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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Jack's five and a half. He spent most of his life being trained that all good things come to dogs who stand and sitting is bad. Try to treat him? Stand. Praise him? Stand. Anyone paying any kind of attention to him (unless they're lying down or in motion)? Stand. Want the ball? Stand.

He doesn't lure. He doesn't offer sit; I rarely see him sitting period. Lying down, yes, but not sitting. When I do and try to praise him for it - he seems to see praise or treat coming and pops up like a - well, a jack-in-thebox, if you can forgive a horrible pun.

On one hand, as far as issues with dogs go this is so minor as to be inconsequential.

On the other, I had intended to do some agility with him in the fall. Just fun stuff, but. He kind of needs to learn to sit in the next three months.

Anyone have any suggestions?
 

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Have you tried gently pushing his butt down into a sit position and hold him there while treating? Since he pops back up, you need to prevent him from popping lol. Do this with everything, so he has to be sitting if he is to receive anything as all: sit before jumping on the couch, collar, food, toys, treats, walking out the door, etc. Keep helping and holding him into the position until he stops popping which could be a little while, but if you're consistent and have high value rewards, you can surely succeed :D
 

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To do agility, you really don't need a sit. As long as he will hold position, he can stand. In AKC, they can stand on the table too. I have one of my dogs stand on her start-lines.

However, the key to sit is teaching and rewarding it incrementally. I would lure the sit. In the beginning, I would give the treat just for looking at the treat. Then for tipping his head. Just reward tiny increments. Clicking when you see him sitting on his own is helpful too. Might take a little longer because of his default standing, but you can get there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
To do agility, you really don't need a sit. As long as he will hold position, he can stand. In AKC, they can stand on the table too. I have one of my dogs stand on her start-lines.

However, the key to sit is teaching and rewarding it incrementally. I would lure the sit. In the beginning, I would give the treat just for looking at the treat. Then for tipping his head. Just reward tiny increments. Clicking when you see him sitting on his own is helpful too. Might take a little longer because of his default standing, but you can get there!
Teaching him to follow the treat/lure, actually, sounds BRILLIANT and I don't know *why* I didn't think of it. Heck, that should make all kinds of things easier. He WILL follow the treat with his eyes, getting him out of the stand might take some doing but if we can get there I suspect a lot of things will be a lot easier.

Wicket, the gentle pressure might not be a bad idea, but not only do we have the natural 'counter pressure' in response to pressure thing happening, but a 'you're handling me. I MUST STAND HARDER' that I suspect comes from the confirmation ring. He's a fairly small dog, but to get him to get into the sit I'd have to use rather a lot of pressure and I'd - rather not.
 

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Teaching him to follow the treat/lure, actually, sounds BRILLIANT and I don't know *why* I didn't think of it. Heck, that should make all kinds of things easier. He WILL follow the treat with his eyes, getting him out of the stand might take some doing but if we can get there I suspect a lot of things will be a lot easier.

Wicket, the gentle pressure might not be a bad idea, but not only do we have the natural 'counter pressure' in response to pressure thing happening, but a 'you're handling me. I MUST STAND HARDER' that I suspect comes from the confirmation ring. He's a fairly small dog, but to get him to get into the sit I'd have to use rather a lot of pressure and I'd - rather not.
You can try to lure and use pressure at the same time to encourage him into the position. Once he start crouching, he might be more willing to sitting. Also, if you do decide to try to the pressure, you have to push at the very end of the rear, like base of the tail. Don't press on the base itself, but kinda curl your hand around his bum and base of tail so the pressure isn't at one small area on the rump. Do not press straight down, but curl his bum downward, almost diagonal going down into the ground towards you. This is a little bit more natural of a movement than planting the bum straight down. But if you decide not to, it's all good, I would suggest using a really strong smelling treat/lure. That way you have both eyes and nose following. When a dog goes to sniff, they then to lean a little closer to get a good sniff. You can use this to your advantage when he leans forward to sniff the treat. The moment he moves just a little bit, click/mark/whatever you're using, and treat.
 

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All dogs are different. None of mine were trained with pressure or force. If you push on my dogs, they will push back. They think that's what they are supposed to do. If you were to keep pushing, they would become confused and try to leave. We just never did things that way, so they don't understand it and want nothing to do with it.

If a stranger tells them to sit and they don't and the stranger pushes on them, they just leave. Sounds like this retired show dog feels the same way about it. If you train with a system that doesn't use pressure, it's hard to introduce it. No question, it works, but it's often incompatible with a shaping/luring/reinforcement system because it sort of minimizes "choice."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
...it's often incompatible with a shaping/luring/reinforcement system because it sort of minimizes "choice."
Given how long it's been since we've had a dog, my thinking here may not be quite right (from memory lapses, or just changing philosophies and lack of recent hands on stuff) - but where I'm coming from right now, as I think about this more, is I'd rather teach him to learn than teach him to sit. He's a good, solidly well behaved dog as he is. He walks well on a leash, he's housebroken, he isn't destructive, he's got a good recall and a surprisingly great stay, but he doesn't.... I'm not sure what phrasing I'm looking for here, exactly, but seems to think he knows what's expected of him and wants to do it, rather than to try new stuff. Now, make no mistake - he is a new (to me) dog, and that makes sense for him. But I'd like him to learn that what I want is for him to try new things.

This is part of the reason I'd like to try some agility with him. He will follow me ANYWHERE, over anything. This is part of the behavior he knows and does, that I think could be expounded to become a fun thing for him, and maybe stretch his brain a bit. Or be fun for him because he's stretching.

So, if the sit isn't needed maybe I'll shelf that and work on the learning to follow a lure a bit more, and while I'm at it go get a clicker and a box. That at least sounds like something that would encourage him to try new things.

(And yes. If you try to apply pressure or move him into position he has no clue what you want, pushes back and if there's any real continuation he wanders off in complete confusion. It's just not part of his vocabulary)
 

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He doesn't lure. He doesn't offer sit; I rarely see him sitting period. Lying down, yes, but not sitting. When I do and try to praise him for it - he seems to see praise or treat coming and pops up like a - well, a jack-in-thebox, if you can forgive a horrible pun.
Have you considered using a clicker, rather than praise ? First, basically condition him to the clicker. Next, click & treat for various other behaviours, so that he begins to understand that his own actions control that clicking sound. Then, when you see him offering a 'rare' sit during the course of a day, be completely ready for it, and again just click & treat. It won't matter if he pops up after the click, since a click ends the behaviour. Remember, this is merely a STARTING POINT to BUILD a solid, consistent sit with a more appreciable amount of duration.

As for luring ... it could work, maybe .. but you'll probably need to tweak the mechanics / motion from whatever way you're currently trying to perform it. Hard to say, really, without actually seeing your present technique.
 

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He doesn't lure. He doesn't offer sit; I rarely see him sitting period. Lying down, yes, but not sitting. When I do and try to praise him for it - he seems to see praise or treat coming and pops up like a - well, a jack-in-thebox, if you can forgive a horrible pun.


On the other, I had intended to do some agility with him in the fall. Just fun stuff, but. He kind of needs to learn to sit in the next three months.

Anyone have any suggestions?
This is actually a pretty common issue with dogs coming from the breed ring into performance activities. Any good trainer who does obedience and/or agility training will know exactly how to deal with this, and you could probably solve the 'problem' within the first or second beginner training sessions. And they won't do it by forcing, as some of the people here recommend.

Also, if you contact the trainer that you did your show handling with, I'm sure he or she can give some pertinent suggestions and maybe even point you to a good performance trainer.

As already mentioned, strictly speaking, a sit is not needed for agility. However, it's a nice behavior to have and who knows - you may want to get into something where a sit IS more important.

Here's one approach that tends to work quite well with older dogs (remember to follow the 3X3 rule):

Have your dog standing right in front of you - this is easy for show dogs. Hold a small tasty treat in your hand. Let your dog smell it briefly. Move your hand with the treat from his nose level up over his head - your hand should be only one or two inches away from your dog at all times. In most cases, your dog will follow the treat up with his nose and at the same time his rear end will move toward the ground. As soon as it moves toward the ground, "click" and give him the treat and also praise. You can "condition the clicker" first if you want to, but I've found that to be unnecessary. And "clicker" here means whatever bridge you have decided to use - although these days most peope do use the mechanical clicker.

Dogs generally find a 'half-sit' uncomfortable and they'll soon move to full ground contact. When that happens, have a party.

If your dog backs away or jumps up at the treat, you are making a mistake - probably taking your hand too far back over his head, or too far away from his nose. You can do this with your dog in front of a wall so he can't back up, but if you do it correctly that isn't necessary.

Repeat this step until your dog gets it, then you can introduce the verbal part of the command. We don't do the verbal until we have the behavior. Just before you begin to move your hand with the treat, say "SIT" or whatever verbal command you are going to use. Keep doing this for a while until he responds to your verbal command without you even moving your hand. This is going to take a while so have patience. Remember to proof this command and behavior at different times during the day, in different places, and eventually with distractions.

Good luck.
 

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Cool ! Your dog has been trained Not to Sit. A few large dogs - Greyhounds and Irish Setters, sometimes won't Sit, b/c it is uncomfortable... but they have a great Stand Stay.

I don't have a concrete suggestion, but maybe some observations/explanations of conventional Sits may help. If you already know these, nevermind :)

1. Capture method (similar to clicker training in concept): Go some place where there are no distractions (maybe the kitchen) and ignore the dog. He will sniff then get bored. Then he will sit, then lie down, then fall asleep. So the technique is to capture the act of sitting and reward it. Then, ignore the dog until he Sits again... Repeat.

2. Lure Method (already mentioned): Use a high value treat, show it to the dog, slowly moving the treat back from his nose toward his tail. If he jumps, the treat is too high; and gets the treat, it is too low. If he backs up, then block him in a corner or against a wall. Work with it, move around, and modify the speed to achieve the effect.

Not sure what happens when Sit was 'not allowed' for the dog. I'm interested to hear your progress...

Good Luck...
 

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Guiding the dog into a sit isn't about pushing down on their hips until they buckle. You have the dog in a stand, grab the back of the collar with one hand, place the other hand on the hips, then apply upwards and backwards pressure with the hand that is on the collar, rocking the dog back into the sit. The hand on the hips does very little, the hand on the collar does 70% of the job. I tried this on my dogs that have been shaped to do everything, never been guided into any position, and it worked like a charm.

But if you want the dog to actually think for itself, you need to get into shaping. Luring doesn't promote independent thought, you're still showing the dog exactly what to do, just hands off. And luring present the reward before the dog has done anything, so you're not teaching the dog that if he does something for you, you will give him something nice. The nice thing is already there before the dog has done anything, so you don't get the anticipation of receiving a reward.

I don't like luring at all. With shaping at least the dog is thinking and figuring stuff out, and with guiding the dog is learning to accept being handled and restricted etc. With luring all the dog learns is the behaviour. It's not thinking for itself, and it's not learning to accept handling. So luring any behaviour is a waste of a learning opportunity.
 

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I had the same issue with my sort-of-retired show dog (we might get him back out, but we're not sure) who came to me after he was finished showing at the age of 3. What worked for us (luring did not, and I didn't want to guide him) was shaping. I shaped him to go to a mat, then once he was there just waited. If he left the mat, fine. Once he came back, he got 1 cookie. Eventually he sat on the mat and got 2 cookies and TONS of praise. I called him off the mat, he went back on his own, 1 cookie. He sat again, 5 cookies and praise. I did that for a while until he was used to offering a sit to begin with. THEN I waited for him to offer it NOT on the mat, during a later training session. Eventually put it to a command, and that was that. I did the same thing with a down :)

This actually took a long time, but he's very reliable now - once he "got" it, he generalized it very well to most every location/situation, and I was able to fade treats really quickly.
 

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Jack's five and a half. He spent most of his life being trained that all good things come to dogs who stand and sitting is bad. Try to treat him? Stand. Praise him? Stand. Anyone paying any kind of attention to him (unless they're lying down or in motion)? Stand. Want the ball? Stand.
Question: you ARE curtailing (actually 'eliminating' for the time being) ALL forms of reinforcement for the stand position ? Well ... as much as humanly possible, right ?

This should be part of the program to help bring things into balance, eventually.


To put the shoe on the other foot .... if a seasoned obedience dog is headed for the conformation ring but has an ingrained habit of sitting at every stop, part of the fix will likely exclude ANY reinforcing of the sit (inadvertant or otherwise), at any / all times.

Also, this is typically where conditioning with 'different collar types for different behaviours in different venues' comes handily into play.
 

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To put the shoe on the other foot .... if a seasoned obedience dog is headed for the conformation ring but has an ingrained habit of sitting at every stop, part of the fix will likely exclude ANY reinforcing of the sit (inadvertant or otherwise), at any / all times.

Also, this is typically where conditioning with 'different collar types for different behaviours in different venues' comes handily into play.
A seasoned obedience dog will already know the cue for stand. If I am showing a dog in conformation (and obedience at the same time) I am careful to swing myself out of heel position if I want the dog to auto-stand instead of sit. And of course, on a moving stand (in obedience) I can cue the stand.
 

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To put the shoe on the other foot .... if a seasoned obedience dog is headed for the conformation ring but has an ingrained habit of sitting at every stop, part of the fix will likely exclude ANY reinforcing of the sit (inadvertant or otherwise), at any / all times.
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There is something incorrect here . ALL obedience dogs - beginners or "seasoned" - know how to stand in the heel position - it is one of the very early behaviors taught. A "seasoned" obedience dog not only knows how to stand while at the heel position, but also knows a moving stand as well as how to stand on a halt rather then sitting. I don't think that any "seasoned" obedience dog would have any problem showing in breed.

And we don't have to change collars either.
 

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I don't like luring at all. With shaping at least the dog is thinking and figuring stuff out, and with guiding the dog is learning to accept being handled and restricted etc. With luring all the dog learns is the behaviour. It's not thinking for itself, and it's not learning to accept handling. So luring any behaviour is a waste of a learning opportunity.
I'm not sure I see such a bright-line difference between the two (or three) techniques. I do know that different techniques work for different dogs, and that with a highly food motivated dog, what you call "luring" works perfectly OK for teaching new behaviors.
 

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I'm not sure I see such a bright-line difference between the two (or three) techniques. I do know that different techniques work for different dogs, and that with a highly food motivated dog, what you call "luring" works perfectly OK for teaching new behaviors.
Luring is a nice and quick way for the average pet owner to get the dog to do a behaviour. It's good because it lets the owner feel like they are training their dog. The problems happen when they try to fade out the lure, which a lot of people aren't able to, and forever rely on a lure to get the dog to do basic behaviours. And in some cases the dog are so obsessed with the food that they don't actually realise they're doing a behaviour, and in those cases getting the dog to do it reliably will take ages, much longer than it would have taken to just shape or position it. For the average pet dog that only needs to sit when asked and come when called, it's probably not an issue.

But the difference are what I said above, one method teaches the dog to think + new behaviour, another teaches the dog to accept being handled and restricted + new behaviour, and the last teaches only a behaviour and nothing else, and teaches it quite slowly.
 

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But the difference are what I said above, one method teaches the dog to think + new behaviour, another teaches the dog to accept being handled and restricted + new behaviour, and the last teaches only a behaviour and nothing else, and teaches it quite slowly.
This is rather old-school, IMHO.

The difference between a lure and a reward is nominal at best and probably non-existent in practice- even in human psychology. "Eat your broccoli or you don't get any of this dessert on the sideboard". Is the dessert a reward or a lure? It is pretty much what you decide to call it.

Certainly in dog training, you'd be hard-pressed to actually define the difference in any practical situation.

I'm sure we don't know enough about how dogs think. I train for a behavior, not for what it may be speculated that a dog is thinking. I can measure behavior - I can't measure thinking.

Once you have a behavior - no matter how you arrived at it - what you do with it from that point on is up to you.
 

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There is something incorrect here . ALL obedience dogs - beginners or "seasoned" - know how to stand in the heel position - it is one of the very early behaviors taught. A "seasoned" obedience dog not only knows how to stand while at the heel position, but also knows a moving stand as well as how to stand on a halt rather then sitting. I don't think that any "seasoned" obedience dog would have any problem showing in breed.
At the risk of splitting hairs ... I think it depends on what one considers a seasoned obedience dog. A number of Novice level dogs are actually manipulated manually into the stand position for SFE prior to the handler leaving, as this is permitted by the rules. There are no other instances in either the Novice or Open routine where the dog is required to stand at heel.

On the other hand, if one is referring a Utility level dog, well that's different. However, in the case of the Moving Stand as you describe, the dog is at no point required to stand in heel position but rather, during the Signal excercise the dog is required to do so. Moving Stand is just that, ...the handler "moving" out of heel position while the dog remains, so there is essentially no point in time where the handler is stationary and the dog is standing in heel, at least in that particular excercise.
 

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At the risk of splitting hairs ... I think it depends on what one considers a seasoned obedience dog. A number of Novice level dogs are actually manipulated manually into the stand position for SFE prior to the handler leaving, as this is permitted by the rules. There are no other instances in either the Novice or Open routine where the dog is required to stand at heel.

On the other hand, if one is referring a Utility level dog, well that's different. However, in the case of the Moving Stand as you describe, the dog is at no point required to stand in heel position but rather, during the Signal excercise the dog is required to do so. Moving Stand is just that, ...the handler "moving" out of heel position while the dog remains, so there is essentially no point in time where the handler is stationary and the dog is standing in heel, at least in that particular excercise.
We are wandering pretty far from the original issue - but that's OK with me.

Thank you, petpeeve, for those explanations, but I am well aware of the Obedience rules.

However, I am talking here about behaviors, not about exercises.

Generally, we start teaching behaviors long before we train for the specific ring exercises.

A stand-stay in the heel position is a behavior that is taught very early on - usually in an attention class because it's useful in many activities. We neither encourage nor discourage stacking - we leave that to the handler. But in any case, stacking would not be a problem in the breed ring.

However, an obedience dog will also have been taught to stand during heeling, as well as to sit during heeling, as directed by the handler.

We could - and usually do - start working on those other stand behaviors while the dog is competing in Novice Obedience and maybe even earlier in some cases - but we would certainly start teaching them well before the dog has started competing in Open Obedience. We would NOT wait until the dog finished in Open to start teaching them.

By the time the dog is ready to compete in Open, we'd like to have those behaviors fairly solid so we can start teaching the actual Utility exercises.

So a "seasoned" Obedience dog - which to me means one that has competed at least at the Novice level - will have no problem executing a stand in the breed ring.
 
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