Teaching “Sit” and “Sit-Stay”
Place your dog on your left side, hold his collar with your right hand, and place your left hand on his loin slightly in front of his hip bones and behind his rib cage to teach the “sit” command. Ask him to “Sit” while you draw up on the collar and push down on the loin in one continuous action, using authority rather than domination. It’s critical that you exude confidence to your dog. Praise him, then say “chin-touch okay” and let him go.
Practice a few times, but don’t overdo it, especially if your puppy is young. You want him to leave the experience having been rewarded for accomplishing what you’ve asked for, rather than having you unhappy about something he doesn’t comprehend.
Begin teaching your puppy to hold the position in a “sit-stay” as soon as he understands what “sit” means. In a nutshell, teaching the sitstay entails using the sit command, teaching the sit-stay from one step away, and then progressing to the leash-length sit-stay.
Basic Sit-Stay Instruction
Talk to, pet, and praise your dog, but don’t let him move. When required, reposition her smoothly and quickly by pulling her back into the sit while tightening the collar. If she is stiff and refuses to budge, move her forward and guide her into the sit. Release after a few seconds with a “chin-touch okay.”
After three days of no resistance, issue the instruction “Sit” and wait for a reaction. As you praise, push down on the loin and provide a sharp upward pull on the lead to reinforce your order. With the “chin-touch okay,” let go.
Here are some general rules to follow when teaching your dog to stay:
- Use a hand gesture along with your “stay” command just before leaving your dog.
- Distractions such as people, locations, and movements can be used to put your dog through her paces and ensure that she is learning.
- Pay close attention. Move in to correct your dog as soon as she begins to leave the “stay” position; otherwise, she will question what the correction was for.
- Silently correct. If your dog did not obey the first time, repeating yourself will just result in more bewilderment or disobedience. Guide her into the desired response by using the leash, your hands, and praise.
- After the repair, leave immediately. After correcting your dog, avoid staying next to or slowly moving away from her; instead, immediately return to where you were when the dog made the error.
- The strength of your correction should be adjusted according to your dog’s size, degree of training, reason for movement, and level of enthusiasm or distraction.
- Finish all stays by returning to your dog’s right side, lavishly rewarding him, and releasing him with the “chin-touch okay” command.
One Step Closer to Teaching the Sit-Stay
Your dog should be able to sit on command and wait to be released with a “chin-touch okay” before you begin. Hold the leash firmly over the dog’s head to practice. Command “Stay,” then step in front of him and seem to be busy while creating distractions — utilize several diversions, return to praise regularly, and ultimately release with “chin-touch okay.” Moving the head and wagging the tail is acceptable, but you should curtail attempts to scoot forward, rotate, or stand with a light, snappy upward jerk and praise.
If your dog tries to lie down, tighten the leash enough to prevent him from lowering comfortably into the down position and praise warmly as he realizes he doesn’t have enough slack to lie down. If your dog is prone to reclining, loosen the lead and ready to repeat this procedure several times throughout the next week of training.
Teaching the Sit-Stay with a Leash
To practice, say “Stay” and walk to the end of the leash while holding the handle. Use distractions such as stepping side to side, bending down, pulling forward lightly on the leash, or dropping food or toys in front of your dog. This teaches her that no matter what your preoccupation or what activities surround her, she stays put. Frequently tell her she is a good girl. Stop movement immediately by :
- sliding your free hand down almost to the snap of the leash as you step into your dog,
- quickly maneuvering your dog back into place without saying a word
- jerking upward
- moving back to the end of the leash.
Enforce sit-stays while you:
- address a postcard
- read the headlines
- turn on Netflix
- empty the garbage
- download your iTunes
- tie your shoes
- wrap a gift
- get stuck on hold
- weed a flowerbed.
When you no longer need to allow spare time for corrections, your dog has mastered the sit-stay.