When you begin teaching your dog a new command or trick, it is important to have his full attention by eliminating all distractions and outside influences. Training your dog to sit is a particularly useful obedience skill, and can be especially beneficial to dog owners when their dogs are too excited to calm down.
Teaching a dog to sit on command may seem like a difficult task, but can be relatively easy with the proper training methods. When you train your dog in easy and consistent steps, you will enjoy owning a dog that is polite, obedient and a pleasure to be around.
Here are some basic training steps to help teach your dog how to ‘sit’ on command, utilizing small dog treats as a reward.
Begin training your dog once or twice daily, at the same times each day.
It is important to choose a time when your dog is interested in the treat, but not too hungry to concentrate on the training session. Use bite size rewards that are suitable to hold in your hand or pocket, such as professional dog treats.
Show the treats to your dog and allow him to smell your hand.
You will have your dog’s full attention, as he will be very curious about the treat in your hand or pocket. He will be excited and willing to learn in hopes of earning a dog treat. If he is not interested, wait an hour and try again.
Take the dog treat in your hand and hold it just above your dog’s nose.
Hold the treat a few inches over your dog’s forehead, allowing your dog to look upwards at the treat. When your dog raises his head, the position puts pressure on the spine, making him lower his bottom. Be careful not to hold the treat too high, or your dog might jump to get the dog treat.
Say your dog’s name, followed by the command ‘sit’.
Speak the command clearly and firmly at the moment your dog’s rump hits the floor, rewarding him with a treat immediately after the action. As you give the treat, speak the word ‘yes’. Repeat the steps above several times until your dog can follow the treat and sit at your command.
Keep practicing until you can remove the treat from your guiding hand.
Eventually, your dog should sit without following the treat in your hand. Say his name and the command with an empty hand, just as if you had a treat. When your dog responds correctly, reward him with a treat from the other hand and respond with a ‘yes’.
Teach your dog to respond to the command without seeing the dog treat.
Once your dog knows what is expected, speak the command, ‘sit’, without moving your hands. If he responds correctly, say “yes” and reward him with a treat. Your dog will learn that the word ‘yes’ means he can get a reward without seeing the treat in your hand.
Keep the training sessions short so your dog doesn’t lose interest.
Practice sessions should only last for five or ten minutes because, after a little while, your dog will no longer be able to concentrate on the training. Take a break and resume training when your dog is eager and interested in the treats again.
The above training method is the most popular way to train your dog to sit. However, there are two other methods to consider. As all dogs are different, choose the best method for your dog’s personality and learning style.
Train your dog indoors or outside, without a leash, allowing your dog to behave naturally. Make sure your dog is in safe area that is free from distractions and stay with him until he sits. When this happens, say the command clearly and firmly, and reward the dog by saying ‘good boy’ or giving him treat.
Practice saying ‘sit’ each time your dog sits, repeating this exercise as often as possible until he can associate the action with the word ‘sit’. Lastly, you will need to practice saying ‘sit’ while your dog is standing until he learns to follow your command. With Natural Guidance, you can gradually reduce the amount of rewards given until your dog can happily follow the command without expecting treats.
The Physical Guidance method is ideal for puppies and active dogs. At first, you will need to put your dog on a leash to keep him close to your side. If you would rather not use a leash to keep the dog by your side, you can still attempt to train him using this method.
Stand next to your dog, pushing downward on his bottom gently, being careful not to use too much force. When your dog sits down by outside pressure, say the command, ‘sit’, moving your hand after thirty seconds to offer a reward. Repeat this process several times, until your dog can associate the word ‘sit’ with the desired action.
Gradually, your dog will learn to sit without your guidance by speaking the command. Reward him with a dog treat to help build your dog’s motivation. Over time, you will eventually dismiss the use of dog treats.
When training your dog to sit, it is important to remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself, or on your dog, as you use consistency and repetition to enjoy each and every achievement he makes. All of the patience and time put in during training sessions will help to solidify the relationship and connection between you and your dog.