Sit is one of the most important commands that you can teach your puppy, as you can use the command in a multitude of different situations to control your puppy’s behavior. When your puppy learns how to sit, they will be learning how to give you their full attention, which means that you can use it to lead into another command, or simply to ask as a way to distract your dog from danger. Many dog trainers will tell you that the most important reason for your puppy to learn the sit command is for safety – because if your puppy is about to run across the road, the sit command can avoid potential disaster.
Luckily, training your puppy to sit is a relatively easy thing to do, because it is already a natural position, the only thing that you really have to teach is the command when to sit.
Unlike cats, dogs are unable to flex their spines which means that when they need to look upwards past a certain point, they need to be sitting to be able to do so. Because of this there are two separate methods that you can use to teach your dog the sit command.
Call you dog to come to you, and make sure that it is standing facing you, so that you can look each other in the eye. When you first start training your puppy to use the sit command, it’s best if you can crouch down so that you can obtain better eye contact. By doing this, you can ensure that you have your puppy’s attention, making the training much easier.
Next, you need to tell your puppy to sit. Still looking them in the eye, firmly say ‘Sit!’ in a strong, controlled voice. At the same time, push gently down on your puppy’s back legs to make them sit. Some dogs are resilient to this method, in which case you can use the alternative.
Again, using a controlled voice and maintaining eye contact, firmly say ‘Sit!’. This time, have a small piece of food or treat, and hold it just above your puppy’s nose, slowly raising it back and over their head, and they will naturally sit to follow the food.
Remember that each time your puppy follows the command; you need to shower them with praise. Use an excited voice and tell them ‘good dog!’, ‘clever boy!’ and give them pats and hugs. You can opt to use treats as praise, but be sure not to do this every time, as you can risk your dog becoming over weight.
When training your puppy, take only a small timeframe of five or ten minutes, as any longer and your dog will begin to lose interest in training. Shorter, frequent bursts are a far more effective form of training than intensive lengthy sessions.
Continue practicing with this method while gradually reducing the rewards, and your puppy will soon associate ‘Sit!’ with meaning that they need to sit down and pay attention.