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How to Teach a Dog the Sit Command

Updated on December 2, 2009

Teach your dog and cat to sit together!

Training a dog to sit is a very basic command that all dog owners should include in their repertoire of tricks. One of its biggest advantages is that it allows the dog to gain composure while allowing the owner to carry out some tasks without the need to worry about the dog romping all around the place. A dog sitting patiently not only learns to stay still, but also learns that good things happen when he stays in a calm and submissive state of mind.

For instance, a dog can be put in a sit while the owner puts the leash on or when its food bowl is filled. This teaches the dog that in order to earn that walk he loves so much or that tasty portion of kibble, he must sit patiently and wait until he is released from his sit. A sit is a very important command and it may come as a surprise for new dog owners that it can be even taught in puppies as young as eight weeks old. Best of all, a sit creates a great opportunity for catching many great pictures of a life time!

How to Train a Dog to Sit

~Choose a Quiet Setting

One of the most important factors to keep in mind, is that a dog needs to concentrate well in order to learn a command. You cannot teach Rover a trick if you have uncle Bob and his kids over, romping around the place. This would mean putting your poor dog up for failure. instead, try to grant success, by choosing a quiet setting where it is just you and your dog.

~Be Positive and Calm

Your dog senses your energy so you cannot train your dog well if you are angry or upset. Train only when you are positive, calm and determined to teach your dog. He will certainly pick up your emotions and follow through on a positive note. Never scold or resort to physical force to correct your dog. If you are losing your patience try to end the session on a positive note and try another day. Remember; it 's not only about your dog, it is also up to you on providing clear and easy to understand commands. ''A good trainer has well trained dogs.''

~Arm Yourself with Treats

You will need some sort of incentive in order to allow your dog to succeed. most dogs are very food oriented creatures, so the secret is to tickle his taste buds. Arm yourself with some tasty treats, but try to avoid the ordinary ones. Skip his kibble or those pieces of left over bread. Opt instead for high value treats such as cooked hot dog slices, pieces of cheese, strips of cooked chicken, or pieces of streak. A dog trainer's best kept secret? Go for freeze dried liver. Most dogs cannot resist these smelly, mouth watery treats!

~Teach the Command

A dog learns how to sit by letting him focus on a treat. Call your dog to yourself, show the dog the treat and then position it right on top of his nose saying the word ''sit''. In order to get the treat at this level, your dog will very likely be forced to engage in a natural sit. If your dog jumps up to get the treat, you are keeping it too high. Once the dog sits, praise lavishly and drop the treat so he can eat it.

~Repeat Often

In order for a command to stick in a dog's mind, the command needs to be repeated often. At first, do not expect him to respond to your command right away. It is normal to have a bit of ups and downs at first. But with repetition, sooner than later your dog will learn to put two plus two together and will learn the trick. Puppies may have a hard time focusing at times, but most will get the command after they learn how many treats will follow.

~Wean the Treats

It is important at some point to start weaning the treats unless you want your dog to put on some weight. Start giving treats sparingly and replacing them with a pat on the head and some praise. Occasionally, give a treat every now and then as a thank you note. Most dogs are attention seekers and the praise will make him happy. As for the treats, the dog's may feel like if they were playing the lottery : every once and a while, they will strike a win and get their favorite foods.

~Add Challenges

Remember how you started teaching your dog the sit command in a quite room? As the dog starts learning the command well, you want to add challenges by asking him to sit in more and more distracting environments. Of course, if you have a small puppy, this may be asking too much, but if your dog is an older puppy or an adult dog, asking to sit in front of distractions allows a great opportunity for some advanced training. Start by exercising in your yard, then with friends around, then on a walk, then on a busy street and graduate by hsving your dog sit at high distraction areas like a dog park.


Often one of the biggest mistake first time dog owners make is that they forget to release their dog from a sit. For instance, a dog is told to sit and then he is left on his own. Try instead to release him so he knows when the sit command ends. For example, you tell your dog to sit so that you can take a pretty picture. Your dog sits, you take the picture and then your dog is left there sitting clueless for a few seconds. Release your dog by calling him to you, or by telling him something like ''You're done''. This will add valuable structure to your training and will it easier to teach more advanced commands like ''lay down and stay''.

As seen, teaching a dog to sit is quite an easy task. Most dogs are people pleasers, attention seekers and eager food eaters, so the motivation is basically there, all they need is your guidance, patience and lots of praise.


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    • Queendenise35 profile image

      Denise Swoveland 8 years ago from Defiance,Ohio


      As a dog lover, your article is informational and fun.

      Good job on your article.

      from Queendenise35