TEACHING YOUR PUPPY SIT
By Debbie Kaminski
Please read General Training Tips first.
Sit is the easiest of all the obedience commands to teach
because it is a very natural position for the puppy.
Step 1: Introducing the SIT Command
Remember to begin teaching a new command in a quiet location,
preferably a room in your house with the door closed. Begin by
kneeling on the floor beside your puppy while holding several pieces
of food in your hand. With the puppy standing, hold one treat
directly in front of his nose and guide your hand slowly back
towards his rump. Remember to keep it directly in front of his nose.
If you raise your hand too high above the puppys head, he will
jump up to get the treat instead of sitting. As he stretches his
neck upward and back, he will automatically sit to keep his balance.
Right before his rump hits the ground, tell him to SIT. Once he is
sitting, continue to praise and slowly feed him the rest of the
treats in your hand, one by one while repeating phrases that include
the word SIT such as "GOOD SIT" and "THATS A
NICE SIT" to reinforce the command. Then release your puppy
with an "OK" or "FREE" and repeat the exercise.
Practice this twice a day...three or four times each session. By
using food to lure the puppy into a sit position, you are teaching
him what muscles to use in order to sit. Some puppies will resist
when pushed into a position. This only causes frustration to build
and makes training a negative experience for both you and your
Make sure to practice luring your puppy into a sit from all
different positions (standing both on the right and left side of
your puppy and from in front).
Even when youre not officially in "training mode",
you can still reinforce the sit command. Whenever you see your puppy
sitting, tell him "GOOD SIT" to reinforce the SIT command.
After several days, when you believe your puppy is
understanding the SIT command, its time to give the command
BEFORE you show him the food. Tell your puppy to "SIT". If
he does, then praise, treat and release. If your puppy does not sit,
go back to luring him into a sit with food for a few more sessions
before trying again.
Step 2: Training in Different Locations
Once your puppy will sit on command in a quiet room in your
house, its time to move to other locations and to introduce
distractions (see TRAINING LOCATIONS under General Training Tips).
Remember that your puppy may backslide in his training when first
asked to SIT in a new location. If he is having problems, go back to
luring him with a treat. Work your way through the different levels
Step 3: ...Take Away the Food
Once your puppy will sit on command in unfamiliar places with
distractions (Level 4), you can begin to slowly eliminate the use of
treats. As always, begin in a quiet location. First you will ask for
a SIT, then praise, treat and release. Then, ask for two sits before
treating. Continue to praise even though you are not rewarding with
food. Vary the number of times you ask for a sit before giving a
treat. Occasionally, give your puppy a treat on your first command
to sit. The idea is to always keep him guessing so he never knows
which sit command will earn him a treat.
What If He Doesnt Sit?
As you progress in your training, you will sometimes ask your
puppy to SIT and he will not respond. What do you do? In the early
stages of training, when you begin asking him to sit before showing
him the food, you may need to go back to luring him into a sit,
especially if you are working in a new location. If he routinely
sits when asked and for some reason does not respond to your
command, simply tell him "NO" and walk to another part of
your training area and ask him to SIT again. If he sits, praise,
treat and release. He will soon realize that by sitting, he will
earn the treat more quickly.