How to Teach a dog to Sit

How to teach a dog to sit is an essential part of training and a good thing for him to learn.   Some dogs do not know they are supposed to sit and instead remain in the standing position. It can be cute when your puppy does this but also you may want your adult dog to follow commands such as ‘sit’. Today’s blog is all about how to teach a dog to sit.

You can easily teach sit through positive reinforcement and a bit of patience.  Most dogs pick this up very easily because it is a natural movement for them. If you are consistent, your pet will learn quickly how to sit and then you can expand on it.

When to teach a dog to sit  

It is best when done at an early age because it is much easier for him or her to understand than when he grows older. However, it is easy to teach adult dogs too – I’ve never met a dog that struggles with the ‘sit’ command. You can start teaching your new dog straight away, unless it is a rescue dog that needs time to decompress.

How to teach your dog to Sit

Begin by offering your hand to the ground palm up and getting his attention.  When he looks at you, briefly remove your hand from where it is in an upward motion. Your pet will most likely be curious about why you are doing this and may sit to see what happens.  If he does not, go back to hand down palm facing up again, lift and repeat. The upward hand motion will prompt his head up and it is natural for the dogs bum to go down in a sitting position. Where you would like him to sit once again and repeat this process as many times as necessary until he begins to associate sitting with your action of pointing.

You can do it with a treat the first few times if necessary. We like to use the WAGG training treats with chicken, beef and lamb.

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When he finally sits on his own, let out a cheerful “Good dog!” and give him a treat while praising his accomplishments.   If he has trouble understanding at first, do not yell at him or hit him but rather listen for a reaction when you point to the ground and wait patiently until he does it on his own.   Once you think he understands after several attempts then try asking him to sit when he is playing with another member of your family or other people.   This is because it will take an even longer time for him to get used to this action and he will need more encouragement.

How to teach a dog to sit  should be done in a training area where there are no distractions so that your dog can easily focus on you.  Continue doing this several times each day until he understands what you want him to do.  It can be difficult at first, so keep attempts to a minimum until he shows signs of understanding.   Some dogs associate it with being sent outside or waiting for dinner.   Reward your pet each time he sits on his own so that he continues to repeat the action when it is required of him.

Do whatever works for you and your dog!

There is some debate about how to teach a dog to sit.   Some people feel that using treats is the only way to tame their pet while others want to use toys instead. Whichever method you choose, do it consistently so that your pet knows what he is expected to do.

You can begin by pointing out a treat or toy and in the same instance pointing to the ground.   Be sure to do this until your pet does not associate one with the other anymore.

Avoid too much Repetition

Do not keep repeating this process over and over again, as you want him to learn how to sit on his own without continuous reminders.   Some animals may have trouble with their rear end where the treat or toy is and then take it away as soon as he begins to open his mouth.   If your pet sits, give him the treat or toy.   Over time, you can move closer to where he will sit but hold off on giving the treat until he does so.   He should pick up on what you are doing fairly quickly and respond accordingly; then praise him for doing so.   How to teach a dog to sit should be done repeatedly until you can move away from using treats or toys when you are training him.

Many people use toys designed to do this and that is fine, as long as he knows what the action means in reference to sitting down. If he has not been taught to associate the command with a toy then this too can be difficult for him to understand and will take longer than it would if he did already know.

If you want to use treats or toys, start out slowly.   As your pet begins to learn what is expected of him, you can repeat this process until you have moved as far away as possible and removed the treats or rewards altogether!

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Whistle Training Dogs and Using a Marker Word for Dog Training

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