How To Train A Puppy To Sit
“Sit” is often one of the first commands that owners teach their new puppy. It’s fairly easy to learn, so even the most rambunctious of pups should be able to master it before too long. It’s not just for fun and games, either, your dog knowing how to sit can be extremely useful. You can ask him to sit to calm him down in exciting situations, to keep safe when crossing the road, and in a range of other scenarios. Although it’s not too taxing a trick for your dog to learn, remember that puppies have short attention spans, so it’s best to keep training sessions short – around 5 minutes or so – to avoid your pooch becoming bored and frustrated. Here’s how to train a puppy to sit.
Let’s face it, the majority of dogs are food motivated to some degree (and aren’t we all?!), so treats are your best friend when teaching your pup to sit. You can also use a little trick of your own to get things started. Hold a treat between your thumb and fingers, like you’re holding a pencil, and keep it about an inch from your pup’s nose. Say “sit” and then move your hand with the treat in it up and over her nose and head. In order to get to this treat, your puppy should stick his nose up, and when he dogs this, his bottom should go down onto the floor. At this point timing is extremely important; as soon as that butt hits the floor, say “yes!” or “good boy” and give him the treat. This will mark the good behavior and let him know that’s what you wanted him to do.
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You won’t always have a treat to hand when your want your pooch to sit, so you need to gradually phase out the treat. Wait until your pup is pretty consistent with sitting when using the method above. Start off by doing exactly as you did before, but with one big difference: don’t hold a treat in the hand that you move over his head. Instead, keep a treat in your pocket or hold it in your other hand. Give the verbal command to sit and do the hand motion. When your puppy sits, praise him and give him the treat from your pocket or other hand.
Going Through the Motions
You’ll also want to phase out the hand motion, so that your puppy will sit when simply given the verbal command. Start off by saying “sit” and then holding your hand out a foot or so from his face. Your pup should get the idea and sit, but if not, move your hand slightly forward toward his snout and head. Like before, as soon as he sits, give him a treat and praise him. Repeat this a few times and then start making an even smaller motion with your hand, so you’re just extending your fingers or holding your palm upward. Then take it one step further so that you simply say “sit” and wait for your dog to react. If you take things slowly, your dog should catch on, but if he doesn’t, simply go back one step and practice for a bit longer.
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Too Many Treats!
If you gave your pup a treat every time he did something good, he’d soon start piling on the pounds. However, if you stop treating him altogether, he’ll have no motivation to obey you. Gradually reduce the amount of treats you give him when he sits, so at first just give him a treat every other time he sits, simply praising him verbally the other time. Then reduce this further, so that he only gets a treat one in four or five times. If you don’t do this, your pup is unlikely to obey you unless he sees a treat ready to go.
Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard, you’ll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.
Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she's not tapping away at the keyboard, you'll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.
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