Making sure your dog has some basic training and will listen to you when needed is essential as a dog owner. Dog training will not only help with your sanity, but it keeps your dog and the people around him safer, too.
A dog that is well trained is less likely to get themselves hurt or into trouble, and the people around your dog are less likely to have a bad experience. What’s more, you will have peace of mind knowing that your dog will respond in situations that are dangerous.
The very first step to a well-trained dog is often the sit command. Dogs, whether they’re puppies or adults, tend to pick up this command quickly and it’s a great way to get the ball rolling on positive, reward-based training.
Today, we’re going to go over how to teach your dog to sit. Remember it’s never too late to attempt training with your dog! Training an older dog is totally possible. And if you haven’t adopted or brought home a dog yet, beginning dog training from day one is definitely the way to go.
How to teach your dog to sit
Teaching your dog to sit is a great place to start, because it also works to get your dogs attention and teach them what training sessions are all about. If training is completely new, get your dog’s attention by giving them a food reward for looking and tuning into you.
Get them motivated
The introduction of a food reward should be enough to cue them in and begin training. If you are training a puppy I recommend using pieces of kibble. Kibble is lower in fat and calories than treats, and they will see it as a reward if they haven’t been exposed to treats yet.
If your dog is picky, or not easily motivated by food, you may need to use traditional dog treats. Another alternative, for puppies and adult dogs alike, is to use human food.
There are a number of human foods that are safe for dogs. Fruits and vegetables work especially well because they are tasty and motivating, but low in calorie.
Steps to teaching a dog to sit
Here’s a rundown of how to approach training your dog to sit:
- Stand in front of your dog and capture their attention
- Hold a treat to your dog’s nose and slowly raise the treat into the air
- As your dog’s nose goes in the air, their bottom will go down
- Immediately use the word sit and give a treat
- If they stand right back up, repeat the process
- When they are starting to get it, you want to work on them staying in their sit
- To do this, once they sit, start quickly handing them treats and repeat the word sit to keep them sitting
- The idea is to teach them to stay sitting, instead of thinking the command is sit and stand right back up
Increase the challenge
As your dog gets better at sitting, you can make the training sessions more challenging. Here are some ways to do that:
- Try to slowly get further away from your dog when you give the command
- Make them wait longer in the command before rewarding them
- Introduce a release word for when they can get out of their sit
- Up the distraction level by practicing their sit around other people or dogs
What to do after they know sit?
Once your dog knows the sit command, they’ve also learned the skill of listening and tuning into you during training sessions. From here, you can build on your dog’s basic commands.
For everyone’s safety, it’s important that your dog knows how to sit, come and stay. These three commands are useful in so many situations.
But why stop there? Half the battle to dog training is getting your dog to learn how to be trained. Once you get the ball rolling, take the same consistent, positive approach to teaching them more skills and commands.
For more detailed information about how to teach other commands like down, pay, go to your place, and actionable advice on how to stop unwanted behaviors, check out our complete Guide for Large Dog Owners.
Looking for more information on dog training?
If you’ve found your way here, I’m guessing you’ve got dog training on the brain. Maybe you’re getting ready to add a puppy or adult dog to your pack? Or maybe you’ve got a dog on your hands that’s driving you up the wall.
Whatever the case may be, we’ve got some awesome articles on the blog to help you train your dog right at home. Everything from basic commands to troubleshooting specific issues!
I’ve got three essential tips for you:
- Make sure your dog is well exercised before starting a training session. It will be so much easier for them to focus and everyone will be less frustrated!
- Keep it positive. This is so important
- Be consistent! Use the same simple phrases each time, and stick with it. Some dogs pick things up quicker than others, but they are all capable!
For more info check out these articles:
- 8 Tips for Training Your Adult Dog
- Crate Training Your Dog
- Your Puppy’s First Day Home: House Training and More!
Listen, you can totally do this! With the right positive approach, all dogs can be trained no matter their age.