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So we adopted another little pooch, this time a Chihuahua/Feist mix. We got more than we bargained for and have to address growling at strangers in the house and leash reactiveness. With us he is fine and Blue, our Cairn/Jack adores him. They are too funny together and they were fine from the getgo, no issues over food, toys etc. And I was so worried lol.

I am trying to teach him to sit and I get NOWHERE! I know three approaches, one with the treat over and towards the forehead - where most dogs will sit, he just bends his little head backwards like a flamingo and walks backwards. Never seen anything like it. I tried a corner, but he will just not sit. The other way I know is with a collar and the leash being pulled upward. He is very touch sensitive and so he balked and I never tried it beyond that one time. The third is gently squeezing a specific point on the lower back, but again, he is very touch reactive and he just jumped and got all nervous.

Any ideas what to try next?

The lady who fostered him taught him to beg so he is on his hind legs all the time, begging with his paws. I try to ignore it, but it doesn't help with getting him on his butt, that's for sure lol.

Any tips on the stranger fear issue? I have a treat box outside and everybody who enters my house is instructed to come in with a treat.

Thanks,
Patricia
 

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You can try shaping. If you have a clicker, charge it by giving him a treat every time you click about 20 times in a row, until he learns that a click means he is getting a treat. Then, every time you catch him sitting naturally, click and treat. Do this throughout the day, clicking and treating every time you catch him sitting or about to sit, until he starts offering the behavior and expecting a treat. Then, you can start incorporating the word "sit" while he's offering the behavior. I am sure there is someone who can articulate a little better than I can if you don't understand, but there is a lot of info about shaping out there as well. It is more time consuming than luring, what you were doing by holding the treat over his head, but it should work.
 

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Bucky was okay sitting for me but downs were hard. I finally 'sat' on him to get a down, no reason the same thing wouldn't work for 'sit' as well. He is not a dog to manipulate into position either, very wary of handling. I went through half a recipe of stinky sardine bread treats during the course of a half hour visit with my nephew on Sunday, I am quite aware of the sort of beastie you are dealing with! Bucky barks rather than growls so it was a bit hard to have a conversation for the first few minutes.

Leash the dog, take leashed dog, some treats, a clicker if you like, a book or phone and sit somewhere comfortable and wait. At some point dog will sit, click or praise and toss a treat away from the dog but within leash's reach so dog has to get up to get it. Repeat until all the treats are gone and that is it for the day. Next day repeat and you can start pairing the cue word with the action now. I started out saying down as dog was laying down and quickly moved to cuing before he lay down. The cool part was after just 2 low key sessions Bucky was offering downs alongside Ginger. Don't stare at the dog, just read or play a game or text with half an eye watching the dog and ready with your marker sound for just the right moment.
 

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Try holding the treat above and in front of his head a little. He'll scoot his butt in and sit down if you hold the lure in the right spot.

Here's a video of what I mean:
 

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Bucky wants to come train with you, he was listening intently the whole time you were talking to Hazel.

Nope, didn't work, that was the first thing I tried. I couldn't get a lure spin until last week even if he was super revved up chasing a toy as turning his back on me was too scary. Took a month for him to go under my leg to to chase a toy. There are trust and space issues with a lot of rescue dogs. Bucky was used to running the show and getting pulled around when his previous people needed him somewhere else. I think the opposition reflex is super well developed because of that sort of experience. Pulling [luring forward] is hard enough, pushing is impossible, or was. I will have to see if it will work now that he will sit and down and spin and crawl under my leg. I gave up on the idea of teaching it that way but maybe I can lure him into a sit or down now he is more trusting. It definitely puts a crimp in training losing half the tool of luring.
 

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Bucky wants to come train with you, he was listening intently the whole time you were talking to Hazel.

Nope, didn't work, that was the first thing I tried. I couldn't get a lure spin until last week even if he was super revved up chasing a toy as turning his back on me was too scary. Took a month for him to go under my leg to to chase a toy. There are trust and space issues with a lot of rescue dogs. Bucky was used to running the show and getting pulled around when his previous people needed him somewhere else. I think the opposition reflex is super well developed because of that sort of experience. Pulling [luring forward] is hard enough, pushing is impossible, or was. I will have to see if it will work now that he will sit and down and spin and crawl under my leg. I gave up on the idea of teaching it that way but maybe I can lure him into a sit or down now he is more trusting. It definitely puts a crimp in training losing half the tool of luring.
Haha, send him to me! He's adorable!

Yeah, I do think it can be a lot easier to start this stuff with a puppy. They follow food and they have no preconceived ideas of how you're going to interact with them.

I taught Watson to down from a sit easy enough and I think that's the easier way to lure it. I wanted to start with the fold back down with Hazel, though she does know both ways. If she's standing and I say "down" I hoped this would make her default to dropping instead of sitting first which is kind of what Watson does half the time (it's a quick sit, but he usually goes down butt first). Not necessary if you don't care about dog sports though.

For the sit, I think it's actually a little easier to lure the tuck sit than putting the treat back over their head. When you go over the head it can encourage them to just look up and back their bodies up. But done correctly I don't think there are a lot of other options for where their body can go when you lure a tuck sit.
 
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