Teach Your Dog to Sit

Teach your dog to sit

One of the most important behaviors you can teach your dog is sit. Sitting has many uses; it can replace unwanted behavior and can keep your dog politely at your side. Sitting can also become your dog’s way to say “please” for things he wants. Teaching your dog to sit helps to increase the calm, controlled behavior many pet parents want while decreasing the out-of-control, hyper behavior that many dogs display.

While the benefits of teaching sit are numerous, the methods to get a dog to sit can vary widely. In my training, I use two dog-friendly, efficient and practical ways to teach dogs to sit when asked.

Method One: Capturing

Start with your dog on leash in a non-distracting environment, such as your living room when you’ve settled down on the couch for the evening. Wait for your dog to offer a sit on his own. When he goes into a sit, click or say “good” as his bottom hits the floor and treat immediately after. You may want to give him several treats while he is sitting to encourage staying in that position longer instead of jumping back into a standing position.

If your dog remains in the sitting position, you can tell him it’s all right to get up and move by saying “OK” and tossing a treat out far enough that he has to stand to get it. When he finishes the treat and turns back toward you, once again wait until he goes into a sit and immediately mark it with a click or “good” and a treat.

Once your dog is readily going into a sit with each repetition, add a verbal cue. Say "sit" as his bottom moves toward the floor. As you repeat this, start to give the cue when you anticipate him being about to sit instead of when he's already doing it. Once your dog responds by sitting in response to the cue you have introduced, begin treating only the sits that you asked for and no longer rewarding the ones that were not requested.


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