It’s In The Details: Lumping


lumpingOnce you get used to the clicker, you are most likely going to fall in love and use it to teach your dog many different tasks. Currently, I’m trying to find out if it’s possible to teach my Corgi a tucked sit. A tucked sit is when the back end is brought up under the body into a sit without moving the front legs. This is very useful in obedience, rally, and other sports because it helps keep the dog in the right position. I am having trouble trying to teach Clark to do a tucked sit because he likes to “rock back” in to his sits. Someone recommended using a platform to keep him more still while practicing this exercise, but it wasn’t as successful as I had hoped.


Lumping is when you ask for more than one behavior at a time. Many times the dog cannot keep up with all the simulatenous demands and becomes frustrated. Also, the person working with the dog does not always recognize that they are asking for too much at once. Let’s take a look at how I lumped too many things together at once.

First, it’s never the dog’s fault if he can’t figure out what you want. It means you’re either going too fast or lumping things together. This time around, I was lumping too many things together at once. Here’s what I *thought* my criteria was:

  • Get on platform
  • Stay on platform
  • Sit on platform

But here’s what it actually was:

  • Work for your kibble, not the good stuff (unusual for him)
  • Get all four feet on platform
  • Offer a sit, when you’ve only ever offered a down and stand while on the platform (unusual for him)
  • Stay on the platform for a long period of time

Take a look at the video:

Thing’s you’ll notice about the dog if you’re going too fast or asking for too much:

  • Ground sniffing and walking away or other calming signals (displacing frustration)
  • Frequency of click/treats will be low (less than 5 clicks per minute)

Did you notice this happening in my video?

Before I start working on tucked sits on the platform, I need to work on making being on the platform a more solid behavior. He is familiar with it, but not in love with it like I’d like him to be. Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the details, however minor, and see what could be slowing you down.