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Why Your Dog Is Going Down With A "Sit" Command And How To Adjust

Jason Wright

May 10, 2024

When teaching your dog obedience commands, it's crucial to ensure they respond accurately to your cues. While it might seem harmless if your dog decides to perform a different command, such as going down instead of sitting when commanded, addressing this behaviour from the onset is essential for effective training and preventing future complications.

If your dog is currently choosing to go down instead of sit when requested, it’s important to work with your pet on this immediately. In this blog post, we will cover the reasons why your pet may be performing a different command and how to work with them to adjust.

Understanding Why Your Dog Goes Down When Commanded to Sit:

Before diving into corrective techniques, it’s important to first understand why your dog might be prone to going down when asked to sit. This will help you adjust your training technique to achieve the desired result when working with your dog.

Here are some of the common reasons why your dog may be going down:

  1. Comfort Preference: Dogs may naturally gravitate towards lying down as it's a more comfortable position, especially if they're tired or relaxed.
  2. Confusion: Sometimes, dogs misunderstand the command due to inconsistent training or unclear signals. They may interpret the sit command as an invitation to lie down instead.
  3. Physical Discomfort: Pain or discomfort from an injury or underlying health issue can deter dogs from sitting and prompt them to seek a more comfortable position on the ground.
  4. Commanding to “Sit Down”: Sit and Down are two different commands. If you’ve commanded your pet to “sit down,” combining the commands together, you may be confusing them. This is why it is so important to be direct and use the same singular command for your pet to prevent them from getting confused.
  5. Commanding your Dog to Go “Down” Right After “Sit”:  If your dog has been repeatedly asked to go down right after a sit command in training, they may be anticipating what is next. 

Training Techniques to Correct the Behavior:

As always, working with your pet on any training tactic or to correct their behaviour takes time and consistency. Be sure to follow the recommended approach and work with your pet daily, keeping your energy calm and relaxed so that they have a clear understanding of what is being asked of them.

Here’s how to correct your pet’s behaviour:

  1. Consistent Reinforcement: Consistency is key in training. This is not just in daily practice but also in ensuring that everyone interacting with your dog uses the same command and gestures for sitting, reinforcing the desired behaviour every time.
  1. Utilize Balanced Dog Training: Balanced dog training and Operant Conditioning are the methodologies we utilize at iTK9. Both methods incorporate a mix of rewards and consequences in your dog’s training to help reinforce a happy and obedient lifestyle for your dog. 

With balanced dog training, the focus is simple: show your dog that certain behaviours can have positive or negative reactions. When the sit command is completed properly, praise can be given to encourage your pet. However, if your pet doesn’t sit or, instead, lays down, initiating a balance of corrections or consequences is necessary so your dog can understand that these actions are unacceptable. 

  1. Gradual Progression: If your dog constantly goes down when asked to sit, break the training process into smaller steps. Start with rewarding any attempt to sit, gradually shaping the behaviour towards the desired outcome.
  1. Physical Guidance: Use gentle physical guidance, such as gently lifting their front end or lightly pressing on their hindquarters, to encourage the sitting position. Pair this with verbal cues to reinforce the command.

Training Your Pet: The iTK9 Way

Mastering the sit command is fundamental for your dog's obedience and well-being. By understanding the reasons behind their tendency to go down and employing consistent training techniques, you can effectively correct this behaviour and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. 

If you're struggling to work with your pet or unsure where to start, our trained professionals can help. They fully commit to working with them safely and effectively through behaviour, obedience training, and continued learning.

We do the hard work for you to attain a happy home and a healthy relationship with your pet.

Included in all of our programs are the following;

  1. In-Person Learning: Midway progress training video, two go-home lessons.
  2. Online Learning: Owner education course, instructional training videos, iTK9 member community, e-books & additional training resources.
  3. Owner Support: Photo updates of your dog training with our team and access to our team for questions & support.

‍ Contact us today for more information on our programs, including Board & Train.

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