Pet Expressway for Dogs

How Do You Train Your Dog To Sit?

How Do You Train Your Dog To Sit?

Training your dog to sit is probably the most common dog training command as it’s fairly easy to teach. When your dog knows to “sit” on command it will be helpful for more advanced dog training commands. Many of these advanced dog training commands are done from your dog being in the sitting position. So once your dog has knows the basic dog training commands you can build upon these for more advanced commands for the future.


3 Steps To Get Your Dog To Sit

1. Get Some Treats

The first thing you will need to do is to grab a bag of tasty treats. Choose ones that your dog really likes. Although dogs can see quite well the best way of getting their attention and full focus is by their use of smell. Dogs have a powerful smell sense.

2. Grab Dog’s Attention

So the first thing you need to do is to grab your dog’s attention. You grab his attention by putting the treat in front of his nose. You do this by using your command hand. For example, if you are right-handed then this is your command hand and for left-handers, it’s their left hand. So you will take the treat that is in your command hand and lower it to your dog’s nose.  This will get his attention.  Without that attention, you will not be able to teach this command. Do not give your dog the treat just yet.

3. Move Treat Up & Over The Head

The treat is now in your hand at your dog’s nose level. Next, move the treat up and over the dog’s eyes while still keeping the treat close to his face. Continue moving the treat over the head. Your dog should look up and his eyes should follow the treat and as a result, the rest of the dog’s body will follow and he will fall back into the “sit” position. Think of the hand signal like a ‘rainbow over the head’ of the dog.

Remember while you are doing this just say “Sit” the one time. As soon as your dog falls into the sit position then lavish tons of praise and of course give your dog the treat he’s been looking at. It is important to give him the treat and praise as soon as he is in the sit position.

An important note to remember is that dogs connect your pleasure or displeasure with ‘what they just did’  So if your dog successfully sits, but then gets up before you deliver the treat and praise, you would have to refrain from rewarding them and start all over again. This is important, otherwise, you will be inadvertently rewarding him for the wrong action.


Video on Teaching Your Dog To Sit

YouTube video


Review of the Sit Dog Training Command

  • Use your command to bring a treat to your dog’s nose.
  • Next move the treat up over his eyes, like a rainbow over his head, following through until your dog falls back and sits.
  • Immediately praise the dog and give him the treat.

Your dog will soon learn to connect all these actions with the positive consequences of food when he sits in this position.


Tips For Getting Your Dog To Sit

Although “sit” is a fairly easy dog training command to teach, some dogs have minor issues mechanically when first trying to learn.  These training tips for this sit dog command should help if you are having trouble.

What Should I Do If My Dog Jumps for the Treat?

To stop your dog from jumping for the treat while teaching the sit command, we recommend that you kneel on the ground for the first few times until your dog has mastered the technique. By kneeling on the ground you will be able to execute your hand signal in such a way that leaping for the treat will not occur. Once the dog understands the hand and verbal signal, you will be able to execute the Sit command standing upright.

What Should I Do If My Dog Steps Backwards When Teaching Sit?

If your dog steps backward as you are trying to teach the sit command the most likely reason is that he is misinterpreting the hand signal. If this is the case then you should do the following:

  • Re-evaluate the hand signal.
    The hand signal you use should be slow and steady moving as it travels from the dog’s nose over his head toward his back.  The hand signal should flow smoothly and mimic the body movement you want from the dog.
  • Gentle Push On The Backside.
    As your command hand is giving the sit hand signal, have your free hand gently nudge the dog into position by pushing on his backside. If you push too firmly or abruptly on the dog’s back area, he may become startled or confused. Although we are teaching the Sit command with Inducement Training, this technique described is a mild form of compulsion training. It is a good example of how you can integrate compulsion training into the inducement training method. It also further illustrates why it is important to be well versed in all methods. As we said earlier ‘different things work with different dogs’.
  • Use A Short Leash
    The other technique you could try would be to put your dog on a short leash.  Drop the leash onto the ground and hold it with your foot.  Anchor the leash with your foot so your dog only has enough room to only take a step or two backward.  When you teach sit and your hand signal goes over his head, the dog will not be able to back-peddle due to the restraint of the leash.  He will learn the only position to move into will be the sit position.



Further Training..

Any type of dog training requires patience and consistency. If you and your canine put the effort into training it will be worth it in the long run. Having a well-trained dog will make life easier for everyone in your household and once your dog has mastered the sit command you can move onto more advanved commands. For easy-to-follow instructions on dog training techniques and canine behavior check out the Secrets to Dog Training. It’s a comprehensive A-Z manual on all dog issues and easy-to-use training techniques.

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Keith Byrne

Keith Byrne

From an early age Keith has been around dogs. He has been involved in dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting and dog showing as well as voluntary work in animal shelters. His aim is to help all dog owners especially newbies learn about dogs and care for them in a loving, caring and fun way.


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