Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Polite Sit

Hi, Rescuers!

After your rescue dog has learned sit, another helpful 'sit' modification is 'Polite Sit'. It is ideal your dog learns to sit before you cross the street. It would be tremendously difficult for your dog to know exactly where you are crossing and when to sit, get your dog used to it instead. Click your tongue or snap your fingers to get your dog's attention when you wait to cross the street. Wait until he looks you in the eye and deliver the sit command.

You can also use the 'Polite Sit' to encourage your dog to behave when he is meeting a new dog or person.

Be consistent with the 'Polite Sit' when you cross the street or do something new. Your voice and commands may encourage your dog to calm down and behave.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

First Command: Sit

Hi, Rescuers!

I hope you've enjoyed my few posts so far. I've been working diligently on writing my first way to teach sit. So: here it is!


  1. Before you start your training, spend time (at least an hour) keeping an eye on your dog. When you see your dog sitting down, praise them. Say, “Good, sit! Good, sit!” Surely, they will wag your tail as long as you’re not being very loud. But make a show (if you don’t have a shy and fearful dog) and pretend like you won a million dollars. But, as a warning, don’t be loud because it will really confuse your dog because they might think that you’re yelling at them and they’re being punished. If you have a very shy dog, smile and sit down to be at their level. Pet them gently and say softly, “Good sit, puppy. Good, sit.”

  1. Obviously, Step 1 won’t be your only instruction, so here is how to train your dog officially sit once they’ve got the basics. So set up a training session in a familiar area and start teaching them sit. First, start off by asking them to sit down. If they are 100% utterly confused, don’t be upset. The first step doesn't always work for every dog and it will rarely teach the dog ‘sit’ without the other steps, but it’s still a great idea to try it for your dog to get the hang of the trick.
  2. Next, grab a 'TRAINING TREAT'. Hold it about 1 inch from their snout and, once they gain interest, guide the dog into the sit position. Move your hand over the head and lead the dog into 'SIT'.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Hello, Rescuers!

This post is all about different types of rewards.
I hope you enjoy it!

There are actually several different types of reward systems.

·        There is the clicker, a small plastic box (small enough to fit in your palm) that makes a loud, sharp, clicking sound. You press this when your dog does something correctly and you follow the click with a small treat. This counts as two-part reward.
·        The next is the treat-cycle. This includes your dog doing something right, being rewarded with a treat and moving on. Almost every dog knows that treats are positive interactions. As long as the dog trusts you and likes the treat, they will accept their reward graciously.
·         Another type of reward is called toy reward. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, allergies, weight issues or cannot digest many treats, this is a good alternative. You start off by finding a toy (it doesn’t matter what kind it is) that your dog loves. When your dog does something correctly you reward the behavior by giving your dog a toy. And, for added fun, have your dog fetch the toy and play tug-of-war for a timed amount (40-60 seconds works best).
·        Lastly is the simplest reward of all: praise. If you haven’t found a treat or toy that your dog is especially driven towards, this is perfect. It’s very basic: once your dog does something correctly, reward with touch (if your dog enjoys it) or your voice (if your dog prefers that). If your dog is more touch-driven, pet him gently. Talk encouragingly. If your dog is more voice-driven. Say the word ‘good’ and then the command that your dog preformed. Then say ‘good’ and your dog’s name.

Never use rest as a reward. If you're practicing agility, anything active, or really just any training at all--rest should be a given! The final idea is a must in positive-reinforcement dog training. Whatever basic reward you choose (praise, clicker, treat-cycle or toy praise) you should end the reward with saying ‘good’ and then the command that your dog did. Include your dog’s name and your dog’s focus will be on you and each trick will become a positive interaction. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shelter Dog Myths

Hello, Rescuers!

Today I'm going to be sharing some myths about shelter dogs for you.

 1.  SHELTER DOGS COME INTO A RESCUE/SHELTER FOR A REASON:  A majority of the nation’s shelter dogs come into a center for no fault of their own. The most common factors include illness in the family, allergies, money issues/job loss, divorces and many other changes—which are sometimes even no fault of the family. Some families adopt dogs for Christmas, birthdays and for other surprises—without thinking about what the future holds. As we all know, puppy owners or not, all dogs (especially the young ones) need activity and companionship. Unfortunately, not all families can provide that. Sometimes people adopt or purchase young puppies and dogs because of their and fall in love with their personalities and adorable faces… and they don’t think about the less fun parts of owning a puppy (cleaning up, housetraining). Puppies require potty-training and need to be taught proper obedience.

2.    2. RESCUE DOGS NEED EXTRA SOCIALIZATION:   All dogs should have proper socialization, but it’s definitely a myth that all rescue dogs don’t get along with other dogs. Although some may have had bad experiences in the past and might not be able to cooperate with other canines, many rescues still have full lives ahead of them—lives full of puppy play-dates and other activities. A large portion of rescues with bad habits can be retrained to be polite and well-mannered pups. Most shelters dog-test pooches to make sure that they get along with other dogs, but, if not, a dog that doesn’t play nice with others can still be a great addition to your family.

3.      3. RESCUE DOGS ARE UNPREDICTABLE: Although most shelters and their adopters don’t know a lot about a rescue dog’s past, with proper training and treatment, you can assure yourself and others that your dog is not ‘unpredictable’. Simple things, such as training your dog how to interact nicely with people (and dogs for that matter) can make a big difference.

       Not all rescue dogs require more care and attention that other dogs, but, like all pets, some do. If your new adopted pal does happen to have special behavioral or medical needs, you can just feel even better about adopting. All shelter dogs deserve a second chance… with a kind person like you!

5.       5. RESCUE DOGS ALWAYS COME WITH ANXIETY Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety—not just rescue dogs! Though, it may be more common in shelter dogs because of all the changes and unsteady care in their life.

6.        6. RESCUE DOGS AREN’T PUREBRED Although not all dogs from breeders come with health problems, some poorly (and over)bred dogs may have diseases and other health problems in their genes. Mutts aren’t only healthier dogs, they are always unique! And, if you are looking for a certain breed, check out a breed-specific rescue in your neighborhood. If a certain breed is your ‘family dog’ that has been in your family for generations, you can adopt from one of these, too. And of course, purebreds are always in high demand and do occasionally enter a shelter. Keep your eye out or go to a breed-specific rescue to find the exact breed you want. 

Welcome to Sit for a Second Chance!


I'm Lili. Sit for a Second Chance is a training blog for anyone who has recently adopted a dog from a shelter, sanctuary, rescue or even just found a stray and decided to keep her. My family adopted our first dog in April of 2006. His name is Krypto and he's a Beagle/Sheltie mutt. He is approximately 13 years old. Our second dog, whom we adopted on July 22nd of 2011 is named Bigby.The shelter said that he was five years old when we got him, so that means that he's now eight. That doesn't really make sense--he has no trouble jumping, running or anything associated with becoming a senior dog so we suspect that he is younger. We don't obviously know his exact breeds but here's a good description: pitbull head, greyhound speed and legs, rat terrier markings and a pitbull/terrier personality. He loves to learn and enjoys running with me. He's pretty strong and lean; you can actually see the muscle in his body. I'm working on teaching him to run with my bike and he knows many commands. He loves attention and preforming and has great focus, although sometimes treats excite him a bit too much.

Both being rescues, sometimes I would find certain 'hurdles' while training them. Krypto doesn't have a long focus and takes a lot longer to learn tricks, so he only knows his basic commands (roll over, sit, down, shake hands, come). He was likely abused when he got him because of his occasional fear of quick hand movements, so sometimes it was difficult to teach him down. He is sensitive about his paws being touched so that has been a little bit of a 'hurdle'.

Although little to none of Bigby's 'hurdles'  appeared in training, there were several at home. One was Bigby had a little bit of food aggression. He would growl when he was eating the cats' food (he obviously wasn't supposed to) and you'd try to gently get him away from the dish. We had to learn around him.  If you yelled at him and scolded him while he ate the food, that triggered his aggression. We realized that we had to ignore him, take the dish away, look him in the eye, say a firm (but not scary) 'no' and give him a 'time-out' for 10 minutes. It worked like a charm. Now, when he gets a bone, he'll come and see on my lap with it and he lets me touch him and the bone. Bigby was always very fearful of men (he still is a bit). With that, he just had to learn to trust us and now he's like a dream come true.

In this blog, I will be posting training tips, videos, ideas, products and instructions for training your new rescue dog. Although it may be difficult and frustrating at times, you will learn quickly how rewarding and gratifying it is giving a dog a second shot at life. This blog will become a companion to my YouTube Dog Training Channel and training book that I'm currently writing. I hope that you'll find helpful tips and ideas... and--surely--you will experience the strong bond and love between you and your canine companion.

Bigby & Krypto
Bigby & Krypto
With Krypto

Bigby & Krypto


With Bigby

With Molly
With Benny at my aunt's farm

With the chickens at my aunt's farm

With Oreo at my aunt's farm

With Bigby