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Teaching Sit and Wait

One of the initial commands your dog / puppy will probably learn is ‘sit’ as it is a very natural position for them to adopt and also an easy one to begin teaching at any age.

The easiest method of training for this command, in my personal opinion, is one that I learnt from attending puppy classes with one of my own pups. Take your dog’s favourite treat, just a small portion, and ensure your dog is focussed intently on the treat, lift the treat up slowly moving toward your dog then gradually bring the treat over your dog’s head.

Whilst your dog is busy observing the treat in your hand he/she will not actually realize that their behind is now sitting on the floor! As he/she is slowly sitting just say the command ‘sit’ and then praise when in the sitting position and reward with the treat.

Another essential command to teach is ‘stay’ or ‘wait’ this can prove imperative when you wish your dog to stop immediately. I prefer to use the word ‘wait’ as I always feel that ‘sit’ could be confused with the word ‘stay.’ The word ‘wait’ has a totally different sound to it and can be said firmly if needed.

Firstly place your dog in the sitting position and then put your hand facing your dog with the fingers pointing upwards; say either the word ‘stay’ or ‘wait’ in a firm voice. The minute your dog is motionless, even for a split second, praise and reward; the key to teaching your dog any command is the timing. Literally the second they perform the action that you are requesting, praise and reward, implement this flamboyantly. You need to reiterate the point that you are really pleased with their performance.

Then you need to try to incorporate the training into your dog’s daily routine, this way through repetition the commands learnt will stay with the dog. On my daily walk with my two dogs I am constantly training them, without even realizing it at times, they are asked to ‘sit’ when they have their leads put on, again at the front door and when their leads come off.

During their walk I command them to ‘wait’ at the entrance to the woods, to ‘leave’ their ball and to ‘fetch’ or ‘find’ their ball.

The ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ command should be an important part of every dog’s training; it shows that you, as their owner, can control your own dogs.

This can prove so invaluable, especially if your beloved dog is racing towards danger and you can stop him/her on the spot and prevent an accident happening.

You can also intervene with the ‘wait’ command if your dog is heading towards a ‘not so friendly’ dog or if they are running at full pelt with wonderfully, muddied paws straight towards the exceptionally, smartly dressed person on their way to work!

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