How To Teach “Sit”

Sitting is a polite behavior that every dog should know how to perform on cue. A dog that knows how to sit when asked, even in the face of distractions, will be able to greet people politely, will not jump for food, will not rush out of doorways, and will learn to even offer this behavior as a way of saying, “Please”. Dogs who know how to sit on cue are generally more manageable in public.

Here are two simple methods to teach Fido to sit on cue.

Method #1 – Capturing: Every dog knows how to sit. It’s a behavior your dog performs naturally. Your dog sits whenever he’s not standing or lying down. Your job really is to teach him how to do it on cue. One easy way of doing that is to start capturing those moments when he naturally goes into a seated position. The moment you see his rear end touch the floor, mark (either with a clicker or with the verbal marker, “Yes”) and reward him with a tasty treat. In several 5-minute sessions, you may start to see Fido sit over and over again in hopes of earning a mark and treat. When that happens, say, “sit” just before he moves into position and then follow through with a mark and reward. Fido will learn that “sit” always precedes his butt landing on the floor and that he gets a reward every time he completes this task. The next time he hears the word, “sit”, he’ll start to follow the sequence and actually sit for you.

Method #2 – Luring: To teach a dog how to sit on cue using a food lure, start with your dog in a standing position. Take a treat (a.k.a. your lure) to his nose. Wherever the lure goes, your dog’s head should follow, as if it were a magnet. Tilt the lure over his head as if you were drawing it between his eyes. Fido’s head should follow and tilt back as well. With his body’s balance shifting, his rear end should hit the floor. When it does, mark and reward him with the treat in your hand. When you feel with great certainty that Fido will go into a seated position when you lure him, it’s time to add the verbal cue. Say, “Sit”. Pause for 3 to 5 seconds to let him process the cue. Then lure him only if necessary. Fido will learn that “Sit” always precedes his butt landing on the floor and that he gets a reward every time he completes this task. The next time he hears the word, “sit”, he’ll start to follow the sequence and actually sit for you. He will eventually do it even without the help of a lure!

© Give Paw Dog Training LLC 2017