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Thread: Stupid Question About Sitting

  1. #1
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    Question Stupid Question About Sitting

    I've just started fostering a greyhound (which I'm probably going to keep forever because we're already so in love) and I'm trying to teach him to sit. Yes, elementary, I know.

    I've trained or helped train around 5 small dogs before (all poodles or poodle x) and have never had any problems. But teaching a little one to sit is a lot easier than a big boof whose bottom you can't really cup in your hands, or.. kind of, push down.

    He turns 4 in April, is a failed (I think!) racer, but has been living in kennels for about 18 months. He came with the name Snow, but doesn't respond to it, and doesn't appear to have had much training, if any. He's very eager to please and after 2 days together he's gone from practically ripping my arms off as soon as the lead is attached, to hardly pulling AT ALL. He's an extremely, extremely fast learner, and I can just see him trying to work out what I want him to do, but I'm clearly not trying to get him to sit in a way that he understands!

    How should I go about encouraging him to sit? I guess my issue is that he's so much larger and stronger than any dog I've ever trained before - holding my hand/a treat above his nose and cupping his bottom/pushing it down a bit doesn't work, because I'm 155cm tall and my arms aren't long enough to do both! He resists me pushing his bottom down and his legs look like they're going to bend awkwardly, and he doesn't actually sit much of his own accord. I can't reward the behaviour as it occurs naturally, because he just goes from standing to flopping on the floor.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, and sorry for such a basic question!

  2. #2
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    I cant help sorry but I have heard this is common for greyhounds , not sure if it's just racing dogs or all of them? A trainer I use to see had a ex racing grey and she said it took around 8 months to teach it to sit and even then it would rather lie down than sit.

  3. #3
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    Ha! Ok, that makes me feel slightly less inept! Specially coming from someone with large dogs, haha. Thanks

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    I think (I guess) that greyhounds and some other long legged dogs (eg Great Danes) have trouble with "sit" and "down". I can't remember why. They can do it though.

    Does yours do it at all, ever, on his own?

    You could try "luring" though this is not a long term good way to train anything because the dog learns to follow the treat in your hand rather than connect that to bottom hitting the ground. You hold a treat in front of dog's nose, and when he shows interest, raise the treat up and back over but between his ears. As he attempts to follow the treat, his bum should go on the ground.

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/video-cc.../field_video_0
    Sit, Stand & Down | Dog Star Daily

    YouTube - Greyhounds DO sit.

    The other method you can try is "free shaping", learn about clicker training and after he understand click means treat, then start clicking and rewarding for each different thing he does, ie don't treat for the same thing twice. Then start working towards whatever thing you want him to do and only treat for things that get close to that.

    The idea is first to train him to think and offer you behaviours in the hope of getting a reward (tug, game, treat - what ever he likes), and then to get him to work progressively on the action you want. This might work in combination with luring.

    If you haven't got a clicker you can use the word "yes" or similar short distinctive word. Don't use the word "sit" until he's doing it right.

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    Greyhound do have a problem with the sit.......I know someone who does grey hound rescue at our Kennel Club and it is the norm. Luring (how fitting for a greyhound) is how she gets hers to sit. And patience. Position of the lure is very important and make sure it is worth it (the treat) and the dog is hungry, only hold position for a short period ( with treats) and "free" with lots of play.
    Not too many at once either, good luck
    Pets are forever

  6. #6

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    Some (read most) ex race Greyhounds never learn to sit with any comfort. It is a difficult movement for a long bodied sighthound if they don't learn it when young and flexible, it's due to the construction of their back and hindquarter.

    Our Borzoi are built similarly to greys in many ways, and the pups are very ungainly sitters. But they master it when little so are ok as adults.

    You are far better off teaching "stand" and "down" or "drop" to a grey.

    Of all our fosters only one learned to sit occasionally and he was a short backed muscular dog. The lankier and rangier they are the harder it seems to be.

    Bear in mind with him that sit is an alien concept, he has only ever been expected to lie or stand. Most greys, even if they do sit, are very physically uncomfortable doing so. That's enough for me to not push the point!

  7. #7
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    Thanks so much for this, everyone! These comments have been really helpful.

    I've been trying the luring-ish method, but he just jumps up to get the treat - I may not have held it over his head enough though. I think I've only seen him sit once, and it was in the car, so I might abandon the sit thing and stick with lie instead. I've substituted waiting at traffic lights for sitting, which has been working nicely, and that's my main concern really. So nice to have such a fast learner on my hands!

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    You could fix the jumping for treat by playing a bit of it's yer choice...

    "it's yer choice" from Susan Garrett, eg one bit of dry dog food at a time.

    Get a chair, sit in it. Put dog on lead so it can't quit (walk away). Hold your hand out with one piece of kibble in it and allow the dog to do whatever it likes to your hand, if it bites too hard, detach by pushing its lip over its own teeth or gently push your hand towards the back of its throat until it starts trying to spit you out.

    As soon as the dog takes its nose off your hand, open your hand with the bit of kibble and say "yes", as soon as the dog moves back towards the kibble, close your hand. Be fast. Open-yes, close... after a while including some insane barking, the dog will figure out for itself what it needs to do to see the food. As soon as it can hold its nose off your hand while you hold an open palm with a piece of kibble in front of it... take your OTHER hand, pick up the piece of kibble and give it to the dog. If during this second part of the process, the dog tries to steal the kibble or snatch it, put the kibble back in the first hand and start over.

    Most dogs can get it after 3 to 4 minutes. Some dogs are much slower, some are faster. After two minutes or so, if the dog hasn't got a treat, play a quick game or tug or something else that doesn't involve food that is fun for the dog. A "balance break" if you will.

    See if you can do this with 20 or 30 bits of kibble. Then do it with the entire dinner plate. Or if you really want your dog to respect you, the whole meal. Hopefully after a while the dog will get very fast. Initially you only care that the dog is not trying to steal the treat, but you can up the criteria to the dog has to sit nicely if you want. Or not steal the treat off the floor etc. You can incorporate training "geddit" for when the dog is allowed to pick the treat up off the floor etc. Every piece of dinner is a training opportunity.

    If the dog is still insanely barking after a minute, stand up and put your face to the wall and ignore the barking...until the dog is quiet. Do not yell at the dog for barking because all dogs see that as you joining in and encouragement.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattylou View Post
    Some (read most) ex race Greyhounds never learn to sit with any comfort. It is a difficult movement for a long bodied sighthound if they don't learn it when young and flexible, it's due to the construction of their back and hindquarter.

    Our Borzoi are built similarly to greys in many ways, and the pups are very ungainly sitters. But they master it when little so are ok as adults.

    You are far better off teaching "stand" and "down" or "drop" to a grey.

    Of all our fosters only one learned to sit occasionally and he was a short backed muscular dog. The lankier and rangier they are the harder it seems to be.

    Bear in mind with him that sit is an alien concept, he has only ever been expected to lie or stand. Most greys, even if they do sit, are very physically uncomfortable doing so. That's enough for me to not push the point!
    Geez, I never knew that poor dogs. I wouldn't push for it either, there are so many other things equally usefull that you can teach your dog.
    Respect and you shall be respected. Animal is always right.

  10. #10
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    I'm no expert by any means, but I taught my pup to sit when she did it of her own accord. I would praise her heaps and heaps when she sat her bottom on the ground, and eventually it sunk it. Once she had a better grip on it, I introduced treats.

    Perhaps this would work for your grey, but perhaps if he's too uncomfortable sitting, just praise and treat once he's lying down?

    Like everyone says, if he's obedient already I wouldn't stress too much. Perhaps heel would be a more useful tool

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