A Good Dog Says, “Please!’ – The Food Bowl Sit
One of the best ways to develop a good dog, is to teach your pup to say, "PLEASE," in a mannerly fashion for the things he wants. That means, offering a polite sit versus barking incessantly until you give in!
Owners can often make the mistake of using obedience more like tricks. Meaning, they only require their pup to sit when they are going to offer him a special biscuit from the treat jar.
Instead, use the activities in your pooch’s daily routine, such as meal time, walk time, and to receive snuggly greetings from you as a way to instill manners. This is the strongest form of learning for your dog. This real life training teaches him exactly what you expect from him throughout the day.
Below is one of my favorite exercises to develop patience at meal time!
The Food Bowl Sit
Feeding your dog is something you’ll do 1-3 times daily. Taking an extra 5 seconds to 1 minute to remind your pup to say please will strengthen his overall understanding that when he wants something, he needs to remain calm.
1. Fill the bowl or toy.
2. Bowl in hand, face your dog and wait for him sit. Do not say anything. Just wait. This is a great way to teach your dog what you expect without a constant prompt or reminder (just like your boss does not call you everyday to come into work). Your dog learns, “when I want something I need to sit.”
3. When he sits. Say, “good” and begin to lower the dish. If your dog gets up….pop the dish back up a few inches. Wait for him to sit. Think of the bowl on a hydraulic system. Butt down. Bowl down. Butt up. Bowl up! Repeat until your dog understands that his tooshy is controlling whether that dish continues to lower! Once your dog sits again, say yes and lower the dish.
4. Just as the dish is hitting the floor say, “OK,” to let your dog know it’s time to CHOW!
The Super Sitter
We want your dog not only to automatically sit, but we want to increase the amount of time your dog will stay in a sit after the dish has hit the floor. This is a great exercise in impulse control. Increase your skills with these next steps.
5. Once the dish has hit the floor – pause before you say “OK.” To do this, just put the dish on the floor, but keep a hold of it. If your dog pops up when the dish touches the ground the dish just pops right back up. When he sits. Lower the dish again. Wait for one to two seconds before saying “OK!”
6. Gradually increase the amount of time you expect your pup to sit before releasing with, “OK!”
Extra Training Tips
1. To begin, you might feel like you are up and down and up and down. Relax. Take a breathe. Totally normal. Your dog is learning a new skill, be patience and work through it.
2. Stick a sock in it! One of the toughest things for us humans to do; not use words repeatedly when working with our dogs. The ONLY two words you are using during this exercise are:
"Yes" – when your dog offers his most fantastic sit.
"OK" – to release your pup to eat
Happy mannerly mealtime!