Sit. Sit. Sit! SIT! Have you been trying to teach your dog for a while without much success? Well, worry no further. We bring you a short but effective guide on how to proceed with greater success.
Photo by Dorte
Why teach your dog to sit?
Although seen as a basic command, teaching your dog to sit on command is an invaluable skill that increases your dog's safety in a multitude of scenarios as well as improving their behavior in social situations. It’s also the basis for many other tricks and skills so although simple to learn, it’s very important!
Sitting still can help keep your dog safe when crossing roads or mixing in areas such as parks and high streets where they’re bound to meet new people and other inquisitive dogs. These scenarios are also a great opportunity to practice new training skills!
So here are a few short steps that will have your pooch sitting on command in no time.
Step 1: Preparation is Key
When learning a new skill or trick, try and choose a quiet place, away from outside distractions so that you and your dog can focus on the task at hand. A nice tip here is to pick a location that is of interest to your dog such as near his food bowl or front door as it will increase the likelihood of your dog sitting quickly at important times such as mealtime or when guests arrive at the house.
Step 2: Lure your Doggy with a treat!
You will need some tasty treats at the ready, preferably his favorite ones. It is best if they are quite small and healthy as during training your dog may consume quite a few of them!
Show your dog the treat to get his attention then hold the treat to your dog’s nose keeping it just out of reach then move it slowly over his head. In order to follow the treat back with his nose he will have to sit back to a level where his bottom will touch the floor. This is the exact moment to give your dog the treat and lavish him with verbal praise such as “good boy’ or “good dog” in a really positive vocal tone.
Soon your dog will begin to associate the physical action of sitting with the reward of a yummy treat and your obvious approval!
Step 3: Repetition
Once your dog has the hang of touching his bottom down to get his treat, continue to repeat the previous steps in multiple locations around the house, garden or at the local park until your dog sits down simply at the sight of the treat above his nose, no matter where you are.
Don’t be concerned if your dog doesn’t get it right away, just take a break and return back to it later. Learning new skills, tricks and commands should be great fun for you both and double up as wonderful bonding opportunities so there’s really no need to rush!
The most important thing to remember is the treat followed by lots of positive reinforcement the second, his furry little bottom touches the ground!
Photo by Denniz Futalan
Step 4: “Sit”
Now it’s time for the all-important step of associating the action with the verbal command “Sit”. Once your dog is confident with sitting using the above method, get his attention by saying his name followed by the command “Sit” as you guide him back into position with the tasty treat.
Repeat this a few times, always using the clear command "sit" and slowly start phasing out the over the nose hand motion whilst still keeping the treat as his reward. Don’t rush it, you can try the ‘Sit’ command without using a treat as your doggy becomes gradually more confident with what is expected of him
Follow these simple four steps, practice, stay consistent and your dog will soon be sitting on command like a pro!