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How to train your dog to sit

Basic tips to teach your pup an important command

When it comes to our pups, they can often be a handful to control. While it’s easy enough to get them running around and fetching, getting them to sit still can be a bit more of a challenge!

Teaching your dog how to sit is a great first step in basic dog obedience and is a great way to bond with your pet. There’s nothing scarier than your dog darting onto the road to chase a car. Teaching basic obedience means more opportunity to explore and socialise with your pup, knowing they’re safe under your command.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Yang

‘Treat’ them right


It doesn’t take much to please our furry friends. Like any dog owner will know, treats are a great way to keep your pup’s tail wagging. Dogs learn best when there’s some kind of reward involved.

Training your dog in a positive, happy environment is the best way for them to learn. Think of it a bit like doggy bribery. When they begin to associate treats with good behaviour, they’re more likely to keep doing it.

Try to establish a system of reward for your pup’s good behaviour, though bear in mind not to over-reward them. Too many treats can over-stimulate a dog and create a dependency on food - it’s all about balance!

Treats don’t always have to be food. Try rewarding your pup with a toy or even a simple belly rub!

How to teach your dog to sit

  1. Get their attention. Let them know you’ve got a tasty treat in your hand.
  2. Once you’ve gotten their attention, hold the treat just above their nose and repeat clearly their name and the command “sit”.
  3. Move the treat towards the back of your dog’s head and when they’re able to sit still, give them the reward.
  4. Repeat this 5 to 6 times so they can start to learn.

Click your way to success


For some dog owners, “clicker training” can be another good way to teach your dog to sit. When dogs respond to commands, they’re listening to sounds rather than words. As much as we want, we can’t train our pups to understand English. Clicker training is a way to communicate with them in a language they’ll understand.

This technique simplifies the “sit” command to a “click.”. It works by using a “clicking” device when your dog does something good and then rewarding them with a treat. The dog then associates the clicking sound with a reward.

As Cesar Milan says, think of it like a camera that’s “capturing” good behaviour. Dog’s respond really well to sound commands so by simplifying it into a click, it can help speed up the learning process!

Be patient


Training your dog to sit can take time - the important thing is to be patient! Remember, you’re both learning something new. It may take a bit of practice but stick at it!

It can be a challenge when your dog won’t listen, but getting angry and yelling won’t help. You don’t want your pup to be afraid of you. It’s all about building trust. When it comes to training your dog, positive reinforcement is the best way to go. While it can be frustrating at times, try to remain calm. The best environment for a dog to learn is a positive one.

Even with the most basic commands, your dog will need time and repetition to learn. Five to ten minutes of training a few times a day for a couple weeks will help your dog learn basic command skills without overwhelming them.

As frustrating as it can get with an excited pup, it’s important for you not to lose your cool! Learning to train your dog is all about bonding. It’s a way to create a new language between you and your pet.