More than just a parlour trick, teaching your dog to sit is a great way to affirm your position as pack leader and is useful in keeping your dog out of potential trouble.
Teaching your dog to sit is very easy. Just remember the dog doesn’t understand the word itself and won’t get it until you have demonstrated a few times.
1) Grab a treat to get your dogs attention. Stand in front of your dog and hold the treat out of reach.
2) Tell your dog in a firm, clear tone sit. Straight away, move the treat back over your dogs head, keeping it two or three inches above them. As they lean back to follow the treat they will only be able to tilt their head back so far before they naturally need to sit to follow the treat further.
If your dog backs away to follow the treat instead, do the same while standing to the side. As you move the treat back over their head use your other hand to hold their rear-end in place. Don’t force their rear-end to the ground, just stop them from backing up and if they half sit you can give them a gentle push to complete it.
3) Once your dog is sitting, immediately give them the treat and praise. It’s critical the treat/praise follow immediately after they complete the command so they associate the action with the reward.
Once they’re getting the hang of it extend the reward interval to every second sit, then third, fourth and so on.
If using your hand to help control your dogs rear-end, remember your aim is to get the dog to sit of their own accord, not to push them down. You’re hand should only be preventing the dog from moving backwards, or at most encouraging them to complete the sit if they’re not quite there.
You’re trying to teach the dog that when they sit on command, they will receive a treat. Work = reward. Otherwise you’re just pushing them to the ground then feeding them.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article teaching your dog to sit is more than just a trick. Making your dog sit and stay before each meal is great for reminding them each day you’re top of the pecking order.
For their safety you can teach your dog to sit every time before crossing the road, or issue the command to stop them in their tracks if they start heading for something they shouldn’t.
Most dogs pick up sit pretty quickly, depending on age, willingness and intelligence it can be as little as a dozen goes. Others take longer but don’t worry, they’ll get there.
Keywords: Teach your dog to sit. Teaching your dog the sit command