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How to Make your Dog Sit Still for Christmas Pictures

Updated on October 25, 2010

A great Christmas picture with my Rottweiler

adry, all rights reserved
adry, all rights reserved

While all you need to do to in order to tell your family members and kids to stand still and smile for a picture is to speak out the word ''Cheese'', what can you do to convince your canine companion to just sit still for a couple of seconds? Some basic obedience and a solid understanding of the word ''stay'' is all is needed to make your canine companion cooperate. This guide will help you capture some of the most memorable pictures including your furry friend.

Step One: Teach your Dog Sit

Mostly all dogs know the sit command, but if your dog does not, it is essential for your dog to learn it. Teaching your dog to sit will come handy in many situation and taking pictures is one of them.  In order to teach your dog to sit, you need to arm yourself with a tasty treat and a bit of patience. 

Stand in front of your dog and take the treat in your hand. Hold it up near the dog's nose but in a way your dog cannot get to it. Now, with the dog focused on the treat,  slowly move your hand with the treat over the dog's head luring the dog to follow it. Pronounce the word ''sit'' as the dog is about to put the bottom on the floor. Once the bottom is on the floor, tell him ''good boy!'' and give the treat. 

Some dogs may feel compelled to jump at the treat rather than sit down. This may be because you are holding the treat too high. Try to hold the treat at nose level. If your dog has difficulty understanding the command and wriggles his way away, you can try to put him in a corner and stay in front of him to keep him more focused on you.

To have a solid sit you must exercise often and ask it gradually in more distracting environments. Start teaching it in a quiet room and then when the dog seems to understand the command start asking it in the yard and then outside while on walks. If your dog is able to sit despite many distractions, you know your dog knows the command well and has developed enough self control to do it outdoors.

Step Two: Teach your Dog to Stay

A dog that knows how to sit must learn to stay if you want a nice Christmas picture. A dog that knows the sit command but doesn't have a clue about the stay command may sit still one second and get up and leave the next. Learning the stay command is a must for memorable pictures.

In order to teach your dog to stay, you must put your dog in a sit. Place yourself in front of your dog and place your hand with the palm open in front of your dog's nose. Pronounce the word ''stay'' and put yourself in front of the dog saying ''stay'' Get back to your dog's side and praise and give treats.

Once your dog stays, go ahead and add more challenges. With the dog besides you in a sit, this time go in front of the dog with your palm open and pronouncing ''stay'' and then step backwards one step and then go back next to your dog, praise your dog and give the treat for staying still in one place. Once your dog understands, go farther steps backwards and make the stay longer and longer. With time, go farther away, add distractions and make the stays longer.

With a solid sit and stay, your dog will sit still as a statue for those great Christmas pictures. Surprise your friends and family, with a very well behaved dog who understands the word ''Cheese''. You are on your way now for great pictures for cherished memories of Christmas get together events. You will never be left with a family picture without your canine companion again.


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    • profile image

      Jalus 7 years ago

      I have a young puppy I have adopted and am not able to get him to sit still for a moment either. I will try your tips - Who knows maybe I can get a picture of him! Thanks!

    • Suki C profile image

      Barbara C 7 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

      Great info here - I am currently trying to teach this to a highly excitable border collie that we've recently recently rescued, it's not easy as she won't stay still for even a second!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Great ideas. Who would have thought to write a hub How to make your dog sit still for Christmas pictures. Great job

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great dog training information. Thanks for sharing.