I hear this often and by often I would say 90% of the families that I work with have asked their dog to sit while other dogs (kids, people, strollers, mailman, trucks, etc…) go by.
So what’s the big deal with it? Umm, just about everything.
Let’s look at the whole picture. Let’s say we have a dog named, Rico. Rico loves his walks and gets super excited when he sees other dogs. Rico’s owner, Nick, has usually allowed Rico to go say hi. But recently Rico is just too excited, wants to say hi all the time and Nick feels like he is loosing control over the situation.
Now Nick asks Rico to sit when other dogs walk by. Nick is happy because he can control Rico in a sit position. This works a few times, but now Rico is worse than ever. He lunges and now barks at other dogs that go by.
What Nick has unintentially done is increase Rico’s frustration level by allowing him to continue watching his trigger (dogs) walk by. Sure the body is doing something different, but the brain isn’t!
We have to work the body and the brain. As frustration increases, Rico tries harder to get what he wants. Asking Rico to sit wasn’t enough to counter the emotional component.
SO! Let’s use Nick’s method of the sit and clean it up alot:
- Nick should ask for Rico’s attention well before the dog is close
- Nick moves to a distance that he knows the other dog will not be able to reach or greet Rico
- Rico is asked to sit at Nick’s feet with Rico’s back to the other dog
- Nick rewards Rico enthusiastically with some treats until the dog has passed
- Nick releases Rico with “Lets Walk” to keep momentum walking away from the other dog
Simply adding the above steps changes this sit cue into a management tool! A great tool to bring focus back to you and avoid any outburts.
Send us a picture of you practicing this kind of sit when other dogs or people go by! We love to see our kissable canines in action!