Distance down and sit.
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Thread: Distance down and sit.

  1. #1
    Junior Member Bad Dog Barney's Avatar
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    Distance down and sit.

    I am training a 1 year old lab and I am having issues with distance down and sit. He goes into a sit and stays until I give the free command, but it has always been right next to me. So when I back up and tell him to sit, he comes to where I am and sits. Not the behavior I want if I am trying to make him stop where he is. I have been back tying him to the lamp post in the front yard, but its freaking him out and he goes into an automatic down, so giving the down command really isn't getting the point across. Tonight I tried letting my wife walk him on the leash with me giving commands from a distance, and he was about 60%. She was also holding the treat pouch so she could get the reward right away. Anyone have any other ideas?

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    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    I think you need to go back and add close proximity criteria before adding distance criteria to the cue. For example, can you bounce a ball, throw a ball/toy, squeak a toy, doing jumping jacks, sing a song, run around your dog, play ring-around-the-rosie around your dog, play patty cakes with a friend in front of your dog, have dogs heel around your dog, or throw treats around your dog when cued to sit? If he can't, he only knows what sit means in the context you taught him and not in other contexts. Start slowly, but raise your criteria for sit at close distances. If you can stand on your head and cue sit...your dog may be ready for distance work.

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    Junior Member Bad Dog Barney's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    I taught him that a sit also means stay, and over the past few weeks I have gradually worked distractions in. I can kick a soccer ball over his head (and one time directly into his snout by accident) and he will stay there until I tell him free. Same with the back door, he sits, I walk out and tell hime free. So he gets the idea well, its just that I think he assumes when I say sit, he needs to be at arms length, because that is where he has been through the whole training.

    Edit:

    He also stays in a sit with all the other things you mentioned except for the patty cake. He rolled his eyes and went inside when I tried that the other day.
    Last edited by Bad Dog Barney; 04-10-2008 at 09:29 PM.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Shaina's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    Have you tried gradually increasing distance, or are you jumping from arm's length to across a room?

    Is your body language staying consistent, or are you overly exaggerating movements? I for one went from moving my hand about 4-5 inches for the sit to moving it like a foot the first time I did it from farther away, and my dog looked at me like "who's the idiot waving her arm around?"
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  7. #5
    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    With the exception of a one time soar snout I think you've taught him stay with distraction very well. However, I miss led you a bit, and that's my fault. I didn't mean to add distractions while he's doing the behavior, I meant change his environment when you cue sit.

    For example, stay at your normal distance and cue sit with your back turned to him...will he sit? Or stand behind him and cue sit...does he sit? Or does he in either case try to be where you reward him for sit each time (at your side or in front of you)? If he's moving to where he's normally rewarded, he hasn't learned sit yet. He's only learned sit where he's been rewarded.

    You'll have to let the dog think it out. If you cue sit while lying on your tummy and he moves to be closer to you, offer no reward and move to a different position. Let him try different things, and you may have to make close approximations towards what he knows as normal, but he'll keep trying something new until something new works.

  8. #6
    Junior Member Bad Dog Barney's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    I started out small and moved back. We have been training him off leash in the front yard for about a month now, and I think being tied to something is a big part of his problem. And I dont use any hand signals or posturing when I give commands. My trainer explained that the dog needs to be able to follow a command without seeing me incase he is tearing down the sidewalk after a rabbit and I have to put him in a down. We are going to work in hand commands later. I just looked over and noticed he brought a stick inside....and now I have saw dust on the carpet to clean up. Thanks Barney.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curbside Prophet View Post
    With the exception of a one time soar snout I think you've taught him stay with distraction very well. However, I miss led you a bit, and that's my fault. I didn't mean to add distractions while he's doing the behavior, I meant change his environment when you cue sit.

    For example, stay at your normal distance and cue sit with your back turned to him...will he sit? Or stand behind him and cue sit...does he sit? Or does he in either case try to be where you reward him for sit each time (at your side or in front of you)? If he's moving to where he's normally rewarded, he hasn't learned sit yet. He's only learned sit where he's been rewarded.

    You'll have to let the dog think it out. If you cue sit while lying on your tummy and he moves to be closer to you, offer no reward and move to a different position. Let him try different things, and you may have to make close approximations towards what he knows as normal, but he'll keep trying something new until something new works.

    That makes sense, Ill start trying that. I have been mixing up the places I call sit from and he is usually pretty good, so he might be close to knowing how to do a good sit. Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by Bad Dog Barney; 04-10-2008 at 09:48 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    Last year, as part of the sheep herding thing, I started to teach Atka to Lie Down facing the direction of travel. It took a LOT of effort to gert her to lie down facing AWAY from me. I have a good lie down on her now and I practice it and it needs MORE practice now (winter just made things tough between dark when I was home, cold and snow). We are back at it. I also have her on a whistle. We also need to work on Sit and Stand remotely.. and facing any direction I want.

    From this I learned that when you teach a command.. ANY command.. you need to do all sorts of weird things to proof it out and go all sorts of weird places to proof it out. When we teach a command like sit, we tend to do it with the dog in a specific position in relation to US and so when we ask for it in a new position, the dog doesn't get it.

    I got the Lie Down remote working well.,... and I can ask her to walk up and lie down again in sequence and get it. Walk up means either to me, or to the object she is facing if there is an object of interest. Yesterday I got lie down facing some wild ducks in a pond.. then told her to walk up and she did and then asked for lie down again still facing the ducks. You will get it with your lab too (tho I would not suggest starting with ducks on a pond with a lab.. I can see a whole lotta trouble there... ).

  10. #8
    Junior Member Bad Dog Barney's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    Thanks Elana55, thats right on track with what Curbside was saying. I have been calling sit from several different areas of the house and during all sorts of different distractions. He is doing fairly well, but its not instant yet. Were only 3 months into the training, so I'm still pleased with his progress even if he isnt exactly where I want him. And as far as ducks go, I'm pretty sure the feather would fly. Its funny, his first dog toy was a stuffed duck that has a peeper thing and some crinkley plastic in it. He has shredded every toy he has ever owned except for that one. He carries it around in his mouth in the mornings and cries, so I have no idea what is going through his head. Also, its the only toy you cant throw. If he brings it to you and you throw it, he looks at you like "how could you???" So I just pet it and hand it back when he brings it to me and he walks away.

  11. #9
    Senior Member Alpha's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    So your looking to do something similar to the hand signal excercise in utility. Which consists of the dog being left on a wait in the stand, the handler is at least 20 feet away, and the dog downs from the stand in place, sits from the down in place and than is called to come.

    How I taught the distance downs/sits is pretty simple.

    With the dog in front of you in a sit/down, you leave them on a wait and take one and half steps backwards, still facing the dog, one BIG step.

    When you give the command to down/sit (works much better with the signal than voice) you take one step in, keeping your left foot in place and just moving your right into the dog. Sending the message to STAY PUT. When the dog is down/sitting, you take that step back, count to two, then step in and reward the dog.

    Once the dog is consistently popping up into the sit, and dropping into the down without creeping at all from this distance you slowly increase the distance. If the dog creeps, go back to step one.

    In the beginning were so adamant about the dog being close to us for rewards, super close fronts, tight heeling etc etc, you need to send a clear message to the dog by taking that step back that the reward come AFTER the distance. They are not getting the reward when they are in close whether it be a sit/down.

    I think I may have made a video of it for someone.... I did:

    Watch your volume, I verbally praise my dogs quite a bit! Ha ha! Although Hades has done this many times before, you should be taking a more confident step in and out to start! I don't do it so much in this video because this was more directed towards hand signals then the distance, but it gives you an idea.

    http://s78.photobucket.com/albums/j9...t=ad841f4b.flv
    Last edited by Alpha; 04-14-2008 at 05:25 PM.

  12. #10
    Junior Member Bad Dog Barney's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha View Post
    So your looking to do something similar to the hand signal excercise in utility. Which consists of the dog being left on a wait in the stand, the handler is at least 20 feet away, and the dog downs from the stand in place, sits from the down in place and than is called to come.

    How I taught the distance downs/sits is pretty simple.

    With the dog in front of you in a sit/down, you leave them on a wait and take one and half steps backwards, still facing the dog, one BIG step.

    When you give the command to down/sit (works much better with the signal than voice) you take one step in, keeping your left foot in place and just moving your right into the dog. Sending the message to STAY PUT. When the dog is down/sitting, you take that step back, count to two, then step in and reward the dog.

    Once the dog is consistently popping up into the sit, and dropping into the down without creeping at all from this distance you slowly increase the distance. If the dog creeps, go back to step one.

    In the beginning were so adamant about the dog being close to us for rewards, super close fronts, tight heeling etc etc, you need to send a clear message to the dog by taking that step back that the reward come AFTER the distance. They are not getting the reward when they are in close whether it be a sit/down.

    I think I may have made a video of it for someone.... I did:

    Watch your volume, I verbally praise my dogs quite a bit! Ha ha! Although Hades has done this many times before, you should be taking a more confident step in and out to start! I don't do it so much in this video because this was more directed towards hand signals then the distance, but it gives you an idea.

    http://s78.photobucket.com/albums/j9...t=ad841f4b.flv
    I laughed so hard at that video, it was hard to tell who was having more fun! I"ll try that later this afternoon, thanks for the reply.

  13. #11
    Senior Member Alpha's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    I try to keep it as fun as possible for my dogs, especially Hades. Otherwise, he shuts down! But it's pretty clear by the tail wagging that's he's having a blast! lol

    Also, one thing I didn't mention, try to keep it super fast paced. If the dog creeps, give yourself a max of 5 seconds to set up and do it over again. If you dwell too long on what the dog is doing wrong, fumbling with your treats, or doing whatever, the dog loses interest.

    If they mess up, that's fine, Oopsy daisy! and quickly set up to start again. No reward, no verbal praise, that's all a dog needs to know they haven't done something right. Good luck!

  14. #12
    Junior Member Bad Dog Barney's Avatar
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    The only issue I had with Barney is that when I put him in a down or sit, he isn't supposed to get out of it until I tell him "free". So I'm not sure if the training you showed me will work for him. I tried it today and I could tell that he was confused, and after a few minutes, he was done. Plus after the advice from Curbside, I am going to spend more time getting a consistent down and sit from several close positions before I move away. He is lucky to be alive today, he found a stuffed toy that my wife bought for our soon to be born baby. When I found him, he had all the legs ripped off and was eating the eyes. I thought it was funny....she didn't. So now I have to drive all around town looking for a stupid brown and white pony.

  15. #13
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    Re: Distance down and sit.

    Sounds like your wife has you well trained.

    Maybe she shoud be training the dog????? (sorry.. it is just one of those mornings..)

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