Obedience Training for Common Behavior Problems Pt 1: The Sit-Stay

Obedience Training Solves Common Behavior Problems: The Sit-Stay

As  professional dog trainers we know that obedience training solves common behavior problems.

Dog owners often have a difficult time understanding how they can use their dog’s obedience training to solve common problems. With a little creative thinking even something as simple as the sit-stay can work wonders in your household. Here are the 3 best ways you can use your sit-stay command to make your life easier!!

#1 Door Barging

Door barging is a common and dangerous problem that we hear our clients ask about a lot. A dog that is accustomed to bolting out the back door, side door, front door, gates, crate, everything is putting itself or others in harms-way. We all know the danger that lurks just beyond those boundaries. The road, the gardener, the baby sleeping, the neighbors dog lurk beyond.

You can use your sit-stay to teach your dog patience. Over time you can recondition a the good behavior you want (wait patiently while I go out the door). You can use your training to show your dog how you want them to behave at these areas.

Remember, dogs are reward driven. To the dog, running out the front door is an action that is immediately self-rewarding (yippee I’m free!) but then quickly becomes dangerous (oh no, here comes a car!).  The key here is to begin offering yourself and treats as the reward. When the door opens your dog looks to you. Eventually YOU replace the self-rewarding behavior the dog has created for itself.

Next time you go to open a door, a gate or a crate, forget about sneaking out through a crack, and instead grab a leash, some treats and work your sit-stay!! When its time to go get the mail, water the plants or let Max out of the crate you can say “Sit…Stay” and carry about your business. Woola!

#2 Proper Greetings with People and Dogs

Help! My dog is always clobbering my niece, my friend at the coffee shop, my neighbors dog…my neighbor! Bum-Rushing your friends and their four-legged friends is no way to win them over, this is for sure. Dogs often become accustomed to this common behavior as habit. It can be very self-rewarding. The typical scenario involves two people walking down the street. Person A and Person B are both walking their dogs after work. An excited Max usually drags said Person over to “Say-Hi.” Of course this person is also happy to greet Max and turns on the baby talk and pets Max. Repeat scenario with grandma visiting, the neighbor kids and everyone else. Before you know it you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Depending on the dog, this behavior can often escalate on-leash, especially with other dogs sometimes with kids and people too.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say “he’s usually so happy and excited to greet everyone… he’s never bit anyone before!!” While owner’s often view their dog’s excitement as “happy,” it is in-fact “excited and nervous” or “overwhelmed and in charge” or “dominant.”

This is another common scenario where the Sit-Stay is a tool in your obedience training toolbox to use. Let your obedience training make your life easier. Instead, preventing bad behaviors and encourage good behaviors!

Before approaching and during the interaction it is a good idea to use your sit-stay on a loose leash. Redirect your dog to your attention and then release your dog “to go say hi” in a calm and cheerful way.

#3 Mealtime Manners

Now, I am no stranger to kennels. I know that at dinner-time some kennels are LOUD. Still others are pin-drop quiet! The difference?

Lets face it, dog’s LOVE FOOD…at least most of them. When something they love is presented (in this case dinner) they become excited. People of course love to make their dogs happy. So for a while at least, feeding Fido is pleasurable. Here however is another potential breeding ground for problems.

What’s working here is excited dog and excited owner reinforcing with a  reward (big bowl of food). In the case of the kennel this means lots of noise! Kennels that have policy of taking their time to feed and set down the food bowls when the dogs are calm have a nice peaceful dinner time. You can duplicate good results at home.

Next dinner time, again, get out the leash and collar, use your sit-stay. Wait until your dog is paying attention to you, set down the bowl, then say “okay.”  Overtime you may be surprised to see no-leash, no-collar, no-cue — but your dog is still sitting politely for dinner! Why? Because sitting equates dinner!

I hope these Tips help you utilize your training to make life a bit easier for you, your dog and family. Please feel free to comment below. How do you use your sit-stay to make life easier for you and your dog? We love to hear your feedback, experiences and questions. Post them below.