Teach a New Dog an Old Trick



I’ve been working on teaching Goliath to sit. He does know the words, stay and wait. He may have sat for his previous owner, but when I ask him to sit, it doesn’t register. When I first tried, I applied too much pressure to his behind, then he got stubborn. When I eased up, he was happy to oblige.

Today, I tried training him with a treat. I applied light pressure, said “Sit” and he sat. I rewarded him. I grabbed another treat and just tried with the word. I said, “Sit” and he sat. I rewarded him again. I was glad he was getting the idea about the command. (Of course the queen, Daisy was jealous, so I had to play the game with her too. For her, it’s all about the treat.)

I thought, since I’m on a roll, maybe I can get him to lie down. I got another treat and told him to sit. After he sat, I brought the treat down to the ground and motioned with my other hand for him to lie and said, “Lie.” He immediately brought his front legs forward halfway as if to ask, “Is this what you mean?” and I said, “Yes. Good idea.” and he lied all the way down. I was very happy with how quickly he understood. As I reviewed the two commands, he now understood the words and obeyed them. Smarty guy!

What I’ve learned from training my horse I can apply with the dogs. Ask him to do a task, if no response, go to the next phase (each phase going up in intensity) until you get the slightest motion, then reward him by pausing, then ask again until he offers up the motion with the slightest suggestion. In the exercise, it is important to be consistent, insist and don’t let him get out of it. The goal is to accomplish the task from the lowest phase. Work on it until it gets easier; making it uncomfortable not to respond, making it comfortable to respond.

Goliath is a smart dog and we’re pretty pleased to have him here. As he learns new things with us, it will develop his trust and respect. I know that alone will develop the loyalty that will keep him here.


One Response to “Teach a New Dog an Old Trick”

  1. yes i did work on the sitting staying he should even roll over and shake hands he is a big baby

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