How to train your dog to sit in 4 easy steps

by Alexandra Madani

Training your dog to sit is an essential obedience command that should be taught from a very early age. Training should start from the day you bring your dog home, I started training my Black Labrador, Theodore when he was just 8 weeks old…

Theodore sitting at 8 weeks old

Training your dog not only improves the obedience of your dog but training stimulates your dogs brain and stimulating your dog daily, both mentally and physically can have many benefits, probably the most significant benefit being that bad behaviour will be reduced if not completely banished! Being a naughty Labrador, it took Theodore a while to stop chewing through cables and gnawing on every wooden object in the house, but we finally got there!

Before you start a training session with your dog, take him out for a walk to get rid of any excess energy. If you have a young puppy who can’t go out for long walks, let him run around for 10 minutes or so before you begin. Theodore had an obsession for tennis balls so we used to play fetch in the hall before I started a training session.

How to train your dog to sit

Step 1:
Stand in front of your dog holding a small training treat right near your dog’s nose, just out of his reach.

Step 2:
Slowly move the treat over your dog’s head and toward his tail. Say your dog’s name, and give the command “Sit”, and use a hand gesture with your free hand. (I use an upward beak hand gesture by cupping my hand and touching my thumb with my middle finger. I start by having my hand vertical so the tips of my fingers are almost pointing at my dog and as I say ‘sit’ I raise my hand so my fingers point to the ceiling.) You can choose any hand gesture that works best for you but please keep it consistent! Eventually your dog will associate the hand gesture with the movement of sitting and you can slowly stop using vocal command.

Step 3:
Keep the treat at nose level. If the treat is held too high, the dog will jump. Say the word “good boy/girl” at the exact second the dog sits.

Step 4:
Praise abundantly and give your dog a treat for any movement that resembles the sit position. Repeat a few times but always finish training on a positive note. Remember to do this a couple of times per day until your dog has it mastered! Make training sessions a positive experience for you and your dog and make them short and often, I found about 7-10 minutes was more than enough time when teaching Theodore.

How to Train your dog to sit

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