Teaching Your Dog To ‘Sit’
This week Rosemary and her beautiful assistant Leila will be teaching you one of the best basic commands to teach your pooch, the command to sit.
First of all, a sit is good basic canine manners. If you meet someone you want to talk to, if your dog will sit that means he isn’t jumping up at them. This is really important for people who may be frightened of dogs, children, elderly people — or just when your dog has muddy paws.
- A sit at the side of the road can keep your dog safe. If you ever have to cross roads that are busy and maybe don’t have great pavements, having a dog who won’t bounce around on the end of a lead can be a lifesaver.
- Having a dog who will sit before bounding out of the car on walks or at exciting places is also good manners, saves you having to rugby tackle him, and means you can keep him safe from just bounding out on to the road.
- Having a dog who will sit when you want to put his lead on makes things far easier for you — and saves sprained wrists and broken fingers when trying to hold a collar and a lead and attach the two together.
- Sitting while dinner is being put down is also good manners, saves food and bowl flying everywhere, and also teaches your dog some frustration control — which will be really useful later in your training.
- Most importantly however, a good sit is a simple exercise you can teach your dog, which you can then reward him for. This makes him feel better about you, you feel better about him, and he feels able to positively influence his environment. It will also build the basis for future training.
Step 1 – Pick a high value food reward for your dog
To start off you’ll need to use a food lure as a reward to get your pooch to sit, gradually you’ll be building it up so that your dog is able to sit on command without needing to see a treat at all, but this is stage one.
Rosemary is able to just use normal dry dog kibble as Leila loves it but you may need to use a higher value treat as a reward for your dog. Basically use whatever gets your dog excited, something they’d be willing to (eventually) jump through hoops for!
Step 2 – Lure
Now that you’ve selected a treat that they’ll freak out for, hold it in your hand and show them you have something tasty to offer. Let them have a sniff and then slowly raise your hand over and behind their head and automatically their bum should go down on the ground.
Give them reward when their bottom goes on to the ground.
Now Leila was an extremely well behaved model and you may find that your dog jumps, snips, spins around and gets over excited and wont nail it that quickly. Just be patient, stay calm and preserver with the steps, they’ll get it eventually.
Step 3 – Add a hand cue
One you’ve mastered step 2 you can add a hand queue so that the dog associates the hand gesture with the action of sitting.
Step 4 – Add a vocal cue
When you’ve become comfortable with including the hand cue you can begin to add the vocal cue so that you dog associated the action with the word ‘sit’.
When the dog loses interest don’t push them, just practice for a few minutes at a time so that they stay interested and excited about the activity.