Teaching Your Puppy To Sit Using The Corner Strategy
Puppies are easily distracted by their surroundings. This can make training them a tad bit frustrating. When it is time to teach them to sit, using what is known as the corner strategy can make things go pretty smoothly.
Sitting is one of the first lessons you should teach a young puppy for a few reasons. The first is obviously just to teach them to sit, but there is more to it than just this. The sit command is a foundational behavior, so it can be used to calm the pup down when they are excited or stressed out.
A secondary reason to teach a dog to sit has to do with authority. It is part of a subtle trend in lessons where you teach the dog who is the leader of the pack. You are teaching the puppy lessons, not the other way around. The puppy naturally starts to look to you as the leader, which makes inducing good behavior much easier as they grow into adulthood.
You will undoubtedly be shocked to learn the corner strategy involves placing your dog in the corner of a room to teach them how to sit. Here’s how the process plays out.
You need to first make sure your puppy is familiar with a treat. Assuming this has already been established, take the puppy and some treats into a smaller room. Close the door for privacy. Place the puppy in a corner facing out into the room. Sit on your knees in front of the puppy.
Now the fun starts. Give your puppy a treat to establish positive reinforcement. Once it is eaten, hold another treat in front of the nose of your puppy. Slowly move your hand over their nose and up over their head towards their tail. This will naturally cause your puppy to sit down as they try to follow the treat. When they sit, say the word “sit” and give them a treat.
Puppies are clumsy, so they will often not sit down. Instead, they will fall to one side or the other as they try to track the treat. When this occurs, do not say “sit” and do not give them a treat. Instead, put them back in the correct position and try again.
Eventually, your puppy will start to associate the act of sitting with the word “sit” and the positive reinforcement of a treat. Now you need to move to the next step, which is the hand command.
Return to your starting position. Instead of running your hand over the top of the puppy, bring it back towards your chest slowly. Imagine lifting a book up with your arm and you’ll have an idea of the motion.
As you are lifting your arm, say the word “sit.” If your puppy sits down, give it positive reinforcement with the treat and pets. This is a difficult command for many puppies to get the first time, so they probably will fail at it for a good bit of time. This is okay. Just keep repeating the process until your puppy does understand.
Puppy owners sometime have a tendency to abandon the hand command element of this training. Don’t! Ultimately, you want the puppy to understand many hand commands. This is one of the easier ones to teach. Once your puppy does understand the command, they will inherently understand they need to pay attention to your hands in future training sessions. This will make teaching them more complex commands much easier.
How long should it take to teach your puppy to sit? It really depends on the dog breed. Smart breeds such as Poodles can pick the voice and hand command up in 20 minutes. Less intelligent breeds such as Cocker Spaniels can take a week or more of training.
The sit command is one of the bedrock foundational behaviors you must establish with your puppy. The corner strategy is one of the easiest ways to get your pup trained up, so give it a try.