Train your dog to sit

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When you get a new puppy, it is your responsibility to train them. You must work on the primary command to teach your dog how to SIT.
Teach your dog how to SIT is the first command taught in obedience training. Teaching your dog the SIT command can be helpful in multiple situations. This command is also essential for establishing a relationship between you and your pup. Once your dog has learned how to sit, training other commands will become much more manageable. The SIT command also gravitates your dog towards you and focuses their full attention on you. This makes teaching all other commands much easier. There are specific methods that work better with puppies. In contrast, other methods are more suited for use on older dogs who are less energetic.


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When should you start to teach your dog how to SIT?

Training your dog should start the day the dog enters your home. You should start laying down boundaries and teaching your dog what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Puppies can easily understand and start responding to the command by six weeks of age, while older or senior dogs without mobility issues can learn at any stage.

Items that you will need

  • lots of treats [enticing ones]
  • a clicker if you use it
  • lots of patience

Teach your dog how to sit: 2 methods

Method one: luring the pup into a sitting position

This is the easiest method that you can use and is exercised by most all guardians. This is a method that has withstood the test of time and works on almost everyone. If you have been regularly followed my blog, you know I have many dogs dependent on me for their love and care. Nearly all of them know how to SIT. The SIT command has helped me calm them in dangerous and panic situations. It has also helped refocus their attention onto me when they are distracted. Since they are almost always hand-fed, they SIT surrounding me and are hand-fed their dinner.

Currently, I am in the process of teaching little Rummy bear (son of Annie and Oreo) how to SIT. Since I had boiled chicken as a treat, I took five minutes to teach him how to SIT. Trust me, this is the simplest of all commands to teach your pup. You must teach your dog how to SIT before you start with any other command.


Training your dog to sit
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Training your dog by the LURE method

In the lure method, you will use something that your dog wants, like a toy or a treat. You will basically be luring your dog into doing something that you wish to by using what your dog wants. When your dog successfully follows your command, they will receive the reward. The time between your command and your dog’s response would eventually reduce when you keep practicing with your pup. Similarly, you will also remove the treat offering part, eventually.

Steps in teaching your dog how to SIT

  • Call your dog to you.
  • Hold a treat in your hand.
  • Make sure the treat is visible to the dog.
  • Bring the treat close to your dog’s nose so he/she can sniff it.
  • Do not give the treat to the dog yet!
  • Now, slowly move the treat from your dog’s nose towards your dog’s forehead.
  • Your dog will follow the movement of the treat.
  • When your dog’s head follows the treat, you will notice your dog’s rear end backing away.
  • Continue to move the treat back until the rear side of your dog touches the floor.
  • Once your dog’s rear end touches the floor, click and offer your dog the treat. Make sure to say SIT when you click.
  • Repeat the process.
  • Repeat the process at least five times before taking a break (make sure that your dog is not distracted).
  • Keep practicing the command at random times in the day. Always make sure to have an enticing treat in your hand.

When you practice the command at random times, and regularly, your dog will start to associate the word SIT with sitting. Initially, your dog will expect to receive treats for setting. Eventually, you will have to fade out the treat part from the command.


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How to train your dog to sit?
How to train your dog to sit?

Method 2: capturing the SIT

When you teach your dog how to SIT by the capture method, you essentially capture a specific behavior. You are not training your dog into doing something. You notice the behavior, and you promote it. For example, when you see your dog about to sit, the moment your dog’s rear end touches the ground, you encourage the behavior and offer a treat. Thus, this method works by promoting the behavior. Eventually, your dog learns to associate the behavior with the command. You may notice that your dog sits when they are expecting a treat from you.

Checking time

After a few days of practicing, you can check if your dog has got the hang of the SIT command or not. For this, call your dog towards you. Stand straight with no ‘visible’ treats in your hand. When your dog looks at you, say SIT.

If your dog sits, click and offer your dog a treat. You can also provide your dog lots of praises, hugs, and kisses.

If your dog does not SIT, mimic the lure version to encourage your dog to SIT. Continue practicing with treats and the luring technique for a few days before you check again.

Never punish your dog for not following a command.


Train at different places

Once your dog has started to respond to the verbal cue, it is time to take the training to the different sections of the house. Once your dog is comfortable following the command in other house areas, you can take the next step by asking your dog to SIT when you are in the yard. Initially, practice the command when there is no distraction around. Eventually, as and when your dog gets the hang of the command, you must ensure that your dog follows the command even when there are distractions around like the presence of squirrels, other dogs, etc. If your dog seems distracted, you can throw in a couple of treats to get your dog’s attention back on track. Eventually, you must practice this command in dog parks, when there are guests around and in other unpredictable situations.

Train your dog to sit in easy steps
Train your dog to sit in easy steps

Fade out the treat from the training

The next part of teach your dog how to SIT is to fade out the treat. Instead of not giving your dog anything in response to your command, give your dog something that they want. For example, if your dog wants you to open the door, ask your dog to SIT. When your dog sits, you open the door as a reward. If your dog asks for a toy, you ask your dog to SIT and then offer the toy. You can also use the command during playing. Suppose you and your dog are playing fetch. Ask your dog to SIT before you throw the ball. The reward of sitting in the ball for the pup to fetch.


Troubleshooting time

What if your dog is never sitting on its own?

If you notice that your dog is never sitting on its own, it may be because of a medical reason. Another behavior to check for is if your dog is taking time to SIT. This may be because sitting or the pressure of sitting causes pain to your dog. Whether your dog is a young puppy or a senior dog, the pain may be caused due to arthritis, obesity, injury, or any other underlying medical condition. Under such circumstances, you should consult your veterinarian immediately so that any medical issue can be ruled out or resolved as soon as possible.

What to do if your dog is not responding at all?

If your dog is not responding to the command, it is time to check if you are doing everything right. Start with the treat. Maybe the treat you are using is not enticing enough for your dog. When guardians use treats in which the dog has little to no interest, the training does not work. Thus, always ensure that you use a treat that your dog finds very enticing and would do anything to eat.

What are the random times to ask your dog to SIT?

Here are some random situations when you can ask your dog to SIT before rewarding the behavior.

  • When you enter from the front door, ask your dog to SIT before he or she treats you. This would prevent jumping behavior in your dog.
  • When your dog wants to go out, ask your dog to SIT by you with the harness and leash on your dog. Reward your dog by going for a walk.
  • When you are on a walk and want to greet someone, ask your dog to SIT. This is to prevent jumping behavior.
  • If you have to cross the street, ask your dog to SIT until the road clears and it is safe for you to cross.

Other articles you may find interesting:

Getting a dog is like getting a baby. They cannot train themselves. You have to be their guardian, trainer, and parent. Teach your dog how to sit is the first of many commands to train your dog. Many more commands will follow, but this must be the first command because it lays the foundation of all the other commands.

Does your dog know how to sit? How did you train your dog? How long did your dog take to learn the command? What were the problematic areas in your training, and how did you overcome them? Please mention your experiences in the comments section below. If you want to share any anecdotes or stories with the world or any queries regarding any of the blog articles, feel free to contact me on any of my social media channels or email. I will be happy to help.

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