Get your Dog to "SIT"

Sitting Dog

Dog Obedience Training: Sitting

Teaching your dog to sit is actually one of the simpler commands when it comes to dog obedience training, the reason being that dogs naturally sit and rest. Teaching complex tricks that puts your pet into new and unfamiliar positions can take much long for obvious reasons. “Sit” is one of the best commands for your dog to learn first as it can help provide a foundation for later instruction.

Before starting:

  • Put aside approximately 10 minutes
  • Have a bag of treats (read: rewards) that your dog likes

Start off by getting your dog's attention by showing him or her that you have treats to give. The dog might recognize the bag or see the treat in your hand. You'll know your pet is focused when it's fixated on the treat(s) you are holding.

Move the treat to a level just above you pet's nose and slowly move the treat toward the dog's ears, inching it slowly forward. Make sure you don't have the treat too high or you might find your dog will jump to get the treat.

As you move the treat back, the dog should naturally sit down in order to keep his or her eyes on the treat. The moment you notice the dog's rear beginning to lower, give the command “SIT” or “SIT” followed by the dog's name in a loud and clear tone, and as the dog completes the sitting action, feed it the treat immediately. You can also reward the dog with praise and petting.

You'll want to repeat this a number of times, between five to seven, in order to maximize the likelihood your dog will remember without giving it too many treats or making the training monotonous (your dog will get bored). Another important aspect is to make sure that you teach the dog to sit in multiple locations so your pet doesn't associate sitting with only one place.

If you find your pet still not sitting while trying the movement, don't try to manually force your dog into a sitting position. Instead look for other methods that will encourage your dog to sit naturally and then reward those actions. You want to dog to associate sitting down with your command, any additional complication or added steps can make the exact action or order very unclear to a dog.

When your dog has mastered the sitting motion you can begin to ween him or her off of the treats. Start by giving a treat for two consecutive sitting motions and then slowly reduce the reward until it's just verbal praise or physical affection and then until no reward is required for the dog to respond.

Later more advanced orders can be taught, anything ranging from simple commands like lie down to more challenging endeavours such as guard dog training. The key is to start with the basics and move on to the more complex commands once the foundations are in place. Teaching your dog to sit is only one of the very first dog obedience steps.