Week Three - The Third Action (Becoming Stationary)
From Tri-Tronics Retriever Training Book, By Jim and Phyllis Dobbs with Alice Woodyard
Reprinted by permission of Tri-Tronics Inc.
Once the dog knows how to turn off the Tri-Tronics collar by bending, and by responding to "Here," "Heel," "Kennel" and "Place," it's ready to learn to turn off the Tri-Tronics collar by becoming stationary. We will use the commands "Sit" and "Down" for this action.
TRAINING "SIT" WITH THE COLLAR
You can accelerate learning with most dogs if you first attach the Tri-Tronics collar around the dog's waist with the contact points on top of its rump. The collar looks strange on the dog's rump, but this point-of-contact method helps the beginning dog learn. The dog's natural inclination to react away from the stimulation on its rump will cause it to sit quickly. (If the collar strap doesn't fit around the dog's waist, buckle two collar straps together.) You may need to insert a lower-level intensity plug into the collar for this lesson because most dogs are more sensitive on the rump than on the underside of the neck. Also, some dogs are startled by the feeling of a strap around their waists. If this happens, calmly reassure the dog and have it sit quietly while it gets used to the strap.
Now with the Tri-Tronics collar around the dog's waist, attach a leash to a collar on the dog's neck. Tell the dog to "Sit" and guide it into a sitting position without using electrical stimulation. Leave it sitting and step back to the end of the leash. Now tug gently on the leash and watch the dog's butt. The instant the dog moves its butt off the ground, press the button, say"Sit!" and take a step toward the dog. The electrical stimulation the dog feels on the top of its rump will automatically cause it to resume sitting. Be consistent. The dog must learn that it will consistently feel discomfort the moment its butt leaves the ground.
You can teach most dogs to sit more quickly if you first attach the Tri-tronics collar around the dog's waist with the contact points on top of its rump.
When the dog remains sitting as you give a light tug, immediately put slack in the lead and say "Good-Sit." It's best at this stage of training to repeat the command after the praise to remind the dog not to get up. As the dog gains confidence, you should phase out the reminder and just say "Good dog." Soon you will notice that the dog's natural opposition reflex will cause it to resist being pulled from its sitting position when you tug lightly on the leash. Gradually, increase how hard you pull as the dog learns to resist and tries to keep its butt on the ground. Don't pull so hard, however, that the dog cannot remain sitting.
If the dog should happen to lie down instead of sitting, gently tap on its front feet with the toe of your shoe and repeat the command "Sit." The tap will usually cause the dog to pull its front feet back and it will rise into a sitting position.
If the dog persists and continues to lie down, put the Tri-Tronics collar on its neck. Then when it lies down, command "Sit!" and use a higher level of intensity. (Momentary stimulation is ideal for this purpose.) The stimulation on the underside of the neck will usually pop the dog up into a sitting position, but if it doesn't, guide the dog into a sitting position with the leash.
Tug gently on the leash and watch the dog's butt. The instant the dog moves its butt off the ground, press the button, say "Sit!" and take a step toward the dog.
Keep your dog's attitude positive during all this control work. Frequently say "Break" and skim a fun bumper along the ground.
"SIT" FROM MOTION
Once the dog has learned to remain sitting when you tug on the leash, begin teaching it to stop and sit on command while you keep walking. Once again, you may want to begin with the Tri-Tronics collar positioned on top of the dog's rump.
With the dog heeling on leash, command "Sit" without stimulation as you step in front of the dog and quickly turn to face it. When you do this, your body will block the dog's forward motion. Then hesitate and back slowly away to the end of the leash. After a few repetitions to familiarize the dog with this exercise, begin applying stimulation as you say "Sit!". Release the button when the dog's butt is on the ground. If it tries to follow you, repeat "Sit!", and counter any step the dog takes forward by taking a step toward the dog. Then move to the end of the leash, wait a moment, and give the dog a few light tugs. By now you should see the dog resist the tugs with some obvious determination.
With the dog heeling on leash, command "Sit!" as you step in front of the dog and quickly turn to face it. When you do this, your body will block the dog's forward motion. Hesitate and back slowly away to the end of the leash. Wait a moment at the end of the leash and then give a few light tugs.
With repetition, begin to phase out turning in front of the dog. Practice until you can command the dog to "Sit!", drop the leash, and walk briskly away with no break in your stride. Now repeat the exercise off leash, only this time from a run rather than a walk As you continue running, command "Sit". Dogs tend to develop a very quick sit when taught from a run rather than just a walk.
When the dog will respond correctly to "Sit!" as you continue running, put the collar back on the dog's neck. Now repeat the steps previously described until the dog responds to the "Sit" command as confidently with the collar on its neck as it did with the collar around its waist.