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Old 01-13-2014, 08:30 PM
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Default "Sit Pretty" balance question

I decided to do something other than sit on the couch and watch TV this evening, so I attempted to teach Abrams "sit pretty". (Only I just called it "pretty", since I didn't want him to associate "sit" with the "pretty".)

I got him to rear up on his haunches with only mild setbacks of him trying to jump straight up into the air, and now after a quick session I think he has the basic idea down. However, he spends the second or two he is actually on his haunches flailing around wildly with his front feet trying to keep his balance while simultaneously nomming at the lure, and then promptly falls over. Poor simple dog can't multitask.

I've never actually had a dog be able to master this trick before due to balancing issues, so my question is: what can I do to help him balance? Have him "pretty" with his butt up against the couch so he has a bit of support behind him? Let him rest a forepaw on my arm until he gets the hang of it, then gradually fade out my arm? He's obviously a big(ger) dog and he may be too top heavy for the trick, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. It amuses me. And his whole hearted attempts to stay balanced on his haunches may be just as amusing as the actual trick would be. LOL
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:35 PM
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I did my arm and a chair. On my phone now, but I have the videos up on YouTube. We're under TheTwoRedHeads.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:36 PM
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I never recommend letting them hold onto you for support because (in my opinion) it takes too much of the work away from them and makes it hard to phase out later. When I teach it, I sometimes put their back up against the couch so that I can reward for a steadier position and help them get the idea. But mostly I just have them do a lot of quick reps all on their own. It takes time and practice for them to build up their strength and balance. And make sure to give them a break now and then. They will get sore. Even Boone, who does similar things all the time and is in really good shape, needed a break after working on the "hug" trick several days in a row.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:37 PM
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With some careful reward placement and strength training I think the balance will come in time. Wooden spoon + peanut butter is awesome for this trick since the dog has to maintain position to get the goods. I would probably also lend him my arm to get the basic position and start working on his core strength.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:39 PM
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I would just do more reps throughout the day. I don't like letting them use you to balance because I think that really makes it harder in the long run and they don't get near as much core work out of it.

Up against a wall or couch isn't a bad idea but honestly, I just like doing it throughout the day (not a ton of reps, especially when they first are getting the idea and building the muscle), even if he can only hold it a few seconds have him do it.

As he gets better work on duration, there were some ideas for building duration in the Hug thread from a spoon with peanut butter.

I do this to work on duration



I tend to use 'Sit Pretty' a lot, I use it before food, whenever I don't know what else to ask them, for any treats etc. so they get good at it. It's easy to give up early before they are good at it but keep it up!
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:39 PM
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I just let him nibble the food lure and pulled my hand away for longer and longer increments. I never worked to get it super solid, but he can balance himself for a few seconds at least. It just took a while to build up his core strength until one day he was holding it himself. I never let him balance on me, except for however much he could balance by gnawing on the food in my hand.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:51 PM
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Never even thought about his core strength being an issue. Definitely will keep at it! He actually did surprisingly well with it this evening, so I think with time he'll get the hang of it.

And I have no idea why I didn't think of peanut butter on a spoon. He lurves peanut butter, so that would do the job wonderfully, I think.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *blackrose View Post
Never even thought about his core strength being an issue. Definitely will keep at it! He actually did surprisingly well with it this evening, so I think with time he'll get the hang of it.

And I have no idea why I didn't think of peanut butter on a spoon. He lurves peanut butter, so that would do the job wonderfully, I think.
That really is what makes 'Sit Pretty' so hard! The actual behavior is pretty easy but it's a real core workout and takes time to build the strength for any type of duration.

Good luck!
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:57 PM
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When I taught this to Squash I stood behind him bracing his back with my legs at first, and lured back over his head. Whenever I tried from the front, he would just fling his legs up and down again instead of really sitting UP up, if that makes sense. Then once he got the idea to hold the position and had worked out the balance a little bit, I started sneaking around to the front.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:04 AM
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My friend is also interested to teach this trick to her dog Lotta. According to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
When I taught this to Squash I stood behind him bracing his back with my legs at first, and lured back over his head. Whenever I tried from the front, he would just fling his legs up and down again instead of really sitting UP up, if that makes sense. Then once he got the idea to hold the position and had worked out the balance a little bit, I started sneaking around to the front.
In this way the dog sits in front of you so that she is looking away from you. How do you teach the dog to sit in front of you? Should you first teach her to sit so that she is looking at you?
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