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Dog Clicker Training - Sit Command

Updated on May 8, 2011

Does your dog respond to the clicker and do they like their chosen treats? Good, your dog has made the link between clicker and reward. The next step is to introduce some basic commands.

If you haven't 'charged' your clicker, do it now and make a fuss to get your dog in the mood. Now, the first command that most people teach their dogs is to sit. There are two ways you could start...

  1. Capture the behaviour - This means that you wait for your dog to sit and as soon as their rear end touches the floor you click. It may take some time, though, for your dog to do something. If your dog is up and down like a yo-yo anyway you shouldn't have to wait too long before you can click a sit.
  2. Lure the behaviour: By using this method you initiate the movement or behaviour that you are looking for. With a treat in your hand move it toward their face but take it slowly up and over their ears. The idea is that they will follow the treat with their eyes, then their head and finally move their rear end down. As soon as they do - click!


So you can see that pretty much any movement or position can be got from your dog by getting them to simply follow the smell of a treat. Many people prefer the lure technique as you don't have to wait until the dog decides to do something when they are ready. Remember, you are in charge!

A good tip with this and many other commands is this. Each time your dog sits and you click, throw their treat somewhere else nearby. By doing this your dog has to resume from their position and move. This means that they are able to sit again from a completely different position.

You should practice this 5 - 10 minutes for each session two or three times a day. Pretty soon you see that your dog knows when its clicker time as soon as you go to the draw where clicker is kept or the cupboard where the treats are. They will be ready and waiting for you.

When your dog gets consistent and can sit every time start to replace the lure with a verbal cue. Say the word 'sit' as they sit. After a few sessions your dog will begin to sit when you say the word. It may be that your dog sits but doesn't stay sitting for long. Re-issue the cue when they start to move. Repetition is key for dog clicker training as that is how dogs learn and as you progress you can start to ignore the lazy, slouched sitting position and only click the best posture sits


This photo shows a good sitting position following a verbal cue. You can see the clicker in the trainer's left hand and the dog is alert. He is in the clicker mindset and can't act quick enough for his treat!

Dogs easily recognise single word commands that sound different to each other. So use a firm, strong voice to tell them to "sit" - you are in charge. From here gradually replace the word with a gesture, for example a pointed index finger upwards and in front of you could mean sit. Just as you may expect a flat palm moving downward to be "down" or "lay".

This is probably one of the easiest and quickest commands to teach your dog and is an ideal starting point. Always remember to keep your sessions fun, praise your dog lots and be patient. Your dog will get the idea if you do it right.


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