How To Train Your Dog to Sit

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Does your dog know how to sit on cue? Teaching the "sit" command to your dog is usually quite simple, as dogs tend to sit naturally. Sit is an important basic command. It is a way to help your dog settle a little bit in one place and focus on you. It can also help lay the groundwork for the stay command. The key is for your dog to associate the word with the action. The sit command sets the groundwork for other commands like stay and down.

When your dog is in the proper sitting position, her hocks and bottom are firmly planted on the ground. Some dogs will cheat and "hover" above the ground a little, so be sure not to reward until that butt is on the ground! Ideally, your dog will remain sitting until you release him (some trainers use the word "okay" as a release cue). With practice, you can get your dog to perfect his sit.

Difficulty: Easy

What You Need: A big handful of your dog’s favorite treats

Time Required: Time required: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day

How to Train Your Dog to Sit

  1. Get your dog’s attention and show her that you have a treat in your hand.
  2. Hold the treat just above your dog’s nose (not too high or she might jump).
  3. Say your dog’s name followed by the word “sit,” spoken clearly and firmly.
  4. Move the treat back towards your dog’s ears.
  5. As soon as your dog’s rear lands on the ground, say “good sit” in an upbeat tone.
  1. Give your dog the treat followed by petting and praising.
  2. Repeat 5-6 times.

Dog Training Tips

  1. If your dog does not sit on her own after a few tries, avoid pushing her into a sitting position. Dogs don't tend to learn well that way. Also, avoid yelling or punishment. Instead, consider trying more valuable treats, like fresh meat.
  1. If you are still having trouble getting your dog to sit with valuable treats, consider marking the behavior. Spend some time watching her. Anytime she naturally sits, praise and reward her, saying the word "sit." Try this every time you see her sitting. You'll want to carry treats with you at all times to make this work well.
  2. Hold short training sessions throughout the day in various locations, both indoor and outdoors. End training session on a positive note (with a success).
  3. Train the sit command in various locations. Include the front door and food bowl as regular training locations. This will make her more likely to sit when greeting guests or before feeding.
  4. Once your dog becomes an expert at sitting, you won't have to give her a treat each time. However, it's a good idea to give treats occasionally in order to reinforce the behavior. Of course, rewarding with praise is always a good idea.