Sit and Down Debate
There are three main ways to train sit or down:
We find Reward to be the best method to begin training sit and down regardless of Dog Type.
Here are some of the Pros and Cons to each side:
Why Reward First?
We use reward first for 4 main reasons:
Why Use Force Then?
There is a really strong pro from using Force and that is a dog knows you will make them follow through and there is a consequence if they don’t follow through.
The lucky thing is you can do a modified Force technique that achieves that pro with none of the cons.
Once the dog is trained with food and understands their verbal and hand signal command you can then tie in a Force based command:
Invoking Muscle Memory and Follow Through
Remember where we mentioned that tougher dogs when trained using force can get used to the correction and therefore require a really hard tug to get them to listen? Also remember the Omegas that may get scared from too much force? This avoids all of that.
Using light pressure doesn’t scare the Omegas. Using light pressure and combination of reward teaches the tougher dogs to follow through with light pressure.
This works because the dog understands what sit or down means when you begin using leash pressure upwards or downwards. You can therefore use light pressure and the dog gets used to following through with light pressure.
Example: Horses, like dogs, can be trained to work with people. We have two horses. Joey was trained with a little more bit and reign pressure and Penny was trained with very light pressure. To get Joey to turn you have to pull on his reign to apply pressure on the bit in his mouth and use opposite foot pressure to get him to turn. With Penny all you need to do is slightly turn your body, thus turning your bum in the saddle, in the direction you want to go and she will turn that way. She was taught with incredibly light commands. It is a dream to ride her because you almost feel one with the horse.
When training a dog with light pressure commands you feel one with the dog when you can give the slightest most gentle commands and the dog knows exactly what you want.
Reference: You know the people that yell commands or have to yank on the dog’s leash hard to get them to listen? Wouldn’t it be nicer if they could just say the command in a whisper or use light pressure and the dog did exactly as told?
Force and Reward Trainers Benefit by Working Together
The reward trainers that may end up with a problem of the dog not following through if a treat isn’t present (not always but a lot of dogs are like that) will find benefit in teaching light leash pressure commands to help the dog understand they need to follow through.
The force trainers who may run into the problem where they shout commands or have to do hard leash corrections to get the dog to listen will find benefit in training with reward first and then using leash pressure after. You can easily wean a dog off food in this manner so there is no bribe concern.
You have a dog that knows their command, is happy to do it. You can say it quietly or use gentle leash pressure and the dog follows through. There is no concern of having it become a bribe and there is no concern of breaking bond or scaring the dog.