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The correct “sit” position

June 28, 2010

Working with Gabby has reminded me of an excerpt from Clicker Training for Obedience.  There is a brief section that discuses the proper posture for a competition sit.

Good sit posture means that the dog is balanced from front to back and side to side.

When I see Gabby slip into a “puppy sit” where her rear feet splay to the side, I place her feet back under and put gentle pressure on her toosh so she tucks into a neater sit. Since she is a small dog, I use both hands at the same time, almost scooping her into a  tighter sit. There is also a great TTouch method described in the book to increase proper sit position:

When you have the tuck position you can help the dog settle his weight on the front feet by using TTouches such as the python lift. In the python lift you circle the dog’s leg with your entire hand and lift gently upward, applying just enough pressure to move the skin and muscle. Hold the lift for about 4 seconds and slowly return the skin to the starting point. Move your hand a little bit along the length of the dog’s leg and repeat.

According to TTouch creator Linda Tellington “The Python Lift relaxes nervous animals and improves balance and gait.” For more samples of TTouch techniques, check out Tellington’s web site. You can also search on amazon.com.

I have been doing these moves at least 10 times a day, basically anytime I see her in a sloppy sit. It takes seconds and the results are more than worth it. The more she sits in a correct position, the easier it is for her to push off those back legs and get moving. Dogs naturally put more weight on their front legs so that they can take off and run, but by forcing her to ease the tension on her front legs and use her back leg muscles, she has better control over her rear foot placement when she first tries to stand up.

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