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Dog Training Tips: How to Teach a Dog to Sit

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Dog Training Tips: How to Teach a Dog to Sit

Sit is one of the basic dog training cues that every dog should know. Not only is it a great foundation for many other behaviors, it is an ideal way to get your dog to focus their attention on you.

What you’ll need:

How to train a dog to sit:

  1. Fill your treat bag with treats so they are readily available as rewards.

  2. While your dog is standing, pinch a treat between your thumb and index finger and hold it in front of your dog’s nose.

  3. When the treat has captured your dog’s attention, raise your hand slowly between their ears to lure their head and nose up and back and their bottom toward the floor.

  4. Immediately say “yes” and reward them with the treat when your puppy or dog’s bottom touches the ground.

  5. Allow your dog to stand again.

  6. Lure your dog into the behavior a few more times by following steps 2-5, saying “yes” and rewarding.

  7. As your dog  starts to catch on to the expected behavior, stop using a treat and simply lure your dog with your hand. Say “sit” before the lure to establish the verbal cue. Continue to say “yes” and treat them when their bottom touches the ground.
  8. As you incorporate your verbal cue, begin using a hand signal to cue the sit behavior. With your palm facing up, raise your hand and say “sit.” Soon, this motion can replace the treat lure.

Reinforcing and practicing the sit cue:

As with everything we teach our dogs, you’ll need to continue to practice so the sit behavior becomes established.

  1. Stand upright with a treat in a hand held at waist level.

  2. As your dog progresses, remove the visual lure and simply ask them using your verbal sit cue and hand signal.

  3. If and when your dog sits on their own, reward them with a few treats (jackpot!), one after another, to really associate and mark the behavior as the right one and increase their chances of replicating the behavior.

  4. Take a break for a few minutes of play followed by some relaxation. Any type of play will help establish the behavior you just worked on. Repeat after their break to see if they can remember the desired behavior

Tips for success:

  • Refrain from repeating your cue word multiple times. Say “sit” or use your visual cue (your hand signal) and simply wait for your dog to perform the behavior.
  • Keep training sessions short, especially with young puppies (1-2 minutes spread throughout the day).
  • Mix up the location where you practice your training cues to allow your dog to focus in different settings and learn how to offer the behavior regardless of the situation.

For more training tips, visit our YouTube channel. For any other questions, contact a Petco trainer at your nearest location.