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How to Train a Dog to Sit

Parashar Joshi May 10, 2019
Training a dog to sit and stay is one of your first responsibilities as a dog owner. If you have tried doing it a number of times without any success whatsoever, then maybe it's the time to see where you are going wrong.
Training a dog to sit is―in most cases―the first and most basic lesson in dog training. As a dog owner, this should be at number one position on your priority list. Other commands, like 'fetch', 'lie down', or 'stand' should follow later.

Dog Training - The "Sit" Command

1. Make sure that your dog is wide awake and attentive before you begin. Waking him from sleep just to teach him this, is a bad idea.
2. Hold a small dog treat in your hand―a dog biscuit, chicken nugget, or any small dog snack will do.
3. Show it to your dog and hold it above his nose so that he can sniff it. He will naturally be tempted to eat it. Do not hold it too high or else his natural reaction would be to jump towards it in an effort to try to grab it. Hold the treat above his head in such a way that he is able to smell it and yet, it remains just out of his reach.
4. Now, slowly move your hand in an arc towards your dog's tail. This will make your dog look upwards vertically in an attempt to follow the motion of your hand. While doing so, he will have no option but to rest on his haunches.
5. Just as you notice that the dog is about to sit, stop your hand motion and say the word "SIT" loudly and firmly―not rudely. Remember to always be firm, but polite in issuing all your commands.
6. Once the dog sits, wait for a couple of seconds. Let him remain still in that position. Only after that should you reward him by giving him the treat. Praise him and pat him for having 'sat well'. This will give him a sense of confidence.
7. Repeat this exercise a couple of times, so as to ensure that your dog becomes familiar with the command and gets the hang of it.
Do not exceed the training session for more than 5 to 7 minutes, as excessive repetitions will make it monotonous and your dog may become unresponsive. It is always better to do this exercise for 5 minutes twice or thrice a day, than doing it once a day for half an hour.
8. Also, when issuing the SIT command, make sure that you say the word 'SIT' only once, and that too, loudly and slowly. Rattling off a series of "SIT doggy, SIT SIT SIT! Why don't you SIT? Come on doggy, SIT SIT SIT!!!" will not help; it will only end up confusing your dog.
9. Teach your dog the SIT command (and all other commands) in one pre-decided language. It helps the dog understand, learn, and obey your commands properly.
10. Use the SIT command in different places such as your home, in the backyard, on the street, etc., so that your dog understands that regardless of where he is, he is supposed to sit.
11. Always reward your dog with an odd treat, during the training phase. Also, it is important that you be patient, calm, and composed. Do not use physical force if the dog is initially unable to understand what you want him to do. He will learn over time and with practice.
All in all, the ultimate tip is to love him, care for him, respect him, and he will be your best friend for life.