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Learning New Skills


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Guest javakaty

We took Nica to a few drop-in training classes over the summer, and then haven't made it to any recently as we've had a pretty busy fall. we've been working with her on her leash and work with her on come at the dog park. I had given up on teaching her to sit because she never did it naturally, and then a couple weeks ago I noticed she had started sitting on her own, so went for it and taught her to sit on command in a day. we've been working on that over the past week, and this weekend I taught her down on command.

 

what are the best next steps? i want to work on stay or wait - any recommendations on the best way to teach stay?

 

also - how do I make sure to distinguish that sit doesn't always lead to down? Do I just make sure to mix it up - sometimes stop at a sit, and sometimes follow all the way through to a down?

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I know some recommend never asking for a down from a sit with a greyhound since sitting is not their favourite thing and many are prone to dropping into a down.

 

If she tries to lay down from a sit when you didn't ask her to just quickly step into her. That'll take away the spot she was going to lay down in and pop her back up into a sit, at which point you should praise her lavishly.

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If you're not going to compete, it doesn't matter whether she downs from a sit.

 

If you are going to compete, it can help to mix up your commands -- sit, heel, sit, stand up, down, spin, shake hands, etc. -- whatever all she knows.

 

Stay: Put the dog in the position you want (I usually start with a stand), give your command, step one foot away from the front of the dog (close enough to keep one hand on the collar if need be). Return to dog, count one-onethousand,** praise, treat, give your release command (or a quick pat on the shoulder to let dog know "stay" is over). Repeat repeat repeat. When you can step to the front of the dog without holding the collar, then take two steps away. Then three. Et cetera. Once you get to @ 4' away, progress is usually quick. I like to get the basic concept in place before I start mixing up "stay" positions but YMMV.

 

** Counting one-onethousand: You don't want the dog to instantly break position when you return to her. You want her to wait for your release or next command.

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also - how do I make sure to distinguish that sit doesn't always lead to down? Do I just make sure to mix it up - sometimes stop at a sit, and sometimes follow all the way through to a down?

Before you start asking for downs from sits, reinforce heavily for remaining in a sit. Lots of people think sit just means your butt hits the ground, I give you a treat and we're done, but any time a dog stays sitting, I reinforce for remaining seated (ever since I attended a Sophia Yin seminar, I always hear her voice in my head, "treat for sitting, additional treats for staying seated" :P). Do this and you'll soon have a dog who sits and remains focused on your for longer periods of time. :)

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

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