Step 1: Give the command to sit. After waiting five to eight seconds, go ahead and use the vocal command with a hand motion of your choice to tell your dog to be released from his sitting position. If you act excited while doing this, your dog should naturally release. When he does so, click and treat. Repeat this step until your dog is consistently releasing.
Step 2: Eventually, you will want to be less enthusiastic with your command, and will want your dog to release when given a more subtle cue. To do this, again give the command to sit. After your dog holds for 5-8 seconds, use just the vocal command, but still be just as energetic as before. Each time you repeat this, you’ll want to tone down your enthusiasm a little at a time to make the command more subtle.
Step 3: In subsequent sessions extend the wait time (about 4 or 5 seconds per session ) before giving the release, gradually building up endurance so that your dog will wait several minutes before being released.
When teaching Caspian to release from a sitting or down position, we used the term “Go” as our release command. Playing fetch is Caspian’s all time favorite thing to do, and we will usually run through several tricks before throwing the ball. This is a good command for us to use to tell him that his patience has paid off, and he can now run after the ball.
My dog releases before I tell him to!
This is a common problem that is easy to fix. What might be happening is your dog senses the amount of time between when you give him the command to sit (or lay down) and when you give him the command to release. Try varying the time between the two commands. Maybe try giving him the release command after 3 seconds, then give him the command after 5 seconds the next time. Another thing that may be happening is that your dog is responding to a visual cue that you aren’t aware of. Dogs are smart creatures, and can respond to facial expressions and very slight movements. You might be giving him a cue to release and not even know it!