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My boyfriend has a 6 year old chihuahua who has never learned to obey basic commands, so I am working on training him (the dog). I have started training him after a walk and just before meal times, and he obeys the "sit" command beautifully, but only in certain parts of the house. We have hardwood floors with carpets laid over some areas, and I noticed that the dog would obey perfectly in some parts of the house, but in others, when I'd say "sit" he would just get nervous and look away. (I know that looking away is a dog's way of letting you know he is not trying to challenge you--so I don't scold him, but of course he doesn't get a treat, either.)

Today, I realised the problem--he doesn't want to sit on the hardwood floors, but he does perfectly on carpet! How can I get him to sit on hardwood--and other surfaces, such as the front steps, sidewalk, etc.?

Thanks for any help the members of this forum can provide!
 

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Dog's don't generalize a command to every environment/situation/surface - For hardwood, start at square one, and see if he starts to 'get it'. Start training him sit outside too, on grass, pavement, sidewalk, etc, in the elevator, etc.
 

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Chubby's right! This is very, very common. I taught Kabota to sit in the dining room. Then I had to retrain him in the living room, the kitchen, the foyer, the bedroom . . . right now we're working on outside. He'll sit on pavement of any kind (I have hardwood floors), but ignores the command completely if we're on grass.
 

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I have a mini dachshund and a chihuahua-dachshund mix, and neither of them like to sit on hardwood floor. They are fine on carpet, grass, etc. But, they don't really have hair on their undersides, so I chalk it up to it being uncomfortable for them. When I feed them (in the kitchen) I have them sit on the throw rug in front of the sink, while they are waiting to be fed. That way, there aren't any reasons why they shouldn't do what I ask.
 

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my 4 mo old pit bull is the same way i think its because of the lack of thick fur on the tummy and the cold floor, she refuses to lay down all the way if at all on the tile floor
 

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Teaching a "remote sit" early on massively helps the dog generalize sit. You may have associated your body posture to a sit by accident, this often happens. Remote sit helps you clear these issues, ie. if he sits/downs when you yourself are sitting, lying down, away etc. he definitely gets it and you can move onto your backyard. You can proof this by throwing treats around a large area and telling him to sit before you throw another one. And don't get stuck with the sit, train him other stuff like down/stay/stand/heel/fetch and he'll have much easier time understanding the concept of a sit which is to sit when you say sit anywhere any time. People tend to get stuck because dog still makes mistakes and both get frustrated - sit isn't so easy for him as you think. Don't ever make him sit or down on wet/cold surfaces, this just makes him hate the obedience stuff. I see a lot of errors in this very basic command because every dog owner needs a sit but most of them get frustrated when dog doesn't "obey" when in fact he has no idea what sit really means.
 

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Don't ever make him sit or down on wet/cold surfaces, this just makes him hate the obedience stuff.
Kabota couldn't care less, but I do! His white britches + grimy street water = a big mess! (We went through a stage of him offering unasked for sits to see if he could get a treat. Several of those sits were in the middle of puddles. He's a strange little dog.)


I see a lot of errors in this very basic command because every dog owner needs a sit but most of them get frustrated when dog doesn't "obey" when in fact he has no idea what sit really means.
SO SO TRUE. Most of the time when a dog doesn't obey, it's because they don't know what you want. It seems silly, but to a dog, the presence of a red balloon in the sky could totally change the meaning of "sit".
 

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I was in a kids obedience trial sponsored by a dog food company ... many moons ago. My little terrier would not sit because it had rained. He kept his rear an inch off the ground ... we did get second place though ... if only he would have sat! Lol! :)
 

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Don't ever make him sit or down on wet/cold surfaces, this just makes him hate the obedience stuff.
Sounds like that would be a case of the dog training the handler.

One way to achieve a willing sit or down on wet / cold surfaces is to lower your criteria, and up the value of primary reinforcers, to begin with. Some basic shaping may prove to be useful as well.

To the OP: you could try using a clicker and a target such as a small mat, in various environments, starting with the target on top of your carpet and moving on to other surfaces. Eventually fade the target. Sometimes I like to use those small 1' x 1' foam(ish) interlocking squares from the bargain store, they're inexpensive enough to buy two or three and pre-cut them into a variety of sizes for fading purposes. Plus you can colour-match them to the surface you're working on ie: green on grass, grey on sidewalks, black on pavement etc.


Many outdoor High in Trials have been won by dogs who were well proofed as part of the training process for a variety of foreseeable, and "unforeseeable" conditions .... such as rain lol.
 

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What you are talking about is what trainers call "proofing".

Proofing is the final step in training your dog with any new behavior. it is just as important as all the steps that preceded it. In fact, a behavior is not really taught until it is proofed. It involves practicing behaviors in a variety of situations with different levels of distraction. Failing to proof behaviors is the reason why your dog may perform a behavior well on the living room carpet, but not on the hardwood floor.

Let's assume that you taught the sit on a carpeted surface , with the room fairly quiet, and with very few distractions. Once your dog is able to respond quickly to the 'sit' command in this setting, it is time to add some distractions and new settings. Do this slowly, and work on adding one new thing at a time.

If one kind of change is particulary bothersome - like the change in surface that you are seeing - that is the change we hold off on for a while. Instead, we introduce changes to the situation that don't disturb your dog as much. Things like having the TV or a radio on, leaving some toys nearby, putting a rubber mat on the carpet and having him sit on that, etc, etc.


This teaches your dog that (1) the context isn't as important as paying attention to you; and (2) you can be trusted not to do anything that would cause your dog harm.

Then, you will start a session on the carpet, but move slowly toward the hard floor and eventually be completely on it. Finally, you can start a session on the hard floor and with all those other distactions.

The idea is to do all these changes slow...w...ly - one distaction and new context at a time. If one change doesn't seem to be going well, don't be afraid to go back a step.


There are some specific things about training chis that might become important - or complicationg - as you go on, but at this stage we can keep it simple.
 

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Sounds like that would be a case of the dog training the handler.
My advise was directed at average dog owner, not people aiming for competition (obviously, they should know better). Most people don't know what "primary reinforcers" mean let alone how to do proper counter conditioning and train the dog to mind unpleasant stimuli applied on its butt. With that said, most beginner attempts at doing this result in the dog losing respect since frustration (which they easily detect) is almost guaranteed. People aiming for competitions should know how to train sit without reading this thread. Besides, as Amaryllis said, some dogs are just fine with getting dirty :), including my black lab.
 

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I have a Pitt mix who has always obeyed commands beautifully. When we built our house 8 years ago we built it with wood floors and ceramic tile all through out. I noticed in our house he does not like to sit down on the tile. Eventually he got to where he would back up to the large area rug in the living room and then sit when told to sit. I agree with the others who say it could be a cold floor problem. It has gotten worse now that he is much older and has arthritis.
 
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