The Tuck Sit

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#1
Ok, I've run into yet another wall with Astro.

I took him to a beginner's rally/obedience class, and we did the basic stuff you would expect (working on very short heeling sessions, fronts, eye contact, attention and focus). Astro backs up when he sits, every single time, so he's always way behind me when he sits beside me to get ready to heel, and he backs up so far away for the front sits that there's no way I'd be able to reach out and touch him.

The trainer gave it a whirl with just luring him, and he thinks she's asking for vertical movement (sit pretty). We've tried asking him to sit and then keeping the treat in close so he has to move in to get it, nothing.

At home, I've tried using a perch/book/bowl and up against the wall. No goes. He spins around like a top on the perch, and gets frustrated, and will eventually sit (if I repeat the command a few times, which I loathe) but take his front feet off the perch. I've even tried just pushing his hind end down, and consequently ruined a lot of the body desensitization we've been doing...he squirmed away after a few times, even though I had food, and won't let me touch his back end now.

Every thing we try, I wind up poisoning some previously strong command, and it's making me insane. Our perchwork is all weird now, and he's clearly stressed by it when before, he was fine with it. The command "sit," probably the most basic in existence, is now confusing to him because he's done it so, so many times and not gotten rewarded for it.

HELP! I never see him sit without backing up like 3+ steps, so I really just think he lacks the body awareness/muscle memory to do it.
 
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#2
I had this issue ages ago with Traveler and made a thread about it so here's that thread, might help you a bit

Tuck Sit

I don't remember exactly how I went about it but I remember I pretty much just listened to everyone in the thread, kept working on it with a heavy lure and the muscle memory kicked in.

Hope that old thread helps a bit!
 

Ozfozz

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#4
What our trainer had us do for this was to lure with the right hand and gently block and guide with the left.
If Astro's comfortable with having his back end touched/handled, this could be an option?

As for the front sits, we used a chair to begin with. Sit (very un-ladylike) on the chair holding your hand with treats basically at around belly-button level. Lure him in like that so he gets used to coming right up.
Slowly move your hands to your side, stand, then reward in centre from both hands at the same time (so as to not have him focus on just the one hand).

Apparently this will progress to standing, hands at side, and still having a good front. I never made it that far with Rigby unfortunately, because I was a bad student and didn't have time to practice -_-
 

*blackrose

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#5
Abrams does something very similar, although he also tuck sits on occasion, I just don't reward him strong enough when he does. (Bad trainer.) When we were in class, the instructor told me to just stop giving him so much slack on the leash so he physically CAN'T back up. That stopped him from taking giant steps back, but he still rocked back.

One thing I have to be careful of is my body language. I realized pretty early on that when I tell him to sit, I stand of straighter and lean slightly forward, and I'm pretty sure that is why he initially stepped back before sitting in the first place. (Because when I tell him to "get back" or "go away" or what have you, I crowd the crap out of his space to pressure him in to getting the heck away.) When I make sure I'm not putting pressure on him, he tends to back up less.

Even if he thinks a lure is for sitting pretty, that would still be my go to, honestly, and just start over from scratch. You could even change the command name, so when you're just telling him to sit when in public and don't really care if he moves around your nice, formal sit doesn't get messed up.
 
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#6
Thanks for the help guys. I read the blog post and that old thread, and I'm feeling marginally hopeful again.

The trainer did recommend sitting in a chair and practicing at home for the front sits in particular, but Astro is a tough little nut to crack. He just will not come in closer, not for the smelliest and best treat in the world. He won't even lean forward or make any vague inclination to move forward after he's sat down.

I'm going to re-assess my body language, that's a good call to check that. I probably am coming across a little frustrated and pushy. It's just that I've tried my best to encourage him to be creative and offer behaviors over the six+ months I've had him, but it's always one step forward, two steps back with him. His natural inclination is to offer the behavior he thinks I want, stick with that until the end of time (not following a lure, not listening to my voice, just stony-faced "I'm doing this and that's what's happening"), until he truly sees that I'm trying to engage him in something else, at which point he gets frustrated and walks away/quits the session. He quits VERY easily. Every trainer I work with (and they've used a variety of approaches - one is heavy on agility, another on independent/nosework type sports, one is big into obedience and rally, but all label themselves as positive trainers), they're always scrambling to find ways to keep him in the game because his threshold for deciding "this is stupid, I'm done" is so, so low, even with his strong motivators (food, tug), and short, highly rewarding sessions.

I'll report back with any progress we make. We have another class on Monday, so I'd really like to have even the tiniest of breakthroughs before then.
 

krissy

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#7
The trainer did recommend sitting in a chair and practicing at home for the front sits in particular, but Astro is a tough little nut to crack. He just will not come in closer, not for the smelliest and best treat in the world. He won't even lean forward or make any vague inclination to move forward after he's sat down.
What about teaching him to walk through your legs? You can teach him to walk through from the front and back. Then when asking him to walk through from the back ask him to sit in between your legs. Just to get him comfortable with that idea. Then try the front again.
 

samshine

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#8
My old obedience instructor had us hold the treat stationary right in front of and slightly above their nose, while the other hand scooped them into a sit with pressure at the back of the knee (stifle.) Dogs fight this less than they would pressure on the butt from above, but it still might take some gentle patience. Use a little pressure and just wait. If they are resistant you might reward them for any movement away from the hand, even just stepping forward with the rear feet.

Pretty soon the cue with the left hand becomes more of a reminder. But the main point of doing it this way was just to build that muscle memory for dogs that don't know they can sit that way. After a while the other methods already mentioned here will begin to work.
 

Elrohwen

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#9
Good suggestions already, so I'll just add the one other thing I thought of.

Have you tried a platform? I know you mentioned pivot discs, but I didn't see anything about a platform. If you make it the right size he should be forced to pull his butt in when he sits, or at least not back up multiple steps.
 

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