In one of my training sessions today, I was working with a German Shepherd by the name of Addie. Addie is doing really, really well, but her owner came to me with the problem of Addie needing better obedience. The big issue was her reactivity towards other dogs. We’ve been working on that and it’s actually going quite well.
Addie is staying on her place very well. She actually handled the doorbell very nicely today when I arrived and also when somebody else came. She is also walking much more nicely on a leash and she’s dealing with dogs in a better way.
Today we also did a few recalls. During today’s session, I was really working with my client on helping Addie develop a better sit-stay. One of the things we both noticed is that when Addie sits, she doesn’t necessarily sit with her legs or her hips squared up underneath her.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is one of those things that dog trainers are very picky about. We’d like, for a dog to look really regal and not have a sloppy sit, especially if it’s a German Shepherd. We want the dog to have nice tight hips with their feet directly underneath them. Addie kind of sits like a frog and she’s not the easiest to motivate. It’s a little bit tougher to get her high energy out.
This brings me to my point today: Are you persistent enough?
I could see my client trying to get Addie up and get her a little bit more motivated, so she would tuck into a nice sit. Like a lot of folks, she would only try it for two or 3 seconds with her nonverbal forms of communication before she gave up. I wanted to show my client how to be persistent. I took Addie from her and I worked her for a couple of minutes. During that time I had to be persistent for 10 to 15 seconds with my nonverbal forms of communication to actually get Addie to do what I wanted.
Let me make this a little bit more practical. What I was trying to do with Addie was luring her. Obviously, when you’re luring, you have food in your hand. Sometimes just the scent of whatever you have isn’t enough to get the dog interested and to get them to tuck themselves up. I took the food to the dog’s nose and vigorously and very rapidly shook my hand back and forth over and over. It took several seconds until that created enough drive in the dog to actually kind of jump up and snatch it. Then I could get her into the sit position we were looking for.
When you’re working with your dog, know that a lot of these techniques I or other trainers use, work. Be persistent with your nonverbal commands! Don’t quit so quickly! The truth is, if you’re just persistent for a few extra seconds, you will get what you are looking for.
That’s it for today! I hope it was interesting and useful in some way. Only one more week to go for this year. Can you tell that I’m counting down a little bit? It will be nice to take a break for a while and do just a few different things that I have on my list.
I hope you’re having a wonderful day! Happy training!