Teaching a puppy to sit is one of the easiest things to train. Teaching a puppy to sit has many benefits. Some dogs love to jump on visitors, for example. Teaching your puppy to “sit” can make visitor introductions less intrusive. A dog is less likely to run to the door and bark at someone on the other side while in the sitting position.
Very young puppies can learn to sit and it is generally one of the first commands new owners teach their pet because it’s very simple and they pick it up fairly quickly.
Instructions For Teaching “Sit”
- Sit on the floor or in a chair in front of the puppy. Standing while teaching this isn’t ideal as you’ll need to be close to the puppy.
- Hold a treat close to the puppy’s nose and slowly move the treat back, over his head, towards his rear.
- His head will move up to follow the treat and his bottom will lower to the floor.
- Once he is in the sitting position, give him the treat. Sing his praises in an excited and happy voice!
- Repetition is the key and with it, your puppy will learn how to “sit” very quickly. Simply repeat these steps several times per day over the course of a week.
Hold the treat close to his nose, not so high up that he has to stretch or jump for it. The idea is for him to stretch his neck (and his hiney) backwards. Each time his bottom touches the floor, reward him with praise and a treat. Do this even if he needed your help to get into the sitting position.
If the puppy does not sit when you’ve moved the treat slowly above his head towards his rear, gently push his butt down to the ground while moving the treat backwards.
Remember to practice multiple times a day and many dogs will learn this basic command within 24 hours. I’ve personally had dogs learn to sit within an hour though they will easily forget unless they are reminded often.
A great time to practice the sit command, once your dog has the general idea, is at feeding time. Ask your puppy to “sit” while you fill his bowl. Remember to praise him every time!
Give the sit command in various situations in various locations so that he learns to begin to ignore distractions. Give the sit command inside, outside, alone, and with company, etc.
Once your puppy has learned the sit command, give him a week or so of practice to master it before you introduce new commands. Often, we try to introduce new words and expectations to our pets and they become overwhelmed and confused. They are much more attentive and willing to learn when they have gained confidence in each new trick.
Remember that spanking or hitting your dog will not cause him to do what you want. Your dog will learn to dread the process of learning the trick and will be more focused on your attitude than learning.