How to Teach Your Dog to “Sit”

Teaching a dog to sit is one of the very first exercises most dog owners start with when beginning obedience training with their pet. The “sit” exercise is also a very good one since you can use it to position your dog and uses it to help him learn other commands like “sit-stay.” It’s also a good starting position if you want to later on teach your dog to shake hands, as he would have to be in a sitting position to do that.

You can even start training a young puppy that is about two or three months old if you have enough patience, but a lot of people wait until the dog is about six months old. And don’t think just because perhaps you adopted an older dog that he can’t learn basic obedience commands. Any dog can learn to sit, you just need to be patient, consistent and give him a chance.

Finding Your Dog’s Motivation

First, what’s your dog’s motivation? Food is a great learning aid for most dogs. You can use bits of a tasty treat like chicken or perhaps those little puppy-sized doggie treats, whatever your dog likes that will get him to do what you want.

Beginning the Lesson

Once you find your dog’s motivation, it’s time to begin. Bring your dog to the area you want to use for training purposes. It should be fairly quiet so he won’t be distracted. After you get his attention, show him the treat or toy that you are using for motivation and hold it up in the air. The idea is to get him to follow his nose to find the treat. Then, while he is watching the treat, lift it backwards and somewhat over his head so he naturally sits down on his haunches.

As soon as his butt hits the floor, praise him and give him the treat or toy. Be sure to be consistent and not too wordy. All you need to do is hold up the treat, say “sit” in a commanding tone, and when he does, praise him with a “good boy!” and give him the treat. It’s that simple.

Short Lessons Are Best

The first lesson should only last about 15 minutes, as that’s about all your dog’s attention span probably is, especially if it is a young puppy. He’s going to get tired fast. So, once that timeframe is over, stop the lesson and then you can go for it again the next day. It shouldn’t take long for him to get the hint and all you will have to do is say “sit” and hold your hand up and he will sit, and then later on, just say the word and he should sit. In time, you can phase out the treat or toy and just be able to do it either empty handed or by voice command alone.

The above method is far better and easier for both you and your dog than some methods which say you should pull or push your dog into the sit position. That method just frustrates your pet and could even scare him and isn’t good to be used on any dog, especially puppies.

Using the Sit Command

Once your pet has mastered the sit command, you can use it in a situation such as when someone comes to the door and you don’t want your dog to jump up on them. Just make sure you have them sit before they get overly excited and can’t control themselves. Your visitors will thank you and will give you praise for having a well-behaved pet.

The bottom line is to find a dog’s motivation, have patience and be consistent in your training method, teach only a few minutes at a time every day, and give lots of praise. Soon your dog will be sitting like a champ.


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