Rocket To Sit?


Guest Rocket
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There are a few different methods, but I think it's easiest to catch him doing it naturally—like in that brief moment before he lies down—and give the "sit" command (or click, if you're going that route). Treat and praise. It's a slower process, but you don't have to physically manipulate him in any way (which was important to me too when I did this with Sweep). Does he already know some other commands? I think of "sit" as a more advanced one, just because it's not a position you often see them in naturally, but others may disagree. Sweep took a while longer with it than other commands, and she still does a funny sit/shake hybrid, where she always holds up one paw while sitting. It's pretty cute. :)

 

You can also work on it on a hill and hold a treat slightly above his nose, as described here. The key with both methods is to stand really close, blocking his ability to lie down, as soon as his butt hits the ground.

 

Good luck!

Edited by ramonaghan

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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Guest Wasserbuffel

If he's OK with it, you could try the tuck and fold method. Doing it outdoors while he's facing downhill is the best way to start. The only times my gal plops into, or will hold a natural sit is when she's facing downhill.

 

To do it you have to have a trusting relationship with your grey. You stay in front of the dog, and with one arm gently scoop his back legs out from under him and lower his butt to the ground. If the dog balks, don't force him. He's got to let you do it. The moment his butt is on the ground say "sit" and give him a treat. Repeat until he catches on that his butt on the ground gets him food.

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I started by working them on their beds and luring up from a down. If he's having trouble, you'll need a really high value treat. Bring out the big guns- steak, liverwurst, something with a strong scent. It also helps if you sort of back them into a corner or against a wall so they don't have room to stand. Lure the treat up and backwards, right at nose level. When he gets into the sit, however brief it is, mark it with your cue ("good sit!" or click, if you're doing clicker training) and keep practicing. Once he's got that, phase out his bed and practice on other surfaces. Then once he's got the right motion, he'll most likely figure out how to go directly into a sit from a standing position. After that, it's just a matter of practice. Both of my guys sit before getting leashes on, before being given their dinner, and it's their default motion for every treat/chewy/bone.

 

If you've tried all that and he really doesn't seem to get the movement, you can sort of cup his body into a sit by gently, but firmly pushing back his chest while using your other arm to take out his knees. It's uncomfortable the first time, but it doesn't hurt or traumatize them. I had to do it this way with Henry, and afterwards, the lightbulb went off and he got it right away. Obviously, you'd only want to do this if you've had this dog for awhile and he trusts you. Would NOT recommend this method unless the dog has been home for awhile and is comfortable being with you manipulating his body.

 

Just a side note- I have been in several "greyhound only" training classes, and the owners say, "He won't do it! It's impossible!" And lo and behold, by the end of it class, every single dog learned to sit. Yes, some of them were side-saddle. Some had a raised paw. They usually don't hold the sit for very long. But it definitely can be done!

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Guest Clawsandpaws

Jennifer's training blog taught me everything I know! http://neversaynevergreyhounds.blogspot.com/2009/08/greyhound-sits-101.html

 

Sir Dudley can only do short bursts of training sessions. He is very food motivated so it helped tremendously. I love showing off his "tricks" (I know they're not really tricks, but they are to me!) at greyhound events, and he loves the cookies he gets!

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Guest k9soul

I noticed Rudy would kind of sit as a precursor to laying down, not a neat sit but sort of one leg folded under. So I worked on down with him, clicker and treating, and then one day held out the treat, but did not say down. When he kind of started to do his "lowering butt down" before going down I began clicking and rewarding before he actually got all the way down. The reverse getting up might work too but Rudy generally jumped up pretty fast so the method I used seemed to work better. After awhile I added in saying "sit" as he did so. I started out on his bed, then moved to carpeted floor. I used high value meaty treats.

 

This is about where we are at right now:

 

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Methods I've used, in my order of preference :P

 

For all methods, use some sort of "marker" to let the dog know when he's performed the right behavior. I REALLY prefer a clicker when you are teaching a brand new behavior, but if you don't want to use one or aren't comfortable with it, use a verbal marker. The word "Yes!" said enthusiastically and enunciated works well. If you don't, your dog will be standing up again before you can ever deliver the treat and it will be a much slower process. On to the training!

Method #1 - Capture the sit - only works if you have a dog who sits on his/her own. Neyla was one of my few greyhounds who actually did this. She would sit in her crate for longish periods of time so it was easy for me to teach her this way. Any time she sat, I just clicked and treated. Eventually the dog will start "offering the behavior" more frequently. Click and treat every time and let the dog start to do it repeatedly while you're standing there looking at him expectantly. :P Only when he's doing it multiple times consistently do you give the verbal cue "sit" or a hand signal, whichever you prefer right as the dog starts to do it. You don't want to introduce the cue until the behavior is being performed reliably, which is a common mistake.

 

Method #2 - Lure the sit. That's what's happening in the Never Say Never blog post. I've never tried doing this on a hillside, but think that is a BRILLIANT idea because most often what you'll get when you first start to lure is a dog who keeps backing up, or put his butt down part way but not completely (in the latter case, I would click and treat that for a while, then very slowly expect the dog to put the butt a little lower for the click and treat). The hill will help prevent both of these though (seriously, brilliant). Keep the treat right over the nose and make sure as you move it back that you don't increase the height of the treat. When the butt hits the ground, click and treat. You'll eventually fade out the lure (food) and add the cue again once the behavior is reliable.

 

Method #3 - Capture the sit as the dog lies down. Tricky because most dogs will flop onto one thigh to go into their down so you may end up with a lopsided sit, but if the above methods don't work, you can always clean up the sit later or just settle for the sideways sit. This is what I did with Violet and we were able to clean it up later by jackpotting when she'd occasionally sit upright instead. This tended to happen when she was in a hurry to sit (think higher value treats). :lol This method was described above. Definitely use a marker of some sort here.

Method #4 - Lure from a down. Probably my least favorite, but still effective. Least favorite because now not only do you need to fade out hte lure, but you've also got to somehow transition the dog to doing the sit from standing. But if you train it very reliably and fade out the lure so that the dog quickly and reliably pops into his sit from a down then you can at that point ask the dog for the sit while he's standing and see if he does it. This was actually the method that worked for Zuri except he sort of sped it up on his own part way along. He was doing well with the going into a sit from a down, but we weren't making progress on transitioning to the sit from standing. Then one day we were in the park playing fetch and I asked him to down. He sat instead. In that moment I had to sort of subconsciously make a decision and opted to reward the behavior. He loves to fetch and throwing the tennis ball is VERY motivating for him so I decided better to strongly reinforce that sit than worry that it was after the wrong cue. By the time we left the dog park that day he had it pretty much nailed.

 

Methods I don't use - the scoop & tuck. All you're teaching your dog there is that when her human says "sit" she's going to manhandle you. :P Some dogs will tolerate this or eventually even learn to sit, but some may have a less pleasant reaction. And pushing your dogs butt down - NO, NO, & NO. :)

 

Good luck! Any greyhound can learn how to sit if you're determined enough, don't let anyone tell you otherwise (unless there is a specific medical issue and long legs don't count :lol).

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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It is easier for them to sit on a slope facing downwards. Mine will sit spontaneously on a hill all the time. I had trouble teaching Beth to sit at first but as soon as I gave the signal (raising a treat sort of backwards over her head) with her on a slope, she got it immediately and quickly generalized to doing it on the flat.

 

At least one other person on GT has had success with this method, and I found on Facebook that a trainer who works extensively with greyhounds uses precisely this technique -- I was very proud I figured it out all on my own.

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Thank you for asking this question. You're smart to avoid physical force. (Some dogs will bite if forced, and/or will lose trust in their human.) Most importantly, I would not recommend teaching sit to any hound who has any rear leg or spinal injury/discomfort. A straight sit is not a very comfortable position even for physically healthy Greyhounds, and I don't expect them to stay in a sit for any extended length of time. (Greys are built for running or lying down, but not extended straight sitting like other dogs.) I don't sweat between a side sit or a straight sit. The Greyhound's physical comfort is most important.

 

Many good positive reward (non-force) suggestions posted, and I've used them all. Whatever method is used, it's important to keep sessions short (under 3-5 mintes). Keep sessions fun and happy. If frustration begins, stop immediately. Try again later or the next day.

 

The snippet below is from one of my previous posts. This method is highly effective, and particularly helpful if hounds have trouble understanding other positive reward methods.

 

"Try to set your hound up for success.

Watch for hound to walk towards their bed (or carpet) to lie down naturally. Get ready with treat in hand, and quickly move closer to the hound.
Once hound's rear end touches the ground/bed, you jump in to stand directly in front of the dog's body. Your body is blocking the hound (into a natural sit) while preventing dog from lying all the way down. Immediately say "sit" + offer treat, and praise, praise, praise.
Do this whenever the dog goes to lie down naturally, and the hound will learn "sit" in no time. :)

If desired: A clicker can be used if you want to "click" immediately and treat when the hound's rear end touches the ground (or dog bed), but just treating with food works fine in most cases. A person can make a clicker sound (like horseback riders) if you don't have a clicker training tool available.

I've had a number of hounds that do a side sit vs. a straight sit. This is fine as far as I'm concerned considering a Greyhound's body design. Many times they will eventually do a straight sit on their own if it's comfortable for them. Other hounds I teach a straight sit from the start. Greys learn differently than most breeds. Adapting with gentle, positive training is sooo important with Greys."

Edited by 3greytjoys
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