Jump to content
BC Boards
Oz Girls

How can I make her sit faster? Or at all?

Recommended Posts

Why do you think my 23 month old girl Zoe refuses to sit, particularly at the back door? Sometimes she will think about it for ages and then very slowly sit, other times she just refuses. What can I do increase her success rate?

 

Zoe is an intelligent and happy dog, but a little soft. However she has always had an independent streak. She did just ok at obedience in her first year but is having issues now at agility with general focus.

 

We have wooden floors inside and when she was young she would sit like a frog with very splayed legs. We had her hips x-rayed at 6 months and they are ok.

 

Outside on the back deck she will sit on command, reliably and fast, and then hold the sit while we leave the deck to check whether gates are open/shut before we release them to either a) play by themselves up the driveway :rolleyes: play fetch with us or :D get in the car.

 

During designated training times inside, siting doesn’t seem to be a consistent problem. Sometimes she sits fast, sometimes she does the slow sit. They have been clicker trained since agility training (but not for the basic obedience).

 

We have done Nothing in Life is Free when required and I still do it for access to the back door. If Zoe doesn't sit when asked and Jess does, after a short wait I open the door and let Jess out (Zoe doesn’t push to go out). Then I close the door. What happens next has no pattern. Sometimes she walks away, sometimes she lies down, sometimes she sits (particularly if I have walked outside with Jess).

 

The girls are just maturing now, we can see it in their daily activities. Unfortunately they missed out on a large chunk of training and activities in the last 9 months because I contracted meningitis. However they survived on the physical exercise they got from my partner and apart from this ongoing sitting issue (that has been around since she was little) and some other small bad habits they have survived just fine.

 

Now I am well enough to spend some time with them I want to make up the mental ground we have lost. Some of the other basic obedience, earlier learnt tricks and general behaviour is a little worse for wear too.

 

So apart from training them (separately) everyday what should I do:

 

a) should I reshape the sit with a clicker and give it a new name?

:D ask for another behaviour to give her access to the back door?

c) or something completely else?

 

Thanks for reading so much, just to help me to get a simple sit but I would love to solve this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would start it all over again. Maybe you went to fast? Sometimes you can go to fast with your training and they miss something. I would go back to where you make her sit by gently pushing her hips down. Then move up form there. I think it's more of a power thing. She knows she doesn't have to so she won't. Have you ever just quit and come inside? Even if it's because you have to. For the phone or front door? Once she comes inside without sitting it is harder to get her to sit next time.

 

When you have her sit, use a treat that she loves. But only give it to her if she sits. Have you tried the "nothing in life is free" training? I used it for Black Jack and still do. It's great. I think it's the better way to train.

 

As far as agility goes. Have you tried any focus training? I have some I can e-mail you if you want me to. Just PM me and let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can clicker train for it

Basicaly start click/treating for every sit then figure out a sort of average time for her to sit and only click/treat if she is at or above average time - then reduce the time again once she gets faster

 

have a high value treat. and puppy pressups are good - sit, down sit down - treating at random times so she does not know what she has to do to get the treat

 

Make training loads of fun - and at doors and things dont always ask for the same thing - make it so she is guessing what it will be

(and I would say if yoy let Jess out - then go out and play and leave your girl inside - Jess gets the reward of your time)

 

Are you asking for the sit on the wodden floor?? I wonder if her sit is so good on other surfaces mibby she does not like the slippyness - have you tried giving her a mat to sit on?? I am training Ben 'tall' up on his back legs at the moment - but some surfaces he will not do it - he offers all sorts of other things but will net stand tall because he is not sure of his footing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dog has many issues, but he's got a rock-solid and quick sit. When I very first brought him home and consulted a trainer for his reactivity, the trainer told me to have him sit before he gets ANYTHING. Luckily for me, Buddy seemed to process that lesson really well. Sit = "Please." He'll go up to strangers and sit if he thinks they might have treats. :rolleyes:

 

But early on, he had to do it for literally every privilege: food, water, leash, out, ball, etc.. I guess that's a version of NILIF.

 

Good luck! Sounds like you've had a rough year... hope it gets better.

 

Mary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have kind of the same issue going on with my dog, who happens to be almost the same age as yours. He is sometimes really slow on his sits at the door. Most other times he is okay. The times he seems to do the worst with his sits and downs are when they don't "make sense" to him. If he really wants to go outside, like if he knows we are going out to play frisbee, his butt will be on the floor before i even get to the door. But other times, like when we are just going out on leash to potty he will do exactly what you described, or when I ask him for a sit before we go though the gate to the back yard he will do the same thing. And he is absolutely the worst with sit/down when we are out playing frisbee. BCs being "thinking" dogs, I look at it from his perspective "What's the point? Why do I have to sit when I'm just going to get right back up again. I am happy to not rush the door and I am happy to wait in a standing position. Sitting just seems silly, mom. Oh, you insist? Well, fine then. Sigh." Obviously this is probably not exactly what goes through his head, but its the only reasoning I can come up with. Maybe your dog feels the same way. I don't really worry about it, since he is not trying to charge out the door and his "wait" is solid. He is getting a little better as he realizes that I am more stubborn than he is. But if I did really care and want to change it, I would use pammyd's method, above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an exercise that I've used to get a better response to cues and it is highly effective. It's a clicker exercise.

 

Get yourself 30 small pieces of treat/food. Use something absolutely tantalizing for the dog. As you practice this over time, you can decrease the value of the reward. Divide those into three sets of 10 treats. Also, get yourself a pen and paper.

 

Put the treats in a bowl and place the bowl somewhere the dog can't reach - a counter, or the top of the TV or something. Make sure the dog is on a surface that is comfortable for sitting - like a mat or carpet.

 

Cue a sit. You can use a verbal and/or hand signal. You can even use a lure at first, if need be. Whatever you do, though, just give one cue.

 

If the dog sits - even slowly at this point - click and treat and then release. Release calmly and don't reward the dog for releasing.

 

If the dog does not sit - show the dog the treat but then put it in your pocket. (Say nothing here - it's a very neutral action - treat just goes in the pocket)

 

Cue the sit again. If the dog sits, click and treat. If the dog does not sit - show the dog the treat and put it in your pocket.

 

Do this for 10 of the treats in a row. At the end of the first set of 10, write down how many treats you end up with in your pocket.

 

Then, take a short break. Let your dog out to potty, or play ball, or have a snack (yourself).

 

Repeat the exercise with the second set of 10 treats.

 

Record the information.

 

Take a break and then repeat the exercise a third time.

 

If you find that by the end of the third session, your dog's rate of response to the cue has improved, do this exercise daily - just as you did it for about a week. After the first week, start to make timing count. Expect a sit that's a bit faster. If the dog doesn't sit fast enough, treat goes in pocket. Just be sure to take your expectation of speed slow enough for the dog to be successful.

 

If you started with a lure, be sure to fade that into a hand signal as soon as you can - but not so fast that the dog can't be successful!

 

If you find that by the end of the third session, your dog's rate of resopnse to the cue has not improved - or has gotten worse, I recommend retraining the sit altogether.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and for focus issues at agility, I recommend "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all your replies.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if the wooden floor, a bit of confusion and a huge amount of "why am I am being asked to sit now" is compounding the issue. But I am sure she does know how to sit.

 

Root Beer, the way you can measure and repeat the number of sits in the training you describe is great. I will definitely try this way inside the house, on a mat and see how we go.

 

I agree with the recommendation of "Control Unleashed". It is helping us, slowly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're lucky because you have more than one dog. To practice fast sits, I call all my dogs and then give the sit command. Whoever sits first, gets a good treat. The rest get nothing. Doesn't take a BC very long to figure this out.

Barb S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barb, I love your idea and might use it as a reminder training idea once Zoe regularly gets fast sits. Jess is so good and so fast already that if I tried it now all I can see happening is Jess getting fat and Zoe getting more confused.

 

We just tried the 3 lots of 10 sits on a mat near the door and Zoe sat everytime reasonably fast, with no luring. A good start. We will keep working on the 3 lots of 10, reducing time slowly, then the treat value etc and see how we go with the everyday sits.

 

Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you've only got two dogs, or a dominant dog in the group, the group sit approach may not work so well. One of mine will remain diligently standing, poised to protect whatever comes.

 

Also, my girl who is / was slow to sit is dysplastic, so I second checking into the "is there something painful going on" suggestion. I accept a down or a sit in her case (can't think of any disadvantage for us in this.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sweet_ceana, HighDesertSpice, good suggestion. Next time we go in, I will get the vet to recheck her hips and back.

 

Her xray's at 6 months were ok, but at about 12 months of age her back showed some tenderness on manipulation but she was displaying no symptons at all (she was being checked as a comparison to her sister who was having major problems).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why do you think my 23 month old girl Zoe refuses to sit, particularly at the back door? Sometimes she will think about it for ages and then very slowly sit, other times she just refuses. What can I do increase her success rate? ....

 

We have done Nothing in Life is Free when required and I still do it for access to the back door. If Zoe doesn't sit when asked and Jess does, after a short wait I open the door and let Jess out (Zoe doesn't push to go out). Then I close the door. What happens next has no pattern. Sometimes she walks away, sometimes she lies down, sometimes she sits (particularly if I have walked outside with Jess).

 

I just reread this. My impression now is that your Zoe does not want to go out all the time. Maybe there really is a pattern: sometimes she wants out, other times, she wants to just watch your other dog outside, sometimes she *may* be thinking that a down is what you're asking for, and sometimes she doesn't want out at all.

 

My girl often is very satisfied to either just watch the "monster" boy go out (he can be a pest out there sometimes), stand at the open door and look & smell, or at other times she needs / wants to go out. We've been using the "Its' Yer Choice" approach lately--which I like very much for instilling self-control for her in particular scenarios, but I require different things from different situations / doors. Or I don't always require the same things for all of the "go out" opportunities they have. (Maybe that's a fault of mine--perhaps I should be more consistent in this. But it works for us.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the week progresses I am becoming more sure that Zoe's not needing/wanting to go during the day plays a part in the refusing to sit at the door. However the training will continue to improve the speed of her sits :rolleyes:

 

It might be that the not wanting to go outside is related to Jess annoying her in the garden, in the evenings, in the dark. We have been working on this for months. If they both sit fast, they go out together and I go out with them to stop the harrassment from happening or we let them out separately (but normally Jess goes first). Maybe I need to see if letting Zoe go first helps with the sits, maybe she is associating sitting fast with being let out with her evil-in-the-evening sister.

 

If I let them out together at any other time of the day this harrassment doesn't happen at all.

 

HighDesertSpice - I would be interested to understand more of your thinking behind the "It's Yer Choice" and the installing of self control that you mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HighDesertSpice - I would be interested to understand more of your thinking behind the "It's Yer Choice" and the installing of self control that you mentioned.

 

Sure :rolleyes: Although as I"m often guilty of not taking enough time to craft my responses, i'm not sure that you have a self control thing here. The point is to instill in the dog inner self control, vs. imposed self control--which really appeals to me as I'd rather my dog think through scenarios rather than needing me to control or micro-manage whereever possible. I found it in a magazine article (I'll go find the source....). In this excercise:

 

1. Get something of high value to your dog (i use cheese bits).

2. Put the dog in a sit or down.

3. Sit on the floor and about a foot or so away from the dog, open your hand to display the treats.

 

Get a cup of coffee or tea and arm yourself with a lot of patience. THis should not be done in a hurry, and should take as long as it takes.

 

4. If/when dog dives for treats, close fist over treats.

5. When dog pulls back, open hand again (this is a mild reinforcement--due to the dog being able to enjoy the smells). When dog dives / reaches for treats. close your fist. THis may go on for a while :D

6. When the dog holds composure at your fist being open, reward with another different, but higher value something (I use chicken.) This is being held in your other hand all the while, and when you go to reward, open your hand slowly, pick it up slowly, dispense it to the dog slowly, et al. IF the dog dives in at any time during this slow motion reward, don't treat, quickly close your hands and go back to #4 and start again.

7. Do several trials until dog consistently holds composure,

 

All this time are not saying anything or giving any cues--i believe the point with this is to minimize any confusion that you could be introducing to the routine by unclear cues, or confusion the dog has for whatever reason. The handler's contribution is really pared down to the bare minimum. I think it's good to have a pleasant facial expression though...

 

It's important that dog is not able to sneak any of the pieces at any time.

 

You can up the ante by putting the first group of bits on the floor

Adding movement to your hands.

Adding toys to the bits, etc.

 

Since we've been doing this (this week), my girl is showing generally more self-control in those otherwise frenzied-eyes glazed over moments--thank goodness! :D ANd it can be modified. THe point being that the higher value thing is offered but they don't get it until they demonstrate some composure / self control. Ex: sit quietly while the car door is being opened at the park.

 

I'm absolutely sure there are others on this board who really have this down. I've just discovered it. Love it so far, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go back on leash. I had perfect quick sits on my dogs. What I would do is give them little time. I would stop ....pull up on the leash and pop their butt down quick- you have to move fast. Just stop......pull up on the leash, push the butt down and treat or verbally say good dog or click. The quicker the better. I'm not so fast anymore myself, which has led to slower sits. BUT- you can do it all in one action. This only applies to a dog that already knows SIT. Once your dog knows the sit command there is no reason to repeat it. Repeating it, just means your dog doesn't have to listen to you the first time. Once you get the hang of the one movement sit, it will certainly help you anytime you need it. JMO as always.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...