A dog makes all of its choices based upon the value of the reward it anticipates as a result of that choice. If the behavior is rewarding, the likelihood of choosing that behavior is increased. If the behavior is “not” rewarding, a dog’s likelihood of choosing that behavior is significantly decreased. We reward the behaviors we want with lots of praise & high-quality treats.
“Sit” was the first command we taught Vík, and he picked it up within a few days.
We used chicken bites during our training sessions, which worked well to keep his attention and drive high. I worked with him 3-4 times daily for about 10-15 minutes. Puppies get distracted, bored, or irritated quickly so it is best to do small increments of training each day.
How to Train Your Dog to Sit
- Get your dog’s attention and show her that you have a high-quality treat in your hand.
- Hold the treat just above his or her nose.
- Move the treat back towards your dog’s ears, keeping it close to the side of their head. Most dogs will sit when the treat gets to a certain point.
- The second he/she sits, say “Yes” or “Good Dog” in a super positive and motivating voice.
- Immediately give your dog the treat, followed by more praise and some pets!
- Repeat steps 1-5 until your dog is sitting at the sign of the treat above his/her nose.
- Now you can start to add a cue word. Say your dog’s name followed by the word “Sit” while still holding the treat in the position as before.
- Continue these steps several times, using the word “Sit” each time, gradually phasing out the hand motion, and limiting the treats given each time. Reserve the treats for only the best sits. Always continue to give praise for any obedient sits.
- After your dog has mastered “Sit” within the home, take them out to a park or coffee shop and put the command to the test. This might be a little challenging at first because there will be so many distractions. Stay calm, regain your dog’s focus, and resort back to step one if needed.
- Please continue to give them as much praise as possible; they deserve it!