Purpose: There are two main areas that need to be re-aligned when addressing a “Sloppy Sit”… Sloppy Legs and a Slouchy Spine. This video details what to look for when assessing posture in a Sit, and how to use appropriately sized props, placement of reward, and prop setup to positively influence your pups posture. This is a fairly in depth video that details several components, so it’s a bit longer than normal.
Equipment: 2-3 Sitting Platforms or 1 Sitting Platform and a raised foot target
Targets: This Posture Sit exercise aims to specifically target the postural muscles that control the alignment of the spine, pelvis, hips and stifle. Just like a human sitting in poor posture has negative consequences long term, the same is true for our pups! The methods shown in this exercise are appropriate for growing dogs as well as adult dogs. It’s never too early to work on your pup’s posture!
NOTE: If your pup has a Sloppy Sit, that means they have a muscle imbalance through their postural muscles. Because postural muscles are small, when they get weak, they also lose a significant amount of endurance. Make sure to give your pup lots of breaks, especially if they’re no longer offering to make adjustments into the right alignment. This is an indication of FATIGUE not DISOBEDIENCE.
The strategy covered here can and SHOULD be implemented in any and all exercises that contain a Sit. If my dog is in less than ideal alignment, I will adjust the prop setup or move my body until they adjust, giving me a chance to reward. If you would like to add a verbal cue on top of the physical cues I detail in the video, that is also an option.
For more specific guidance, check out the Sloppy Sitters Mini-Program. Which is a targeted intensive program to guide you step by step from a Sloppy Sit to proper posture.
- When dealing with weak muscles or hypoactive muscles, it is critical the timing of the mark and reward communicates to the dog exactly what behavior we want. This builds value to the new behavior / posture, making new neural connections, and making your pup more likely to default to this new behavior in the future. This is called neuromuscular re-education. Read more in my blog post on Neuromuscular Re-education.
- Placement of reward has such a huge impact on posture. So becoming more aware of YOUR body is a critical component in your pup’s success! How spinal alignment is impacted by placement of reward is detailed in the video.
- Because we are relying heavily on platforms to encourage our pups into proper alignment, using properly sized platforms is important. More information on this can be found in my Measuring for Platforms blog post.