In the world of dog performance, achieving flawless sits in heel position is crucial for success. While it may seem like a simple skill, training reliable straight sits requires time, patience, and strategic techniques. In this guide, we’ll explore some effective methods to teach your dog sensational sits that will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.
Placement of Reward
The placement of the reward plays a pivotal role in encouraging proper positioning. Dogs are efficient learners, and where the treats or toys come from can significantly influence their behavior. To reinforce a straight sit, experiment with different reward placements. Consider bringing the treat around your back for dogs that tend to forge while ensuring the dog’s head remains straight up. Developing a specific marker cue, such as “bounce,” can signal your intention to reward in a particular way.
Sits on a Platform in Heel
Introducing a platform into your training routine can help build reinforcement history in heel position. The platform should be just large enough for your dog to sit on without being too crooked. Guide your dog into heel position on the platform and mark/feed a few times. Gradually increase the difficulty by throwing a treat off the platform and challenging your dog to find it and return to heel position. This exercise strengthens the association between the platform and the desired sit position.
Teaching your dog to sit as you come to a stop is a critical aspect of heel position training. Use verbal cues like “sit” as you initiate the halt, and be mindful of saying it on your brake foot. This preemptive communication helps your dog prepare for the stop and sit straight. If your dog ends up slightly off-center, use sidestepping to encourage them to work harder and correct their position. If your dog doesn’t know sidesteps yet, check out this blog:
Rock Back Sits
Some dogs naturally exhibit rock back sits, where they sit behind heel position. Rally and Obedience competitions favor tuck sits, where the dog plants its front feet and tucks the butt under. To address rock back sits, consider using a front foot platform to encourage proper foot placement. Alternatively, if your dog knows how to do a nose touch with duration, incorporate it during the sit to promote a tuck sit.
Investing time in teaching solid sits in heel position is a valuable endeavor for any dog owner involved in performance activities. By incorporating these training techniques and consistently reinforcing the desired behavior, you’ll pave the way for sensational sits that showcase your dog’s skills.