Melissa Alexander has usefully set out the steps in training various behaviours:
Cue: Initial cue - verbal "sit." Fully-shaped behavior will have a hand signal.
Description: On cue, Pax will drop into a competition-quality sit. Verbal will be used for non-competition situations, so a "sloppier" response is acceptable, though not encouraged.
- Behavior specifics: Tucked, square.
- Duration: Up to five minutes.
- Distance: Respond to cue up to fifty feet away.
- Latency: Immediate.
- Position: Assume position from stand, down, or walk. Pax should not change his position
- elative to me, except in specific situations where that is specifically trained. I should be able to be in any physical position.
- Locations: Everywhere.
- Distractions: Anything and everything. Especially distractions common in a dog show or performance environment. Must maintain the sit when being touched by strangers or sniffed by strange dogs.
- Other: Must maintain even when I'm out of sight.
Training Plan: (Accomplish each level in multiple locations of gradually increasing distractions.)
- Get the behavior.
- Add the cue.
- Shape for tucked.
- Shaped for tucked and square.
- Add the hand signal and proof.
- Reduce latency.
- Add duration of 15 seconds.
- Add distance -- me leaving him while he maintains the sit - of 20 feet and out of sight.
- Add distractions - holding sit while a ball (or bumper!) is thrown, while a dog or person walks past, while cars and other vehicles go by, when food is tossed, when a stranger comes up and touches him.
- Increase duration.