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Teach Your Dog to Sit

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Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most basic training exercises. Many people don’t teach their dogs this exercise, and that’s a big mistake. When you teach your dog how to sit properly, you will be able to keep your dog out of trouble and build up its confidence at the same time.

The Procedure

The goal of sitting is for your dog to put its bottom on the floor with its head looking up at you every time you say “sit.” In order to be able to teach this to your dog, it should already know and respond to its name.

Start the exercise in a quiet room. Call your dog by its name and show it a treat that it loves (make sure you have plenty of treats in your pocket). While your dog is standing, show it the treat and hold it close to your dog’s nose. Then, move the treat just above your dog’s head and slowly move your hand (holding the treat) backwards. This should make your dog naturally get into the sit position by bending its legs.


As your dog’s legs are bending say “sit.” The second your dog sits, give it the treat (reward), say “Good dog!” and pet your dog enthusiastically. If your dog doesn’t sit or does something else, don’t give it the treat and try the whole procedure again until your dog gets it right.


Keep repeating this procedure over and over again until your dog has mastered it.


Training Tips

  • Try teaching your dog to sit before its regular mealtime so your dog’s hungry and eager to work for the reward.
  • Avoid confusion by always using the same command word: sit. Don’t confuse your dog by saying “sit down.”
  • Always have the treat ready in your hand to give your dog as a reward – don’t keep it waiting by fumbling around for the treat in your pocket! You must reward your dog the very second it responds to your command by sitting down.
  • Be patient and never get angry with your dog – dogs pick up on their owners’ feelings and won’t have fun if you’re not having fun.
  • It’s best NOT to push your dog down into the sitting position with your hands, even if you’re having trouble getting your dog to sit on command. If you do start pushing the dog down, it might associate this feeling with the actual training and wait for you to push him down to a sitting position in the future. Just keep trying until your dog gets it right on its own.

Related stories:

  • How Guide Dogs Work
  • The Choking Doberman
  • Working Dogs
  • All About Dogs

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