Dog Manual

Lesson Three - Sit


The Sign—None

The moment the guide stops, the dog should sit close to his left side.

Hold the leash tightly in both hands, with the right hand at the side, and with a loose grip in the left hand at the left side. But do not slip the hand through the loop at the leash end.

Walk forward and stop suddenly, at the same time giving in a sharp voice the command SIT. Drop the leash from the left hand. Still holding the leash in a tight grip raise the right hand, and at that moment press the lower part of the dog's back to the ground with the left hand while repeating the command SIT.

The guide should then assume a standing position, once more with the command SIT. Throughout this procedure, avoid changing the position of your feet. The dog should still be at your left side.

What is the dog's reaction?   He will attempt to get up on his feet, to jump to one side, possibly to lie down or sit sidewise.

CORRECTION:-This exercise offers little difficulty when executed correctly, though failure may trace to various laxaties on the part of the guide. Very likely the guide loosened his hold on the leash with his right hand and did not hold the dog up on his front feet as he pressed him into the sitting position, or possibly he changed the position of his feet and therefore found himself facing the dog. Too, he may have confused the dog with too many commands.

The command ought not to be used more than three times: first, at the instant of stopping; second, while the dog is being pushed into a sitting position; and third, when the dog has assumed the desired sitting position. Of importance is it for the guide to watch the action of his hands so as to be sure he holds them exactly as described. The dog is now in a sitting position at the left side of the guide, and so long as the latter remains quiet, the dog will not move. Give him now a few words of praise and a pat with the left hand, while you still hold the same position with ease.

Should the dog try to sit sidewise, removed from his guide, place your left hand against his left side when pressing him into the sitting position and in that way nudge him closer to you. Repeat this exercise several times while in standing position.  Then walk again and suddenly stop with the command SIT. By now, the dog will probably assume the correct sitting position without further influence and aided only by the single command.

Right hand with unchanged grip on the leash goes, up; left hand brings dog down into the sitting position. Note the guide's feet are unchanged.

After bringing the dog into the sitting position, the guide straightens up with the position of his feet unchanged.

The dog is sitting sidewise.

The dog is sitting too faraway.

When the dog executes this lesson correctly—and of course it must be repeated over and over again—don't forget those words of praise. If for a few times he responds readily and then fails, be patient and help him again by pulling him up with the right hand, and pushing him down with the left. It requires several days and repetitious practise before a dog becomes a competent "sitter."

Not infrequently do we hear people, who are unversed in the real technique of training, condemn it unreservedly: they claim that it possesses marked disadvantages in the ring at bench shows because the trained dog sits when his guide stops. Such a statement is of course false because a trained dog is taught not alone to sit at the proper time but to remain in any position he is ordered to assume, whether at a show, whether posing for his picture, whether atop a jumping board or anywhere else. It is wise not to regard seriously the criticism of those without actual experience in dog training.

Practise this lesson in various places—in heavy traffic, under bridges, and with a stop so sudden that the dog has no chance to pay attention to what goes on about him. The lesson is important and its correct execution will prove of untold value when we come to HEELING FREE or HEELING OFF THE LEASH.
The time allotted for practise of this exercise should be fifteen minutes daily or, better still, ten minutes morning and evening. And remember, choose several different spots for practise, also change the sequence of the commands lest execution tend to become mechanical.