The German Pinscher Club of America

     A Member Club of the American Kennel Club




Puppy Training Your Pup To
...Sit On Command


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Sit your dog
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 puppy’s 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 "THAT’S 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 puppy.

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 you’re 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, it’s 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, it’s 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 and then...

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 Doesn’t 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.