Teaching Your Dog How To Sit
Teaching your dog how to sit can be a very rewarding experience for both you, and your dog. It has many practical and aesthetic benefits, and can be taught to your dog relatively easily. With the right knowledge and skills your dog can be taught how to sit in as little as 2 days; furthermore, after he has gotten the hang of it, he will have it mastered within a week or two.
The main idea when teaching your dog to sit is that he must learn to associate the word "sit" with the action of sitting; once the association is made, it is only a matter of practice and time. The teaching method can be described in steps; however, the amount of times that each step must be repeated before moving on.
Grab a few of your dogs favourite treats and break them into small pieces; you are going to be rewarding your dog fairly often, and you don't want him to get sick so small pieces of treats are better than full ones.
Place your hand on the top of his rear legs above his buttocks and push it downwards simultaneously as you say the word "sit". You can optionally associate a hand motion with the movement; if you choose to do this you should motion your hand at the same time as you say "sit" and push downwards. You are going to feel your dog resisting your push for the first few times. The first time that you feel your dog stop resisting the push you should push his buttocks to the ground and give him a small treat. This step should be repeated as many time as it is needed until he stops resisting the downwards push completely. This could take 5 minutes or 5 days, so do not be alarmed or frustrated if it doesn't happen immediately.
This step will most likely take the longest to complete, as it is involves the dog sitting by himself; however, the results of this step are the most rewarding. Ensure that you have a handful of treats, and let the dog know that you have them so that he focuses all of his attention on you. After getting the dog's attention, begin to say the word "sit" and motion your hand with the associated movement. Every time that the dog completes the sitting movement you should reward him with a treat so that he understands that he is doing something correctly. If it has been more than a few minutes and the dog has not completed his first sitting movement, you should repeat step 2 once or twice as a primer. This step should be repeated as many times as needed until the dog sits on command on a consistent basis; once again this could happen immediately or after a long time so do not be alarmed.
Now your goal is to phase out the treat reward so that your dog does not expect a treat every single time that he sits on command. You should grab a few treats and have your dog focus his attention on you. You are now going to reward the dog's sitting movements with a treat the first time, and a friendly pet and rub the second time. You should continually increase the amount of times that you pet and rub the dog as a reward in between giving him a treat. After enough cycles, the dog will no longer expect a treat, but will merely expect a rub or kind verbal reward.
It's as simple as that! Some dogs learn how to sit in as little in a few hours, while other dogs can take as many as 10 days to filly master the trick. Do not be alarmed if your dog is not catching on as fast as you thought he would, but rather respect his learning pace, and teach him how to sit at that same pace. The amazing thing about teaching your dog how to sit is that it is a prerequisite for nearly any other trick that a dog can learn; tricks such as rolling over, laying down, and staying in the same spot all require the dog to be sitting down prior to completing them. This trick is one of the hardest to teach your dog, but is also considered one of the most valuable. Follow these steps and your dog will be sitting down on your command in no time!