It’s a pretty simple thing, but one of the most commonly taught “tricks” in dog training.
Learning how to train your dog to sit is not rocket science, but it will be a much quicker and easier experience on both you and your pup if you know what you’re doing!
1. Start with a quiet environment.
Loud noises, kids riding bikes, other dogs, cars, squirrels, etc. can all be distracting. A distracting environment like the park or your front yard can make training your dog to sit next to impossible.
When you are teaching your dog new commands it’s important to have them in a quiet place so that they can completely focus on you and in turn, you can focus on how to train your dog to sit.
2. Have small treats on hand.
Treats are a highly motivational tool. Because you will be practicing commands with your dog for several minutes at a time and will likely repeat the trick many times it’s important to feed your dog very small treats.
Your dog will be very enthusiastic in the beginning, but as they become full their attention will drift. The smaller the treats the more time you will have your dog’s full, eager attention.
3. Getting your dog’s attention.
Before you begin, gain your dog’s undivided attention. This is best done by standing in front of your dog, having him face you. Say his or her name and have them look at you.
Remember that anything can distract your dog and hinder the training session so turn off the TV, ask your family members not to walk through the room and eliminate any other interruptions.
4. Show your dog a treat.
Take one treat in your hand, letting your dog see that you’re holding it. Do not allow him to grab for it and do not pull you hand away if he does. This can cause excitement and jumping. Hold your hand steady and correct your dog if they reach for the treat.
You’re now going to have your dog’s full attention because he’s going to want to figure out how he earns his treat if he’s not allowed to grab it from you.
5. Move the treat to naturally encourage sitting.
Move the treat that’s’ in your hand from your dog’s nose to behind his head. By slowly raising the treat over the top of your dog’s head he will be encouraged to follow it. He will naturally place his bottom on the ground as he follows the treat.
Remember to hold the treat close enough to your dog’s head so that he doesn’t try to jump for it. If your dog back up, but doesn’t sit, try using a corner in your home to limit his ability to move backwards. This will help encourage him to sit.
6. Verbally ask your dog to sit.
While you are moving treats above your dog’s head to encourage him to sit you also want to incorporate the “sit” command. When your dog begins the motion of sitting say the command.
It’s also beneficial to say it once again when his bottom hits the ground. Use this as your only command and don’t overuse. You only want your dog to associate the command with the motion of sitting.
7. Praise your dog.
Give your dog his treat and praise him each time he sits down. Rub him, scratch him, pet him and use praising words such as “good boy.” You want your dog to know, without doubt, that he did something to please you. Repeat this every time your dog properly sits.
8. Timing is everything.
Always reward your dog immediately after he sits. The timing of the reward is crucial because it helps your dog understand what behavior is being rewarded. Therefore, it is important to give your dog his reward at the exact same moment that your dog performs the behavior you’re asking for.
9. Repeat for several minutes.
Training sessions should last for about 10 minutes. You don’t want them to go much longer because your dog will begin to lose interest or become frustrated. Puppies will last for much shorter periods of time.
When you see that your dog is losing interest end on a good note, one final sit, and resume again later that day. 2-3 training sessions a day are recommended when going through the steps of how to train your dog to sit.
10. Use fewer treats as time goes on.
Wean your dog off treats and keep your dog enthusiastic with praise. You eventually want your dog to sit on command without needing a treat to do so. Start by rewarding with a treat every other time he completes the trick. Gradually feed fewer and fewer treats.
Teach Your Dog the Basic Sit Command!
Not so tough, is it? With just a bit of time and patience, you and your pup will reach your goal in no time. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to focus or listen, it’s likely you have a control issue with your dog.
But this is another problem that is easier to fix than most would believe. I would start by checking out an excellent, free dog training video series by Doggy Dan which covers this and hundreds of other subjects.
Dan explains everything in simple, easy to understand terms and demonstrates it all right there in front of you on video with his own pups.