How Teach a Dog to Sit?

There are a few basic commands that every dog should know. And it doesn’t matter if you are going to compete with your dog or not. One of them is the command “sit”.

Just like the trick “stay”, the command “sit” makes everyday life with your dog much easier. A good mastery of this trick by a dog will be useful in situations such as passing a cyclist, appearing on the horizon of another dog or the visit of guests at home. We can then calm the dog down with one gesture or a word. The dog will not jump and behave restlessly.

Best way to teach your dog to “sit”

How to teach a dog to “sit” with a clicker?

The clicker method allows you to teach your dog the command “sit” without touching and without using force. In the past, one of the most popular ways to learn this trick was to press your dog’s rump to the ground. Remember that any extortion of a dog’s behavior can have the opposite effect. The use of dog treats and a clicker allows you to achieve good results without using force.

Let’s get started

In the beginning, we will teach a dog to sit down properly without giving any commands. We will use a dog snack. Take the snack in your hand and lift it over your dog’s head. The dog should sit down instinctively. As soon as it bends its paws, click and give the dog a treat.
In the first phase of learning the dog may try to perform various strange positions: spin around, jump or lie down on the ground. We shouldn’t worry too much about it.


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We repeat the trials several times. Then practice the same thing, but without food. Guide the dog with an empty hand. When the dog sits down, click. At this stage, we reward the dog only after the command has been executed. After a few attempts, the dog will understand what the task is and will be happy to sit down just to get his favorite treat.

Teach a dog to “sit” with hand signals

In the next step, we will teach a dog how to execute a command for a given gesture. This could be e.g. an open hand gesture.
We stand in front of the dog and show the gesture of leading the dog to the sitting position. When the dog sits down, click and reward.
We train until the moment when the dog executes the command “sit” without guidance, at the sight of an open hand.

Introduction of the word command “sit”

Dogs respond well to gestures and body language than to human voices. However, we want the dog to obey the command on the given word. Therefore, at this moment we introduce the word command “sit”.
Of course, in the beginning, this command means nothing to a dog. However, the dog must associate the word with how it should behave.

So we’re giving the “sit” command. Then we show the gesture of an open hand, with which the dog has already become acquainted. The dog will sit down, of course, and we are giving him the long-awaited reward.

Teach dog to "sit" with clicker
Teach dog to “sit” with clicker

This process is repeated until the moment when the dog associates the command “sit” with the activity of sitting.
If this happens, we can withdraw the auxiliary gesture. A verbal command works well when we are out of sight of the dog.

Command “sit” – distract the dog

Until now, learning has taken place in an environment that the dog knew. He was not affected by any external stimuli. However, our goal is for the dog to perform the command “sit” not only in domestic conditions.

A dog should remain in this position regardless of whether we are talking to someone on a walk, whether a cyclist has just passed by or other dogs have appeared nearby.

A dog should sit still in any strange situation. Of course, not everything will be perfect at the beginning. Distractions should be introduced gradually. So you can jump, walk away for a few steps, talk to another person or do other similar things.

Extension of the command duration

The practice is the most important thing. However, the exercise should not be too tiring for the dog. So it is better to do several shorter sessions than one long one.
We do not require too much from the dog at once. If the dog does not cope with staying when we leave him for a few steps, let’s go back to the stage when we leave for one step.

The duration of the command is extended gradually. At first, we serve the snack immediately, then after a few seconds and so on. Simply lengthen the time from correct execution of the task to giving the reward.

Cancellation of the “sit” command

In the end, when the dog is already sitting long enough, we end the command with a “release” command.
This is a signal to the dog that he has some free time now and can take care of the dog’s affairs.
The “sit” command may also end with another command, e.g. “down”.

What age teach a dog to “sit”?

The “sit” command is the basis of a dog’s upbringing. So this trick is worth practicing with our pet to perfection. It is best to start learning with a puppy, of course. With a young dog, we will achieve the best results.

This does not mean that it is not worth training an adult dog. On the contrary. However, we must be aware that an adult dog may have learned habits over the years, which may simply take more time to change.

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