How To Train Your Dog To Sit On Command

Filed in Dog Training on February 10, 2020

Dog sitting in order to get a treat when learning how to sit on commandWant to learn how to train your dog to sit on command! You’ve come to the right place.

When it comes to teaching a person how to do something, it certainly seems difficult. At times it can feel overwhelming.

Have you ever wondered why that is? It’s because humans have a very academic way of learning and teaching things.

However, when working with dogs, you’ll learn they are motivated by pleasing their owner and by the possibility of receiving food. Not necessarily in that order.

Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, you can! It’s actually quite easy to train your dog with our tips and tricks. 

Training Methods

With the traditional, older methods of teaching dogs tricks, people historically used a ‘praise and punishment’ type of approach. While their dog may have learned new tricks, it led to other detrimental results. For example, a dog trained with these methods tended to learn how to be fearful as well. Unfortunately, this had a tendency to make for neurotic dogs, or at the very least, confused dogs. And almost certainly hesitant dogs.

papillon dog excited by dog toysMotivated Learning

With the newer, more effective training processes that rely on understanding what motivates a pooch, most people will end up with a much calmer, happier dog. This is particularly true when coupled with positive reinforcement. To simplify this, what’s really important is to incorporate those things your dog loves most in this world into your training sessions. These most often include:

  • Praise
  • Yummy food 
  • Attention grabbing toys

Best Training Treats

Here is our list of some of the best stinky, smelly training treats that dogs love:

  • Stewart Pro-Treat Freeze Dried Liver Treats
  • Jiminy’s Cricket Protein Dog Treats
  • Pet ’n Shape Beef Lung Dog Treats
  • Raw Paws Pet Freeze Dried Chicken Hearts

Best Squeaky Toys

Here is our list of some of the best squeaky toys to use during training:

  • Petper Latex Dog Interactive Toys
  • Jalousie Dog Flirt Pole Set Squeaky Toys Plush Toys Dog Teaser Wand
  • Chiwava Squeaky Latex Rubber Dog Toys
  • Lucas b Natural Dog Toys

Tip: Use a clicker to help connect a dog’s positive response with a reward (whether it’s a treat or a toy). 

Get The Most From Motivated Learning Using Positive Reinforcement

Good training sessions always include a bit of psychology. Whenever you are teaching a dog something new it helps to remember that their attention span is at most 15 minutes long. This is why we recommend to:

  • Limit the time of your training sessions to 10 minutes at most. This helps your dog stay engaged and imprints a positive message about the training sessions.
  • Include the things that hold your dog’s attention and use them to motivate your dog – like food and toys.
  • To minimize distractions, start your initial training indoors. But remember that even though you are inside, use a harness/collar and long training leash. This is to get your dog accustomed to these tools for when you hit the great outdoors.
  • Use a training clicker at just the exact right time to let your dog know that they’ve gotten the training right. Always include a treat or their toy concurrently with the clicker to help ingrain the learning.
  • Understand that training happens when your dog has a relaxed mind. This is why it’s always good to exercise your dog prior to a session. However, if your dog is just not into it, don’t push – regroup at a later time.
  • Train one thing at a time, and don’t add on new items until mastered. A dog must repeat a successfully trained element a number of times, without hesitation, over a number of days in order to demonstrate successful comprehension. 
  • Be patient as you are learning too. Remember that training helps you to build a relationship with your dog that’s based on trust. Keeping your dog motivated, happy, and learning, is your goal.

long haired dachshund sitting downHow To Train Your Dog To Sit!

Now that you have the basics for using motivated learning, it’s time to begin. Here is exactly how you can teach your dog to sit with quick and repeated 5- to 10-minute sessions. It’s important to follow the exact order as listed below because this motivated training method relies on a dog’s natural instincts – because it involves food. 

Teach Your Dog To Sit

Sit is an important part of basic training that every dog should learn. Why? Because it helps them learn boundaries, keeps them off of cherished family items, visiting guests, and a whole host of other important things. Not only that, the ‘sit’ command can help keep a dog safe. 

  1. Attention Assurance. It’s important that you have your dog’s attention before you start to train. You can either stand or kneel in-front of your dog. Do this with one of the smelly, tasty treats placed inside of your closed hand. To get your dog’s complete attention, open your hand and show your dog the treat without allowing him/her to take the treat. Close your hand back around the treat once your dog realizes it’s there. Repeat as needed to assure your have your dog’s attention.
  2. Motivated Sniffing to a Sit Position. With your hand that’s closed around the treat, raise it in a smooth motion from your dog’s nose to slightly behind their head. Do this without touching your dog, just keep your closed hand (with the treat) close to your dog’s nose/head as you make this movement. The natural instinct of your dog is to tilt their head up while squatting their behind into a sitting position. 
  3. Reward the Sit. As soon as your dog’s behind reaches the ground say “sit”. Also make sure to click the clicker with your free hand (this hand will also hold the small treat reward). 
  4. Treating. When you say sit, give your dog the small training treat. Do this at the same time – this is very important as it helps to imprint the learning.
  5. Reward. With your dog enjoying the treat, look into their eyes and let them know through words that they are a ‘good boy’ or girl as the case may be. Gentle praise with eye contact is good and helps to increase the trust you are building. It also helps your dog to learn that your praise is as good as a tasty treat.

How To Train Your Dog To Sit Tips: 

  • Keep your closed hand with the treat as close to your dog’s nose and forehead as possible when you move it to the back of their head. It is this closeness that helps to get a dog to naturally lower their rump in a sitting position.
  • For dogs that twirl around towards the treat versus lowering their rump, there is a trick. Place your dog in a corner and repeat the trick. By placing your dog in a corner they won’t be able to twirl around and are much more likely to sit.

Congratulations! 

Learning how to train your dog to sit, or helping your dog learn anything new is really about expanding your knowledge of how your dog learns.

Dogs have a communication system that truly is all their own – and when we tap into their natural instincts, we help them learn using their own language.

Let us know how you build your dog’s confidence during your training sessions – we’d love to hear from you!

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