How to Train a Dog to Sit

How to Train a Dog to Sit

by Scritch

To be well-mannered, all dogs should have a foundation of basic training commands, and of course, one of the most common is ‘sit’. For many, this is the first command they teach to their new dog or puppy, since it’s one of the easiest tricks to teach. It takes a bit of patience, but once it’s mastered, you and your dog will both feel a rewarding sense of accomplishment. 

If your dog or puppy is very hyper and energetic, it’s a good idea to get some of that energy out first before working on training commands. An excitable dog may be easily distracted and have a hard time focusing, resulting in a frustrated trainer (you). When your dog is in a more relaxed (but not sleepy) state of mind, gather your training treats* or clicker to start teaching ‘sit’. 

How to train ‘sit’

It’s easiest to teach this when your dog is in a standing position, so if he is already sitting or lying down, walk away with the treats and he’ll likely stand up to follow you.

  1. Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose.
  2. Say “sit” and raise the treat up and slightly over your dog’s head. He’ll be inclined to follow it with his nose, resulting in either a sit or a few steps backward.
  3. If repeated attempts result in backward steps, gently press down on your pup’s behind to guide him into a sit.
  4. When his bottom hits the floor, immediately offer the treat and verbal praise.

Try to refrain from continuously repeating the command because this will teach your dog not to sit until you’ve said the word several times. If a few moments have passed and your pup hasn’t sat, you can repeat the steps above. Continue to practice for a few minutes at a time and a few times throughout the day over several days to solidify the command. To practice the ‘sit’ command in real life situations, we suggest telling your dog to sit before opening the door to go outside, or before placing his food bowl down.

*Training treats: This term is used to describe any treat that is very enticing to your dog and has been broken into small, pea-sized pieces. Training involves a lot of repetition, therefore a lot of treats, so it’s important to use small pieces so your dog doesn’t quickly get full, and also to prevent weight gain. 

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