Whether it is your new puppy or older dog, teaching them the sit command is an important lesson for them to learn. It is also, usually, one of the easiest commands to teach. Here is an easy way to train your dog to sit.
Having your dog sit when asked can come in handy in a variety of situations from sitting before going out of a doorway, sitting at the veterinarian’s office, sitting for a nail trim, to sitting beside you at an outdoor café. The sit command is a versatile command and will serve you and your dog well throughout your years together.
What is the Best Training Method?
Here at Dances with Dogs, we only use positive reinforcement training. What does that mean? We only use treats, toys, and praise. We ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. Wouldn’t you work harder if you knew that every time you got it right something great was going to happen? How hard would you work if you knew that if every time you got it wrong something bad was going to happen?
Why Should You Train Your Dog to Sit?
Having your dog learn the sit command is essential, so this is one of the first commands they should learn. It is also the base for other behaviors they should learn, so learning the sit command is the start of great learning experiences for your dog and great training experiences for you.
How Long Will It Take?
Each dog learns at a different pace just like people, so be patient. Learning sit is a fairly easy command for dogs to learn, so it shouldn’t take too long. It also depends on how much time you invest in the process. You want training to be fun, so it is important to keep your training sessions to about 10 minutes in length. If you try to train your dog for longer periods of time you run the risk of him/her getting frustrated, distracted, bored or just tired.
How to Train Your Dog to Sit
Before you get started, you need lots of yummy treats. These treats should be small (pea sized) and something your dog finds incredibly delicious. Some things that work well are small pieces of cheese, cooked chicken, dried liver, a dog food roll cut into small pieces, cut up hot dogs, etc. You want something that really keeps their attention and doesn’t take too long for them to eat. If your dog is not motivated by food try using their favorite toy or praise.
Hold a small piece of treat in your hand, so that your dog can smell it and then slowly raise your hand up and back over their head so that they have to look up. This should cause them to have to sit down. If your dog tries to jump up to get the treat your hand may be too high above their head. Lower your hand a bit and try again.
Just as your dog sits say “yes!” or “good” or whatever word works best for you and pop the treat in their mouth.
Once your dog is consistently sitting 5 times in a row during your practice sessions you can then put a command word to it. So, say “sit” as you raise your hand above their head and as soon as their rear end hits the ground reward and praise.
Once your dog has the behavior down, you can phase out your treats by only giving them occasionally. Mix it up. Sometimes give your dog a treat every three sits, then every 5 sits, then every two sits. Keep them guessing, that is part of the fun.
Always have fun and end on a high note. Always try to end your training sessions when your dog has done the behavior correctly. Even if your dog is having a great training session don’t be tempted to push it. You want every session to be fun.
Things You Should Never Do
Never push on your dog’s back end to get them to sit. You could do physical harm to your dog and it does not help your dog to learn to sit.
Never repeat your command. In other words, ask your dog to “sit”, but never say “sit, sit, sit,” if your dog doesn’t sit after the first request.
Never yell or shout at your dog. If you are getting frustrated it is time to call it a day. Try to end your training session on a positive note even if that means asking your dog to do something they already know like fetch a ball or give kisses. But, if you are finding yourself raising your voice it is time to take a break.
If your dog just won’t sit there could be several reasons. Make sure it is not medical. Does your dog sit on her/his own when not being asked? If not, a trip to the vet may be in order. Are your treats yummy enough? Make sure you are using very high-value treats when teaching a new behavior. If your dog still isn’t interested in treat maybe food isn’t his/her thing. Try using a ball, toy or praise as a reward instead. Are there too many distractions? If there is a lot going on when you are trying to train it might be a good idea to move to a quieter area.
If You Would Like to Learn More About How to Train Your Dog, Please Contact Us.