Basics – Teach a dog to sit

I was out browsing the blogosphere… and learned something…something that I think is fairly basic, isn’t.  Some folks don’t know how to teach a dog to sit.  So I thought, okay… why not do a series on some of the basics of dog training.  Things like sit, come, stay, down, loose leash walking and so forth.

So Let’s start today with the SIT!

When properly taught and executed, the sit command can keep your dog out of trouble and can build up its confidence.

The goal: for the dog to park it’s butt on the floor with it’s head up (preferably looking at you).

How to achieve this goal depends on your methodology.   Since I’m not a clicker trainer, I won’t go there.   Since I’m not a total into force person, I won’t do that either.  I do what works.

Find out what motives your dog.  food?  toy?  verbal praise?  What makes your dog happy?

For my first couple of dogs – food glorious food.  That’s what they wanted the most of.  So for food motivated dogs, take the cookie, call your dog toward you, as they get really close to you start moving the cookie up a bit.  Dog will put it’s butt on the ground as it looks up at the cookie.  Trick to this is don’t move the cookie up too fast or it will encourage the dog to jump up.  Don’t move too slowly or it will be tempted to grab it.  AS SOON AS the dogs butt hits the ground say sit, good dog.   give the cookie.   repeat a few times.  🙂

With some dogs you may need to add a slight tap or push on the hind end … don’t get into the habit of doing this, but for some dogs it helps.  🙂

For my current dog, food has to be really really good for there to be solid interest, but a ball…wow mom!!!! it’s a ball!!!!!   can I have it??? can I can I?    So do the ball thing like you would a cookie/food treat.     then do what works for your dog.  for my sassy I would just hand her the ball, I’ve worked with other dogs where they sat, I tossed the ball just a short distance.  YEAH!!   hey…let’s try that again.  🙂

Practice that every where you can, at home, on the street, around children playing, with strange noises going on and so forth.  You want the sit to be a really really reliable command.

Decide what sort of hand signal you want to use with it.  I use my right hand and cup it in a upward motion against my belly.  What way if you can’t talk for some reason but can get your dog’s attention you can still maintain some order if it’s needed.   Others I’ve seen do a hand up in the air.   Figure out what works for you.

Gradually you will want to add some distance.  i.e. call fido to you, then as fido comes say sit!  (yes,  fido will be confused, but hey…fido’s learning, be patient).

Other sites you may find helpful:

  •  pet place
  • essortment, take some of what is said here with a grain of salt, it is NOT necessary to train your dog to sit on your left hand side.  When you are first training, just get your dog to sit.  🙂   afterwards teach your dog to sit in whatever position you ask of him.  Facing you, on your left, on your right, in the middle of a parking lot with you 10 feet away (if there are no cars around to hit him/her) etc.
  • pawprints and purrs
  • Dog sit training

So that will get you started.  It’s just one of the myriad of things that you can teach your dog to do on cue, and that you will ever so helpful.

For a hint on Clicker training a sit, go here.


Dog Dictionary

A doggy dictionary

LEASH: A strap which attaches to your collar, enabling you to lead your person where you want him/her to go.

DOG BED: any soft, clean surface, such as the white bedspread in the guest room or the newly upholstered couch in the living room.

DROOL: Is what you do when your persons have food and you don’t. To do this properly you must sit as close as you can and look sad and let the drool fall to the floor, or better yet, on their laps.

SNIFF: A social custom to use when you greet other dogs. Place your nose as close as you can to the other dog’s rear end and inhale deeply, repeat several times, or until your person makes you stop.

GARBAGE CAN: A container which your neighbours put out once a week to test your ingenuity. You must stand on your hind legs and try to push the lid off with your nose. If you do it right you are rewarded with margarine wrappers to shred, beef bones to consume and mouldy crusts of bread.

BICYCLES: Two-wheeled exercise machines, invented for dogs to control body fat. To get maximum aerobic benefit, you must hide behind a bush and dash out, bark loudly and run alongside for a few yards; the person then swerves and falls into the bushes, and you prance away.

THUNDER: This is a signal that the world is coming to an end. Humans remain amazingly calm during thunderstorms, so it is necessary to warn them of the danger by trembling uncontrollably, panting, rolling your eyes wildly, and following at their heels.

WASTEBASKET: This is a dog toy filled with paper, envelopes, and old candy wrapper. When you get bored, turn over the basket and strew the papers all over the house until your person comes home

SOFAS: Are to dogs like napkins are to people. After eating it is polite to run up and down the front of the sofa and wipe your whiskers clean.

BATH: This is a process by which the humans drench the floor, walls and themselves. You can help by shaking vigorously and frequently.

LEAN: Every good dog’s response to the command “sit!” especially if your person is dressed for an evening out. Incredibly effective before black-tie events.

BUMP: The best way to get your human’s attention when they are drinking a fresh cup of coffee or tea.

GOOSE BUMP: A manoevre to use as a last resort when the Regular Bump doesn’t get the attention you require…..especially effective when combined with The Sniff. See above.

LOVE: Is a feeling of intense affection, given freely and without restriction. The best way you can show your love is to wag your tail. If you’re lucky, a human will love you in return.