When you decide that it is time to start with your dog’s training for obedience, a good point to start with this is teaching your dog how to sit on a command. This is one basic command which is easy to learn and when the dog achieves success with it, this will give your puppy some confidence and will be the foundation for building ahead when learning more complicated commands and skills.
Another positive side of teaching your dog this command is that you will be able to have some control over the dog, especially if your pet is emotional and loving creature and likes jumping up all over your friends when they come to visit you, or when it is trying to slip through the door every time when it opens. So when you apply the “sit” command, you will get the proper behavior you request from your pet.
You need to know that it does not matter that you have just bought the little puppy to your home; you have to start with teaching the dog this command for obedience as soon as it is already at your home. The only thing that you have to be sure of is that your dog is already feeling comfortable with you, and of course with his new environment and that the dog is confident enough to let you touch him and gives you his attention.
There are few basic rules that you have to comply with if you are ready to start training your dog to sit.
– Short sessions. You have to be short, especially if you have a little puppy to train, so do not keep the teaching session for more then five minutes.
– You need to be perfectly clear when you try to explain your dog what do you want from him.
– Do not expect that your dog will miraculously learn the command and that it will remember it for the rest of his life. After all it is up to you to continue with repetitions until you achieve success and you need to often use it after that so that the dog does not forget it.
– There is no need to make a strict program for training, because actually every time is a good time to learn and practice, and it is more successful when it is compiled with some fun or it is under the form of a game like making your dog to sit before throwing him the ball in the park.
– When you make a training session it has to be full of rewards, positive reinforcement and you need to be quite consistent in repeating over and over.
– When teaching this command for obedience, it has to be fun for the dot, do not make it feel like it is an obligation.
– Do not forget to give a reward to your dog from time to time, even though when it already responds your command without a treat.
– It is important to make it easy to succeed the first few times when you start teaching the command which means to do it in a familiar environment and without any other distractions. After some time start making it harder.
There are three basic methods to teach your dog the “sit” command, and there is a quick review of all the three:
1. Rewarding the dog for performing desirable behavior
First, what is important for this method is to start practicing it in a familiar environment for you and most of all for your dog, and avoiding all the possible distractions. One variant is to do it at home, but you need to warn all the members of your family to be aware of the time when you do it, so that there is no loud music, loud voices or any other distracting noises. The other variant is outdoors in a place where you usually walk with your dog, but you need to choose an area that you are sure that there are no rabbits or squirrels jumping on and around the trees.
Second, you need to stay by your dog’s side until he sits. It is important that the dog itself performs the action that is demanded by him and you should not use any other ways to achieve this.
The third important thing when practicing this method is to immediately reward the dog after you use the “sit” command. The positive reinforcement is the leading moment here. You need to be calm, smiling, immediately give the treat when the dog’s bottom touches the ground. You can do that when patting your pet on the head, saying phrases like – Good boy, or Good girl! The best rewards are peanuts, ham or bacon bits, dog’s treats.
The fourth thing here is repeating the action as much as possible. Try to be with your dog and exercise the command for half an hour or one hour doing all the important things mentioned above. You need a lot of practicing while the dog learns to associate the command with the action.
And the fifth step which is final for this method is when you succeed in making the dog sit without giving him a treat. Until he learns that you have to continue practicing with your dog’s favorite treats.
2. The Trick with the Treat
The first step here is to make you dog see and hear you clearly. You can achieve that by standing right in front of him, so that he can face you and be focused on you.
When you have your dog’s attention, the second step is to show him the treat. You can do this by waving it closely in front of the dog’s nose so that he gets really curious what is that thing that you are holding in your hand and then is the time when you have his full attention.
The third step is a bit difficult but may be most important for learning the action. While holding the treat you need to move it to the back of the head of your dog. In such a way he will look up to follow the treat and this will make him sit on the ground. It is important here to keep the treat close so that the dog is not able to jump and at the same time not so close that the dog is not able to get the treat from your hand, so if it is necessary you can keep it in your fist.
Four, you need to say “sit” immediately when the dog’s bottom touches the ground.
Five, do not forget to give him the treat right away when the dog sits.
Six, praise you dog additionally with a treat or a nice verbal phrase when he does any movement that resembles the action of sitting.
Seven, with one of the commands “release” or “free”, you have to release the dog from the sit position.
And the last thing that you need to know for this method is that the dog is getting bored really quickly, so do not try to teach him for more then ten minutes. You can continue with your training on the next day and repeat the action over and over again until your dog is able to sit without the need to give him a treat.
This is the thing that is important to be achieved here. First you need to teach your dog to sit by giving him a reward under the form of treat. But you need to gradually reduce that. To achieve this, the second step is to do exactly the same procedure as it is described above, but without holding a treat in your hand. You just hold the hand in a fist, and the treat is in your pocket. The dog receives the treat of course, when you get the desired behavior, but you take the treat out of your pocket without your dog noticing that.
After that you need to gradually lessen the amounts of movements that you do with your hand. And the last step here is anticipation; you need to get your dog the cue before he gets too excited.
3. Physical Guidance is the Third Method
First, use the leash so that your dog stays at one place, because you need him to stay still so that you could teach him. Using the leash is a good method for older dogs so that you can make them stand by your side. You should not hold the leash too tight so that you do not make your dog feels uncomfortable.
Second, with the help of your hand, you can gently push your dog’s bottom, showing him the action that is expected from him to do. Remember that you should never force your dog, push him too hard or hit him. The only thing that you will achieve with such a negative behavior is that your dog will fear you.
When your dog’s bottom touches the floor, you need to say sit and repeat the word several times while you are still holding the hand on the back of your dog
Then you remove your hand and give the dog a reward. Repeat after that the command and give the dog another treat if he stays in place. If not, repeat the process so that he gets used to associate the action with your command.
The last step is continue practicing the command while the dog is standing. It could take a couple of weeks for a dog that is too emotional, but you should not give up and continue guiding him until he learns how to do this without the need of your guidance. Give him a treat of course each time when the dog shows the proper behavior.
And when you do that, you are finished with learning this command.
I hope that these three methods will be in help for you, when you decide that it is time to start training your dog. If you dog is a family dog, then it is also a good idea that the other members of the family will know how to use these commands. It will be much better for the dog if all the people that he lives with use the same commands so that he does not get confused.