How to Teach Your Dog: Sit

Sitting is a behavior most dogs do anyway. Hence, it is fairly simple to have this behavior on cue. All we have to do is tell the dog that a treat is coming if he/she sits.

  1. Prepare in advance a clicker and some highly reinforcing treats.
  2. Stand in front of your dog and hold a treat. Don’t do anything. Let the dog explore and try various behaviors.
  3. If the dog jumps at you, ignore it. if the dog barks at you, ignore it. Basically, ignore all behaviors and wait for the dog to sit. Most dogs will sit sooner rather than later and when they do, make sure you notice it and click while they are sitting and not after they are already in the sit position. If the dog does not sit, we can help him/her by moving the treat up over his/her head and moving it a little backward. This should cause the dog to sit, click, and treat.
  4. Repeat step 3 several times and fast. After the dog sat and got his/her treat, move a step back quickly. The dog is likely to come to you when he/she sits again, click and treat.
  5. When the dog is reliable at performing the “sit”, start saying the word “sit” while he/she is sitting. Gradually, say the word earlier in the process of sitting until you actually say it before the dog is sitting.
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