Sit, stay, down…when it comes to dog training, this is what the average person likely has in their head of what it entails – and they’re not wrong! These cues are really important, but not just on their own. These foundational skills are the foundation upon which more complex training cues are built, and you’ll use them for the entire time you have with your dog. Alex Sessa, CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT, leads this fun course that will start you on your training journey.
But this course isn’t just for fun! These cues are going to be your bread and butter on a daily basis – and the more you use them, and reinforce them, the easier the rest of your training will be. That said, we don’t just stop at the basics, we’ll walk you through how to increase the difficulty level of these cues, so you can hone those skills for when you need them most.
Meet Your Instructors
Meet Your Instructors
Other than “good dog!” sit is probably the word most often said by humans to their dogs – and it makes sense! A sitting dog is one that isn’t moving, is likely giving you more of their attention, and is a great stopper for doing…well anything you can’t do while sitting! Sit is great because your dog can pick it up in just a few minutes in a contained training environment, but getting your dog to sit on cue every single time takes a lot more work.
So even if you and your dog are pretty comfortable with the sit cue, we still encourage you to work through this workshop as Alex shares some tips and tricks that carry through to a lot more complex cues!
If it feels like we’re building on something here, it’s because we are! In order to learn down, your dog first needs to understand the sit cue. It’s important to note that “down” here is not “get down”, but rather “lay down.” Like “sit”, “down” is really useful for replacing unwanted behaviors by creating what are called “incompatible behaviors” – it’s impossible for a dog to jump on a counter or person if they’re laying down!
On its own, “down” is a great way for you to help your dog settle in an environment where they might not be the most comfortable, like a busy sidewalk cafe. Later on, we’ll build on the “down” cue so it’s important to get it right, and continually work on it with your dog.
We love the “place” cue. In short, it’s a cue that gives your dog a targeted spot to settle on, and has a ton of real-life applications. In this workshop, Alex will guide you through how you can leverage what you learned doing “sit” and “down” to more effectively train your dog to go to their place.
It’s important to note that “place” doesn’t need to be one specific place! You’ll start with something easy, like a pad or their bed, but eventually you’ll want to designate several “places” that are accessible in the environments you’re in most.
With stay, we start to move out of the realm of fun behaviors that are useful, to a behavior that is an incredibly valuable tool in keeping your dog safe. In concept, the “stay” cue is very simple: you designate an area you’d like to park your dog for the moment, but not moving while being awake is a very hard thing for your dog to learn – it goes against all of their natural instincts!
That’s why it’s really important to take this one slowly. A frustrated dog is so much harder to train, so make sure to keep your training sessions short!
In workshops 1 - 4, we turned up the difficulty while creating cues that also build upon one another – but even if your dog is doing all of these behaviors on cue, we’re not there yet! In this workshop, we’re working on leveling up these cues with the three D’s: Distance, Distractions, and Duration!
Each of the three D’s are incremental additions that you can add to your foundational cues to have your dog do these for longer, in distracting environments, and when they’re not right next to you.