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.
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
with the command SIT. By now,
the dog will probably assume the correct
sitting position without further influence and aided only by the single
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
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