A Guide to Mastering the ‘SIT’

Mastering the sit is one of the first things most people want to start with. It makes no difference if you are starting from a puppy or taking on an older dog, sit is a great command.  Also, sit can be used as a display of good manners, sitting before food, or waiting at the curbside to cross a road.  

Most Dogs Love Learning

Mastering the sit for some dogs really is puppy play. They pick it up really quickly, others seem more reluctant. But don’t worry high-value treats can be used to get the ball rolling.

It is important to note that once a new command is mastered treats should be reduced and eventually removed altogether.  

As with all commands, the word used must be consistently used by all family members. Just one word is best for commands. Therefore, sit is better than sit down. The use of down is confusing as this is more normally used to indicate wanting your dog to lay down.

Teaching the Sit

Start with a treat in your hand, making it clear to your dog that you have food!  It can help puppies and small breeds to work at their level, so get down on the floor with them.  Holding the treat towards their nose, get their full attention.

Move your hand back over their head, slowly!  This normally creates a situation where the dog follows the treat with their nose. Which means their bottom automatically goes to the floor – it is a clever naturally reaction that you can use to your benefit.  

At the same time you move the treat firmly say ‘Sit’.  No other words or commands as you do not want to create confusion – just ‘Sit’. If the natural mechanism doesn’t kick in, try again a couple of times, using the word sit each time.  If that fails, gently use your other hand to lower the bottom to the floor. 

Don’t Forget to Praise!

Once you have a sit – no matter how brief – praise your dog. Use lots of high pitched excited noise and reward with a treat.  However, never train for more than 5-10 mins with a puppy as they will get bored.

So, repeat a couple of times a day, and you should soon find it becomes automatic.  Train in a distraction-free zone!  Once you have a constant sit, start withdrawing treats, verbal praise is then enough!

Here are some great training treat recommendations – Maddie loves them!

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