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The Original Sit Test

Author: Alison Spanner | Date: May 14, 2012

Pop quiz!  In my last post, I discussed how dogs do not generalize commands.  If you’ll remember, my dog, Sonar, would only fetch in one direction?  Was she being disobedient?  NO!  I’d failed to properly “proof” her fetching behavior (pun intended) in all situations.

Realizing this got me wondering, have I even “proofed” Sonar’s sitting ability?

To test her, I adapted The Original Sit Test.

The Original Sit Test was designed to magnify problems that occur during competition obedience.  But Sonar ain’t no Obedience dog, so I relaxed the test a bit.  Just 6 questions.  If you get the behavior on the first try, REWARD with treats, play, or praise.  100%.  If you have to ask twice, fantastic job—90%. And so on.

I’ll let you know how Sonar scored after you tell me how your dog scored. If 10 people put their dog to the test and comment on this blog post how it went, I might just post the video of my fetching Sonar failing doing her sit test.

On your mark, get set, GO!

1. Ask while Walking — While walking (don’t stop or slow down) on a loose leash ask your dog to “Sit”.  If your dog really knows sit, she will sit even though you are still walking.

2. Ask from a Distance— While your dog is standing ask her to “Stay”.  Then walk ten feet away, turn to face her, and then ask her to “Sit”.  If she really knows how to sit, she will sit even when she is ten yards away from you!  Repeat this with just the hand signal.

3. Ask During Recall — Ask your dog to “Sit” and “Stay” then walk about 20 feet from your dog, turn to face her, and then ask her to “Come”.  When your dog is halfway to you, ask your dog to “Sit”.  She should put on her breaks and sit immediately.  Whoa, this is a tough one!

4. Asked with Back Turned— Ask someone to hold your dog’s leash or hang the leash on a doorknob.  Then walk a few feet away, turn your back, and ask her to sit.  Reward, reward, reward!

5. Asked while Sitting— Go sit on the couch or in a chair.  Then ask your dog to “Sit”.

6. Asked while Lying Down— Ask someone to hold your dog’s leash or hang the leash on a doorknob.  Then move several feet away dog and lie down on your back.  Do not give your dog eye contact but ask for a “Sit.”  Try while on your stomach too.

Let us know how you did!


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