As an instructor at ECDTC, I have been asked to write answers here to questions put to me by handlers in the classes. You may have the same questions. Hoping you will find the answers helpful, here is the first Q&A.
Question from Life Skills Class:
I am concerned about my dog. He seems unresponsive, I cannot get his attention and he doesn’t always sit straight away when I ask him to.
Some of you may know my Golden Retriever Teddy. He sometimes takes ages to sit when asked. I have to repeat the cue ‘sit’ over and over until it sounds like I am nagging. Also in training for the display last week he pops up from the sit back into the stand like a demented jack-in-the-box. So I’ve also been wondering what I could do with my big boy? If Teddy has lost a bit of confidence what can I do to help him?
ECDTC is a positive reward dog training club.
So it is Back to Basics.
When I say ‘sit’ to Teddy over and over he is just learning to ignore me. I would say sit just once then praise him lavishly, click/word and reward. If he ignores the cue, I tuck Teddy’s back legs under so he sits then praise/reward him.
If your dog pops up from the sit/stay like Teddy, go Back to Basics in your practice as I have with Teddy this week. Keeping his lead on ask your dog to sit and see if you can get him to stay for at least a minute with you standing by his side.
When he is staying confidently move away one step, then two and so on. Eventually as his confidence grows move 5 steps and add a distraction i.e. bend down and tie your shoelaces. When you return to your dog’s side it is very important to wait a few seconds before click word/ praise /treat and release. Then I would have a good tug game with Teddy’s favourite toy to keep training fun and you can do the same!
See you next time