How can I use clicker training to teach a dog to sit on cue?
The sit command may just be the easiest obedience exercise, but the sit must be a reliable sit. The dog’s butt has to actually touch the ground.
To teach your dog to sit on cue she first needs to learn the basic command and that’s done either by luring or capturing:
• Luring is when your dog just doesn’t seem that motivated to learn, so you need a little extra help with a piece of food: Draw your dog’s nose up and back. As her head goes back, her bottom will naturally go down. Click at the moment her rear touches the ground, then let her have the treat.
• Capture: To capture the sit, simply wait until the dog sits down and then click at the instant her rear hits the ground and give her a treat right away..
Once the dog has mastered that, it’s time to add the verbal cue, in this case, the word “sit.”
• Say the verbal cue (“sit”) as the dog is completing the required behavior—the sit command. Start saying it over and over again, early in the process.
• When she finally goes into a reliable sit—that is, when her butt hits the ground, click and treat– but be sure you don’t do it until her butt makes landing!
• Click and treat only for behaviors offered when cued; for example, if a dog sits without you cueing for it, do not click and treat.
It is essential for the owner or trainer to employ precision in the timing of both the click and the reward (which is usually food). Here’s why:
If you click and treat before the butt actually hits the ground, it’s not considered to be a reliable sit. Alternatively, sometimes you’ll click too late. Using the example of teaching your dog the sit command—when it’s time to get up, say something like “okay!” But if your click is too late, and she’s popping up out of the sit or lifting her paw or turning her head and you click—she’ll think that’s the command.