How to Train a Dog to Sit (In front or beside)

Getting a dog to sit is one of the simplest dog training exercises and can be very achieved very early on in training. The earlier we train dogs to do things, the easier it is generally. Training a puppy to sit can begin again time from around 10-12 weeks.

Technique for sit in front:

  • Call your dog’s name to gain their attention. With your hand, which is containing a small treat, place it in front of the dog’s nose.
  • From a standing position, draw your hand upwards to waist height (your body should be upright).
  • Your dog should naturally assume the sit position as soon as it starts to move into the sit position give the SIT command.
  • Reinforce by giving the dog a small treat.
  • Move your hand back into the position beside your waist.

Technique for sit at the side: 

  • Call your dog’s name to gain their attention.
  • From a standing position with the dog standing on your left side, bring your right hand containing a small food treat across your body in front of the dog’s nose.
  • Draw your hand upwards to waist height directly above the dogs head (your body should be upright).
  • Your dog should naturally assume the sit position as soon as it starts to move into the sit position give the SIT command.
  • Reinforce by giving the dog a small treat.
  • Move your right hand back into the position beside your waist.

This should be repeated over and over. Every time you are in a situation where you want the dog to sit e.g. waiting to cross a road, before they are given a meal, to put their lead on, or to keep them still - always praise them when they do what they are told. Eventually, the dog will sit on command. Do not stop the reward straight away as the dog may start to think – why should I carry on sitting, there’s nothing in it for me! Do not press down on the back or rump of the dog, thus forcing it to sit under pressure. This may achieve a dog sitting for that moment, but it is not a training technique.

So continue to reward for a while. Then gradually reduce the reward. Perhaps reward every second sit, then every fifth sit, then tenth, then randomly. If the dog does not know when the reward is next coming, they will continue to obey in anticipation of the reward.
We can see it from the dog’s point of view – what benefit is it to them to sit down to put their lead on or undergo a physical examination. They may just not see how this benefits them, particularly if their owner gives in the end anyway. So with any of the things we are talking about, the owner must be consistent. Never give in if you want to train your dog effectively.

 

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