Harnessing Calmness with the "Sit on the Dog" Exercise
In the world of dog training, there are exercises and techniques that stand out for their simplicity and effectiveness. One such gem is the "Sit on the Dog" exercise, a powerful tool to maintain calmness not only during the holidays but in everyday life. Margot Woods, a pioneer in dog training, created this exercise due to the need for calmness in her classes, where dogs would often come in barking and bursting with energy. She devised a way to teach dogs to find calmness within themselves, even amidst distractions. In this blog post, we'll explore the "Sit on the Dog" exercise, its benefits, and how to teach it.

The Power of "Sit on the Dog"
Margot Woods recognized the need to instill calmness in dogs, especially in situations where distractions abound. This exercise empowers dogs to find their calm on their own, a skill that proves invaluable in various scenarios. Whether you're dealing with a hyperactive pup or a dog with aggression issues, the "Sit on the Dog" exercise can work wonders.

The Goal: 30 Minutes of Calmness
The ultimate objective of the exercise is to have your dog transition into a down position on their own and maintain that state of calmness for a full 30 minutes. Achieving this goal requires patience, consistency, and understanding of the process.

Teaching the "Sit on the Dog" Exercise: A Step-By-Step Guide
  1. Choose the Right Spot: Start in a quiet, familiar location where your dog feels comfortable. You can use a mat, towel, or designated spot. And they can have something to chew on. 
  2. Use a Leash or Tether: Begin with your dog on a leash, you will place the leash on a chair and then sit down on the leash. This is why it is called "sit on the dog".
  3. This is Silent: Once you sit down on the leash- there is not talking, no touching, no attention. We want to almost "bore them into submission"
  4. Once they lay down on their own you start the time: We are shooting for 30 minutes of calm.  We cannot start the time until the dog chooses to lie down.  If you're dog is struggling with this time- Watch the troubleshooting video for how to combat this so you're not here forever. 
  5. What to do when the timer ends: Once your 30  minutes are up, you're going to quietly let them off the leash, and walk away. We just got our dogs into a calm state of mind, we don't want to jump up and throw a party. Let them keep that calm. 
  6. Once the dog is doing well with small distractions: You will increase the distractions once the dog is settling well and staying for 30 minutes. I will do this during dinner time, I will do this on the front porch, I will introduce this we guests they know well. We sit down and chat, pup is laying down next to you...

Troubleshooting and Resources
While the "Sit on the Dog" exercise is straightforward in concept, it can feel complicated to get right. Margot Woods has provided excellent resources and troubleshooting information on her blog. You can find detailed instructions and a pictorial guide on her blog posts:
By incorporating the "Sit on the Dog" exercise into your routine, you'll not only enhance your dog's ability to find calmness but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. It's a valuable tool that can transform your dog's behavior, making them a well-mannered and peaceful companion in any situation.

Ready to Unlock Your Dog's Full Potential?
If you're looking to take your dog's training to the next level or need personalized guidance, I invite you to work with me privately. Together, we can create a tailored training plan that suits your dog's unique needs and helps you achieve the desired results. Don't hesitate to contact me for more information at sarah@scotchpinesdt.com and to get started on your dog's journey towards a calmer and happier life. 


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