by: Levi M.
Teaching your dog how to sit is one of the basic routines
in dog training. With some patience and consistent practice,
you can expect to teach your dog how to sit in less than a week.
You Will Need
- 25-50 tasty treats
- Clicker (optional)
- 10 minutes of time
First, find a suitable place to train your dog.
The best option is wherever they are most comfortable and where
there are not a lot of distractions, like other dogs or toys.
It’s also a good idea to train your dog after they’ve had their
daily walk because that’s when they’re typically the most calm
Start by standing in front of your dog, making sure that their
attention is only on you.
Hold a small, tasty treat (such as cut up hot dogs, or ham) near
your dog’s nose. Let your dog smell the treat, but don’t let them
take it. If your dog has not been trained yet, they will probably
try to grab the treat the moment you hold it near their mouth. Stay
calm and re-focus your dog by saying their name and not letting them
take the treat. Your dog needs to understand that jumping, whining,
licking or other behaviors will not get them the reward.
Be patient. Proceed by slowly moving your hand over your dog’s head
while keeping his attention. As his head follows the treat, he will
naturally fall into a sitting position. As soon as he sits, praise
him and give him the treat. Do this several times until he learns
that you are rewarding him for sitting.
Practice this behavior for 3-5 minutes, repeating the same motion
of raising the treat above your dogs head until he sits. Don’t
worry about saying the command to sit until your dog begins to
understand the motion and repeats it successfully.
When your dog sits everytime you raise your hand above their head with a
treat, you can start saying the cue word “Sit!” the moment they sit.
Be careful not to say “sit” before your dog actually sits, because it may lead to him associating the word to a different action. If you make a mistake once or twice, it’s not really a big deal, but you want to be careful not to confuse your dog by saying, “Sit! Sit! Sit!” or saying the command while he’s still standing up, or he will never understand what you want.
Continue to give your dog treats while you’re training, but instead
of giving him a treat immediately every time he sits, do it after he
has successfully responded to the cue word, “Sit!” and is sitting.
Then, only give him treats when he sits immediately, so that not
every successful sit gets a treat. Rewarding your dog intermittently,
instead of every time, will make him less likely to rely on treats
Repeat this routine for 10 minutes, and then rest. Dogs do not
have a long attention span, so it’s best to train your dog for no
more than 10 or 15 minutes per session. Don’t push your dog too
hard, because you want them to look forward to these training
sessions. You can do it again multiple times within the day and
the next few days.
Training With a Clicker
Dogs are simple beings, so they are most likely to understand you
if you use the simplest language. This is also the reason why some
trainers use clickers in training. Instead of using your voice which
can vary in timing and tone, clickers only have one sound and can
be used immediately after your dog does the right thing, to "mark"
it, so your dog knows he did a good job and a treat is on the way.
This can facilitate training because your dog would find it easier
to associate the sound with successfully doing a particular behavior.
Teaching your dog how to sit with a clicker follows the same basic
steps. Let your dog smell the tasty treat, and patiently guide them
until they assume a sitting position. The moment that they sit, use
the clicker and give them the treat as quickly as you can. This is
called “click and treat”, and the method has been used on more
animals than just dogs to teach many complicated behaviors.
After a few successful attempts with the clicker, proceed to use
the cue word (“sit”) instead of the clicker. The clicker is used
to replace your voice in telling your dog he did a good job. You
can wean your dog away from treats and the clicker, to just the
cue word “Sit!” in less than a week if you do multiple 10-minute
sessions per day, and train consistently everyday.
Practice in Different Contexts
Once your dog has mastered the command, it is good practice to
ask them to sit in different places and situations. Also, remember
to bring some treats in hand whenever you are training them.
Teaching your dog how to sit is one of the simplest and most
useful commands you can teach your dog. Make sure that you and
your doggo enjoy every second of the training. It is a chance
for you to bond and to develop a trusting relationship.