How to Teach Your Dog to Sit

The ‘sit’ command is the most basic and the first command you should teach your dog. It’s the cornerstone command for you dog to learn obedience and that you are the pack leader. Master this one first and subsequent commands will come much easier.

Here’s a short and excellent video, followed by a slightly different narrative explanation suitable for printing.

Here are some pointers to get you started on teaching your dog to sit.
You’ll first start with treats, as most dogs are very food motivated and consequently this is a very effective method with which to reward your dog. The treat can be anything your dog enjoys and it ideally should be something different than his regular food, so that it can be special reward. 
Your primary objective is to get your dog to sit upon your speaking that one word. In addition to the training tips given below, you can also say “sit” whenever you see that your dog is already about to sit. Then, as he’s sitting, say “sit” and praise him generously. This can help accelerate the training you’ll be giving.
Here’s the steps to use in teaching your dog to sit – be sure to work on them every day until your dog has mastered this command and will consistently sit when told.

  • Call your dog with treat in hand and let them see it and smell it (but not eat it – not yet!)
  • Slowly raise the treat up in the air over your dog’s head. This will cause him to naturally move into the sitting position. As he moves into the sitting position, say “sit”.
  • If your dog doesn’t move into the sitting position on his own, say “sit” while gently pushing down on his backside. It’s better if he will move into the sitting position on his own, to avoid the risk of your dog associating the act of sitting with your pressing his bottom, but some gentle encouragement may be necessary at first.
  • Once your dog is in the sitting position, give him the treat and lots of praise. It’s important to link the activity of sitting with the treat and praise, so you’ll need to get the timing right.
  • Repeat this exercise two or three times a day, gradually cutting down the size of the treat and giving praise. Don’t overdo it, as you want it to be an enjoyable experience and a special treat for your dog.
  • You might want to try it around mealtime, as you dog will be hungrier and thus more receptive to the use of treats as a motivator.
  • Make certain the treats are easily accessible when you need them and be sure to give the treat as soon as your dog sits.
  • End each training session with an extra treat and extra praise, so that you dog considers it a positive experience and will look forward to sitting for you.
  • Once you dog has mastered ‘sit’ while at home, gradually add training sessions under other circumstances, such as in unfamiliar situations, around other dogs, when meeting people, etc.

And that’s all there is to it! Once you dog has learned the sit command, you’ll usually find it easier to train other commands and your training sessions will me that much more enjoyable.  


How to Teach Your Dog to Sit — 1 Comment

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