Learning how to teach your dog to sit is a fundamental behavior that serves as a building block for further training. Not only does it promote good manners, but it also aids in keeping your dog under control. Follow our step-by-step guide and watch our accompanying video to effectively teach your dog this important command.
Step 1 – Introduce Treats
Introducing the Treat Lure Begin by holding a small, aromatic treat in your hand, allowing your dog to sniff it. As they show interest in the treat, gradually raise your hand slightly above their head and towards their back. This motion encourages them to look up and naturally lower their rear end to the floor. Once your dog is in a sitting position, promptly praise them and reward them with the treat.
Step 2 – Practice
Repeat and Reinforce Continuously practice the first step until your dog consistently responds by sitting when lured with the treat. Repetition is key in reinforcing this behavior.
Step 3 – Hand Reward
Transition to Hand Reward Build upon the previous step by continuing to use the treat lure with one hand. However, now reward your dog with a treat from your other hand instead. This helps them associate the behavior of sitting with receiving a reward.
Step 4 – Hand/Voice Signal
Introducing Hand Signal and Voice Cue Now it’s time to eliminate the food lure and instead introduce a hand signal and voice cue. Say “sit” while simultaneously raising your palm to your shoulder. If your dog sits in response to the cue, praise them and provide a reward. Should they not immediately respond, repeat the hand signal. If necessary, revisit steps one and two to reinforce the behavior of sitting.
Step 5 – Voice Cue Only
Transitioning to Voice Cue Only Once your dog is proficient in sitting when prompted by the hand signal and voice cue, it’s time to transition to responding solely to the voice cue. Say “sit,” wait for three seconds, and then provide the hand signal. Praise and reward your dog when they sit in response. Gradually increase the duration between the voice cue and the hand signal in subsequent repetitions.
Step 6 – Phase Out Treats
Phasing Out Treat Rewards Now that your dog understands the “sit” command, begin to reduce the frequency of treat rewards while maintaining praise. Offer treats only for faster sits, while acknowledging slower sits with praise. This encourages your dog to sit promptly upon command. Once your dog consistently responds to the cue, you can further vary reinforcement by giving treats intermittently. However, if the training environment is distracting, continue to reward more frequently. Practice requesting the “sit” position in various locations to generalize the command across different settings in your dog’s daily routine.
By following these steps and maintaining consistency, you can successfully teach your dog to sit on command. Remember to be patient and always reward your dog’s efforts. With time and practice, your dog will master this important behavior, setting the foundation for further training and strengthening your bond with your furry companion.