Saturday, August 1, 2009

Greyhound Sits 101

Now it is time to learn about greyhound sits. Let me first introduce my student, Hardy Admiral. Admiral is a 7 year old, coursing greyhound from England. He came to the U.S. in 2007. Admiral was the runner-up in the 2005 Waterloo Cup and won the Roecliffe Invitation Stake. He ran 19 courses and won 15 of them. An interesting fact is that, other than the Waterloo Cup winner (Shashi) Admiral's littermates were the only other greyhounds to defeat him in coursing. That is one heck of a litter!

Although you cannot really see it here, I like to start my greyhounds sitting on a hill. It is not always necessary, but it can speed the process if you place your greyhound's rear end on the high side of a steep hill and point his nose down the hill. It makes it very easy for them to rock back and sit.I like to use an easy to nibble treat like string cheese or a hot dog. Something the greyhound can take little bites of as I hold the treat over his head forcing him to crane his neck back.I give the greyhound little bites of the treat I am holding as long as he continues to put forth the effort to target the treat, for rocking back, and for flexing the joints in the hind legs.And then BAM! He sits! I continue to reward my greyhound for continuing to sit for a few seconds. Gradually I increase the length of time.
We have already talked about greyhounds having trouble with sitting and melting into a down. Be alert for the slightest sign that your greyhound is about to lie down. Step into him to prevent that from happening. I would much prefer my greyhound stand up than to lie down from a sit.

28 comments:

BrittBeah said...

Goodness you look tiny next to him! Pretty boy, we like those black and whites at my house ;)

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

LOL... probably so since you only see me with mostly little greyhounds. Admiral is especially big..... although your boys might still be bigger.

Jen

Life at Star's Rest said...

Love it! Thank you again...this is a so much more kind and obvious direction to go. When I get my Willie doing these things, I'll post some photos.
Carmon

KG said...

I'll have to try this with Tango! Hope you & all your greys are okay x

Anonymous said...

Jen, Thanks for featuring our British coursing stars in your obedience demos. They are both companionable, biddable guys -- maybe their quick learning abilities also help explain their success on the coursing field !

John

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

John, it was a pleasure to profile and play with your beautiful boys!

Jen

Jen said...

This is great! I will have to try this with Clifford (11). In the past I've tried to teach him sit by "scooping" his back legs into a sit, and it TOTALLY freaks him out. To this day, he refuses to sit. I will definitely try this method! We'll see if the old boy can learn a new trick. :)

Jen

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Let me know if it works with Cliff, Jen!

jcp said...

I have started working with Kassa based on this tutorial. I even have a little hill in my back yard that I am taking advantage of. The problem I am currently having is that he gets almost there and then Jumps up lifting his front legs. Any advice?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

You might be raising the treat too high. Might think of craning his head back by shoving the treat up his nose (obviously not literally)... don't lift the treat higher than his nose can point up. Also sometimes a little hopping is fine... they get tired and finally sit. Remember to reward for head crane, leaning back, flexing joints, etc. If you reward all of those little movements towards a sit, he will repeat.... but don't reward the jumping. Something like a hotdog works good cause he can nibble his rewards as he progresses and you don't have to reload your hand.

Sandy ~~~ said...

Jennifer...someone from the Clicker Solutions yahoo list sent me to your blog...specifically because I have "Creel" in his first obedience class and the sit isn't happening. I think part of it is because I am looking for too much movement and he's not getting a reward for anything then. The idea of a whole hotdog, him nibbling away at it as he succeeds, helps me a lot. Tonight we will try..now to find a little hill..hmmmmm.....

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Good luck, Sandy!

Youngsun said...

Hi my greyhound will only sit on his bed. He won't sit on any hard surface. I don't know how I can train him...

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Youngsun, you didn't really provide any detail, but you simply need to follow the steps I outlined in the post. If he can sit on a bed, he can sit in other places too. It doesn't matter what he has done up to this point as he can be taught to do more than he has done on his own. Remeber that the steeper the hill, the easier it is for them to sit, so that is a good way to start sit training.

Now if you are trying to tell me that he is stubborn, I would arm myself with a great treat (chicken strip, hot dog, or string cheese). Proceed through the steps I outlined. If he quickly loses interest and gives up, stop training and skip his next meal. If he is hungry, take him outside and start training again. But I simply would not feed him a bowl of food until he gives me a good effort. We aren't trying to starve him, but just get him to do something for something tastey. Remember to make sure you let him nibble off bites of your treat as you try to get him to sit. You want him to feel successful about craning his neck back and rocking back. Hope that helps.

Jen

lancerandme said...

I know this is an old post, but I have been reading your blog for a few months (ever since I adopted my grey Lancer) and stumbled upon your advice for sits and downs. Lancer had never naturally sat before, and we weren't getting anywhere with other training methods. One day last week we took him out to a hill and within 10 minutes he was sitting on call - and hasn't stopped sitting since! Similarly your advice on downs was extremely useful, whereas we had problems with other methods. Thank you for sharing these techniques - they have been a great help!!!

Shari said...

I recently adopted my first Greyhound. We have been working on "wait" at open doors, lying on a bed instead of nosing my dish at meals, not chewing furniture and plants, stuff like that. But, I want to start some basics- like sit soon. I am a huge fan of clicker training. Thanks for the information geared towards the Greyhound breed.
www.hazelgreyhound.blogspot.com

Jay said...

I've never had any success with this method. I might try it again with our current new hound and see if he can do it this way. Previously, I've 'caught them in the act' and praised them and it's worked. However, this one isn't really food oriented and this is a big problem because he's underweight and drops weight horribly fast. Nothing physically wrong, but he's simpy not that into food and has no reserves. So .. basically, I'm very unwilling to make him skip a meal. He does very well with most of his training just with praise and head rubs as reward, but of course, it doesn't work so well in this situation.

Any advice?

Jay said...

Sorry, that wasn't too clear, was it? He doesn't sit naturally. Ever. And he's very twitchy about being touched unexpectedly, so I can't rush in and catch him halfway down to a lying position. So that's why I can't teach the way I've done it before.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi Jay, you are welcome to post a video of you attempting this method to youtube and send me the link. You probably just need to be tweeked on something you are doing. Also a steeper hill might help.

Generally, I would withhold a meal or two from a dog that isn't that food motivated, but not if the dog is already skinny. Sounds like their are other issues. I think I would try to fix the eating issue first. Maybe only feed once a day or 6 times a week. Some gaps in the schedule my jump start the appetite. I'd also feed super high calorie. Blue Buffalo is 500+ calories per cup so a greyhound would only need 1.5 - 3 cups a day depending on size.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Thanks for the reply! I will try to get a video and post the link - that might be a useful way forward, thanks!

As to the weight issue, he's been examined and tested and weighed and discussed at length at the vet and the consensus is that there's nothing actually wrong with him as such, even though he has an intermittent vomiting issue too. Sounds bizarre, I know, but that's what they say.

Actually it kind of fits, because to keep weight on him, I have to feed him large quantities. I have to split his food into two meals or he'd never be able to get it all down him without risking bloat. He's on one of the highest quality/calorie foods in the UK (so no Blue Buffalo, I'm afraid) plus add-ins including EV olive oil and a 'Muscle Pro' supplement from the race kennel, and with this regime, he's looking acceptable and putting on a little muscle. But if we miss a meal for any reason, or if we're late feeding, he sucks it all down so fast that he'll often vomit. We think he has a 'nervous' stomach. (Sigh).

I'm reluctant to use a chain in the dish or a ball or even a 'bundt' pan, because this is the clumsiest dog I've ever had and if he could find a way to break a tooth or spill his dinner or swallow something he shouldn't, he'd do it. He's the most troublesome dog in many ways, but he's also a sweetheart.

Bec said...

Thank you for this! I had no luck teaching my grey to sit indoors, so I tried your method. I backed his butt up to a hill, held a piece of hamburger over his head, and bam! Sitting! I look forward to teaching your down method next. Great blog... thanks again.

Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

Wow he's a beautiful boy! I have never been able to get my hound Blue to sit. His sister Bettina sits but maybe I'll see if I can find an incline and give that a go. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

This is Tiffany in Tuscaloosa. I have successfully gotten my greyhound Flicka to sit from a down position on carpet, then using your hill technique I was able to get her to sit from a stand position. I can only get her to do this on carpet or grass. She wont do it on hard surfaces. Any advice for making the transition?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi Tiffany,

Why do you want her to sit on hard surfaces? An ex-racer usually is not the best sitter anyway. Their rear ends rarely touch the ground. So you place them on a hard (often slippery) surface and all of their weight is on two bony hocks... I just don't ask for that. Maybe I am babying them, but I think it has to hurt. I tend to carry a mat with me if I go to the vet or patio dine, for example. Give my greyhound somewhere to rest those bony points.

Anonymous said...

This is Tiffany from t-town again. The overall goal I'm trying to achieve with my dog is for her to ultimately become a therapy dog. If and when we even get that far, she's got to be able to demonstrate that she can lay or sit (I don't care which) occasionally on hard surfaces at the hospital, nursing homes etc. There is no guarantee we will always have access to carpeted areas. I'm afraid she may not pass the initial therapy dog evaluation if she won't comply. Any thoughts?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi Tiffany,

OK, good answer. :-) I would probably work more on downs and teach her to roll a hip. So if she is in a sphinx position you would then use a treat to lure her nose around to a hind food or her side (you have to experiment) and see if you can convince her to flop onto a hip... don't push cause she'll push back. Once she is really good at just lying down on her hip. Then I would try a hard surface with a super high value treat... like canned dog food. Practice with the high value reward (perhaps canned dog food). Also go through all the other steps of down training... need her to respond to collar pressure so you can insist if she resists. Then work up to whatever you have to do on the test. But if you make it highly rewarding... she will get better at it and able to do it readily.

Anonymous said...

Good suggestions. I'll try that. What is your experience with greyhounds passing therapy dog evaluations? Maybe I'm over concerned with this? I've read greyhounds make great therapy dogs and she's certainly not the first to have problems with hard surfaces, right? It seems to me if she can obediently stand and stay and heel and walk nicely on the leash and mind her manners that should be sufficient? I'm actually more concerned about her personality. She's pretty reserved and timid and I know being nervous is NOT going to fly with the evaluators.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi Tiffany,

Most of the therapy greyhounds in my local club do it as part of the greyhound group so they do not make you pass a test to get involved.

However, I am concerned your hound is timid. Is your hound going to enjoy being touched by strangers? Especially strangers who may not be acting normal and may have some problems? Therapy is best with a dog that really is very outgoing and enjoys meeting strangers and is confident enough to handle the weirdness they may encounter. Your hound may just enjoy the one on one training with you much more.