How To Teach Your Dog To Sit

Teaching your puppy to sit on command will have your friends swooning at how cute and clever your new puppy is in no time. Teaching to sit is usually where the whole training experience starts, and that’s because it’s so easy to teach and a great stepping stone for future commands.


Dog training Shiba Inu sit command
A Shiba Inu being taught the "sit" command

Dogs are very observant and extremely perceptive to sound and body language. Remember to reward your dog immediately after a correct response with lots of verbal praise and a small treat. Your dog will learn very quickly if the response is rewarded every time. Gradually decrease the number of times you reward him, but never stop entirely otherwise the good behavior may be forgotten.

  • Begin by standing in front of your dog, looking at him and calling the command “Sit!” You will now need to guide your dog into the correct position with the aid of a treat.

  • With one hand, hold a treat about an inch from of your dog’s nose and slowly move it towards the back of his head. If you hold the treat too far from your dog’s nose he might jump up. When he follows the scent of the treat with his nose, he will be forced to sit.

  • As soon as he sits, immediately reward him with the treat and some verbal praise.

  • Encourage your dog to stand up by slowly moving backwards, and then repeat this process until your dog can follow these steps without hesitation.

  • Once your dog has learnt this process, gradually stop using the treat to guide his head back, just use an empty hand. Keep the treat behind your back in the other hand so that you can reward him when he sits.

A Dalmatian that has been taught to sit on command
A Dalmatian that has been taught to sit on command

  • When he is used to following an empty hand, begin to ease off with the hand. Start with your hand further away from your dog’s nose and keep it in the same position. If your dog doesn’t sit at first you may need to run through the previous stage again.

  • Repeat this step until your dog will sit in response to the command “Sit”, and without you having to move your hand at all. Replace any hand movement with the correct hand signal if you prefer to use a hand command over a voice command. Place your hand in front of your dog with your palm facing towards him. Use the hand signal whenever you use the verbal command “Sit” and he will begin to learn to respond correctly to your hand signal alone. Don’t forget to reward your dog with a treat and praise every time he sits until he can do it without hesitating, then you can reward him every few times.

  • Now that your dog will follow this command, try putting the treat somewhere he can see it, but not in your hand. You can place it on the floor, a table or the kitchen worktop.

  • This will teach your dog to wait for his treat, and will prevent him from becoming reliant on a reward to perform a command. Don’t allow him to take the treat from where you have placed it, simply pick it up and give it to him once he sits.

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