'Sit' is usually the first command most dog owners teach their dogs as puppies. So would you believe me if I were to say I am still teaching my dog to sit? Even though I have had her since she was only 10 weeks old and she is now just over 2 years old, it's true. More than that, my wonderfully well behaved and well trained dog, still doesn't know 'sit'! I can imagine you are probably a bit confused reading that, especially when I say your dog probably doesn't know sit either.

Okay, granted, if you stand by your dog and ask them to sit they probably do it pretty consistantly, but I have an experiment I want you to try. Ask your dog to lie down, walk a few steps away and ask your dog to sit. Did it work? If it did, congratulations.

Most dogs will get up and come towards you, and sit at your feet. What we want to try and do is work from a distance and for your dog this is a totally new concept. I was working with Keiko the other morning and my attemps to get her to sit from a 'down/stay' at a distance (and I am talking about a very small distance) got her so confused she randomly rolled over as she wasn't at all sure what I was asking of her, it was hilarious, she never fails to delight me. You can see for yourself in the training video

Where to start?

  • Start by practicing down and sit directly in front of your dog

  • When your dog is consitantly getting it right, have your dog sit and step back one step

  • It's much easier to teach 'down' from a sit position that the other way round so practising 'down' first will make it easier to let your dog understand you are trying to work from a distance

  • Build up the amount of step you can move away and still get a sucessful down.

  • Now go back to being in front of your dog and ask for a down. Take one step back and ask for a sit. If you succeed then great, repeat and build up the distance as before.

  • If you don't succeed right off go back to being directly in front of your dog and try again. You can place one foot behind you but not actually step back if your dog is finding it difficult.

As always have fun and finish the session on a high note.