Written by Senior Editor Peter Gehr
One of the first things everyone wants to teach their new puppy is how to sit. This is surprisingly easy if you follow the two “Ps”, practice and patience. The how to teach a dog to sit on command in 4 easy steps will come easy by staying calm and finding a place without distraction. It’s very important to keep in mind that your dog does not speak any other language other than dog language. In other words, contrary to what a lot of people think, your pet does not speak English. Yes, he/she responds to different commands, but don’t mistake this for actual literal comprehension of English.
I’ve said this before and will repeat it here again; it’s the association to the sound of the word that your dog responds to, not the word itself. As an example, if you approached your dog and said in a loving, kind and gentle tone, “I hate you, I hate you”, chances are your dog will respond with wagging tail and loyal enthusiasm. On the contrary, if you were to approach your dog in a gruff, stern and angry tone and shouted “I love you, I love you!” your dog will probably cringe and turn away thinking you are angry.
In other words, it’s the tone, and the association that your dog interprets.
A dog looks for signs, familiar sounds and body language.
How to Teach a Dog to Sit On Command in 4 Easy Steps
The well-respected and popular dog expert Cesar Millan has the following advice:
The communication and connection we have with our dogs through exercise, discipline, and affection is the foundation for what I call conditioning, or dog training. I like to teach about dog psychology, and I am more concerned about a dog’s overall balance in order to prevent or correct problem behaviors than I am with the dog’s ability to answer basic commands, like sit, stay, come, down, and heel.
Of course those are important behaviors for any domesticated animal to know and obey, but for me, it begins with that foundation – pack leadership. I raise all of the dogs in my pack using energy and body language, touch and simple sounds, in a way that is more in tune with the way dogs communicate naturally. Dogs don’t understand the meaning of “sit” any more than they understand the word “birthday” – we condition them to understand what that sound means to them.
When teaching any new command, it’s important to have your dog’s attention and to stop before you lose their attention. You want to keep them wanting more. If a dog runs away from you and goes to romp around the yard after a training session, you know you’ve done too much. This isn’t the dog saying, “I’m free! Yippee!” This is the dog saying, “I’m over-stimulated.” This is especially true of puppies, which are already in a hyperactive, over-stimulated state. The goal is to move them into a more relaxed, calm, and submissive state through your conditioning and leadership.
Teaching “sit” requires a lot of patience, repetition, and reward. I encourage people to teach “sit” with silence – using energy – before adding a sound, or saying the word “sit.” When the dog sits, reward him with a treat. Each time he repeats the behavior for you, reward with a treat. (For some dogs that don’t respond to food, you can try a toy or a belly rub, but don’t overdo the affection. Remember, this is discipline time!) And then end your session with a success and do the exercise again later.
There are many different techniques for teaching basic commands like “sit.” Some of the trainers I know and respect use what is called “clicker” training, where they make a “click” sound to acknowledge that the dog has done the behavior desired. And then they give the reward. The dog begins to associate the sound with a treat, and when they do something that gets a “click,” they want to keep doing it over and over again. Think about it as though the clicker is a camera, and you’re “capturing” a wanted behavior. (Original article here)
Step one: With a treat in hand, move your hand over the dog’s nose and head. Be sure not to hold it too high and avoid the dog jumping for the treat.
Step two: Repeat this motion as many times as necessary, and this will encourage the dog to raise its head back and arch its back.
Step thee: As you move your hand over the nose, over the head and towards the back of your puppy, he will naturally begin sitting.
Step four: As soon as he sits, say the word “sit” and reward with the treat.
Practice this as much as you need to in order for it to become familiar to the dog, and he will soon learn the association to the word.
Make it fun, and don’t get frustrated. Some dogs pick it up very quickly, and yet others may take some time to get it right. Keep your voice calm, and don’t push your puppy for too long. The best puppy tips on how to teach a dog to sit on command in 4 easy steps will be rewarding for both you and your dog as long as it’s done patiently and in brief training sessions. It’s a form of discipline, so keep the affection to a minimum, but do praise and reward accordingly.