Training your dog to sit can be a difficult process, but can be done easily with the right training technique. It is essential that you teach your dog how to sit first, since this is where the training actually begins. The key to training your dog properly is to train it while it is still a puppy and use positive reinforcement. By using positive training techniques such as treats, praise, toys, or games, your dog will learn to respond to your commands quickly and easily. If you do not have time to train your dog, then using a clicker training method is an alternative option.
During the training process, you will teach your dog how to sit by establishing a hierarchy in your home. This means that your dog must learn to sit before it gets privileges such as eating meals, being allowed out of the house, and having its own water bowl. By using a clicker or other positive-based training method, your dog will be taught how to respond to a click and be rewarded immediately. It is also important that when you train your dog to sit on command, you are not giving him a treat or reward for simply sitting down, because this method is extremely confusing to dogs. Instead, reward your dog with something he likes to do, such as hugs, treats, or even attention from you.
One of the most effective training techniques to train your dog to sit is called the “down and stay” technique. To do this, you begin by standing in front of your dog, then holding a treat in your other hand. You begin by asking your dog to sit down, then lowering your dog into the sitting position. As your dog sits, you say “down” and in response your dog will lower his body to the floor, followed by a click in his head. Repeat this exercise 20 times, and then ask him to stand.
Another useful technique to train the dog to sit is the “stay” or “stay and sit” technique. For this training technique, you and your dog must remain relatively motionless. You begin by having your dog sit, then ask him to sit again. As he sits down, you say “stay” and in response he will stay down. Continue this pattern up to a maximum of one repetition, with your dog obeying your commands.
A dog may also learn to obey your command to “sit” by responding to your submissive behavior. Dogs love to please their owners, so it is very likely that your dog will exhibit signs of submission as he responds to your command to “sit.” For instance, if you instruct your dog to “sit” and your dog lunges forward, he is learning to greet you by standing in place. He is aware that if he were to jump or move in any way that you would reprimand him and/or get angry with him.
In this manner, your dog is learning to act in a manner congruent with you. Some dogs have more difficult sit commands than others. Some dogs will simply not sit still and some dogs cannot sit without moving their buttocks forward toward your body. For these dogs, it may be necessary to exercise more control over them. You can ease your dog into acting more appropriately by having him sit on command and then asking him to “sit” again.
Another important thing to remember when using this training technique to train the dog to sit is that your dog must be able to distinguish between his body actions and the sound of your voice. This means that if you are talking to your dog while he is sitting down, he has to be able to hear your voice. To test this, say “sit” while your dog is sitting down, and if he hears your voice, he must sit. Your dog is learning to associate your command with the sound of your voice. When he can sit without having you instruct him, you are ready to begin utilizing the sitting-stay-fetch technique to train the dog to sit.
In summary, train your dog to sit by getting him to sit at your command, making sure that his back is straight, and then asking him to sit again when you release him. Praise him generously for obeying your commands. Once your dog understands the connection between the sound of your voice and the feeling of reward associated with sitting, he will be much easier to train in general. If your dog consistently misbehaves in the presence of another dog, you may wish to consult with a professional dog trainer or an authority figure in your dog’s life such as a veterinarian or your dog’s owner.