Introducing "Sit-Stay" To Your New Puppy (In Honor Of National Puppy Day)

March 23, 2018

 

Introducing Sit and Stay

 

The best technique I’ve found is to reinforce "sit-stay" during feeding, and you can start when you get your puppy home. It requires that you put your puppy in the sit position, on stay, before you put the food dish down on the floor.

 

Now, at first your puppy will have no idea what "sit" and "stay" mean so you’ll need to help your puppy into the sit-stay position.

 

So to begin, put the appropriate amount of food into the dish, set it on the counter or table, then bring your puppy into the designated feeding area—in my case the kitchen—close to the counter or table on which you’ve placed the food dish.

 

Now, kneel down, give the command “sit,” and then help your pup into the sit position. This is easily done by placing two fingers under her chin, then lifting slightly while applying gentle pressure with your other hand to her hindquarters. Once she’s sitting say, “Good sit,” while holding down her back hips so she can’t rise up when you bring the bowl down as far from her as possible on your own.

 

Your puppy will likely smell the food as you lower the bowl and start squirming to get loose, but don’t release her until she settles down. Say “Stay,” followed by “Good Stay” as she begins to settle. Once she stops squirming give the release command (more on this later).

 

 

 

Repeat this at every feeding during the day. As the days pass, and your puppy begins to grasp sit-stay, make her sit and stay on her own, making her wait a little longer each day for the release command after having placed the food dish on the floor. Eventually you’ll be able to build to a minute-long wait without being in the room.

 

Tip: One way to instill sit-stay during feeding is to teach your puppy that when her butt goes up, so does the dish. Each time she raises her butt early you lift the dish. She will make this association quickly, I promise, and her butt will stay down.

 

This sit-stay during feeding works so well that one time I put my puppy on sit-stay before leaving the room. I had planned on returning a minute later but heard the mailman outside. I went out to get my mail, had a five-minute conversation with the mailman about sports, and then returned to the house. When I opened the door, I saw something in the kitchen. It was my puppy, still on sit-stay staring at his dish, a pool of drool on the floor beneath him. I had forgotten about him, but he hadn’t forgotten the rules. I felt terrible to have made him wait so long, but was so proud of him for obeying.

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