Training a puppy to sit on command is an important skill for new dog owners to learn, and it is one of the very first things dog owners love to do. We love the intrigue of seeing our new puppy respond to us and it’s common practice not to be too concerned at first about whether the puppy obeys or not. He’s so cute and we just love to watch his reactions, not to be confused with his actions which may become out of control if we don’t get some basic training organised.
It’s pretty obvious that the first action to take in a puppy’s training is to teach him to sit. Not only is it a reasonably simple stance to train him in, but it is also what will be required of him probably ninety-five per cent of the time when doing other training. Unless your puppy knows how to sit correctly you won’t get far with teaching him other skills.
I prefer to call your puppy’s sitting a skill as opposed to a trick which is what I so often hear about teaching a puppy to sit. Sitting is not a trick. When a human sits it is not referred to as a trick, so why refer to your puppy sitting as a trick? Of course, a dog will sit even without being trained, as sitting is a natural habit of both animals and humans.
Training Puppy to Sit On Command
A puppy sitting because he feels like doing that is totally different from a puppy sitting on command. In other words, getting a puppy to act as you want him to comes with training.
As dog owners, we have an absolute purpose for teaching our dogs to sit on command at the stage of their very young puppyhood.
There are multiple times in one 24 hour period that we need to command our puppy to sit.
- It could be due to visitors arriving at the house.
- Maybe someone is about to leave the house.
The last thing we need is for a puppy to bolt through the door into the open backyard or garden. Once outside, the puppy could find a gap in the fence to slither through into the neighbour’s property, possibly causing mayhem. Just imagine if the neighbour’s cat confronts your puppy and scares him to death with her hissing!
As much as this may sound exaggerated you can be sure that experiences such as this are not uncommon, hence the reason for you to promptly teach your puppy to sit.
Find the Right Space for Training Your Puppy to Sit
Before you can start training your puppy he must understand that you are in complete control. It is essential to find a quiet space inside your house where only you and the puppy can be together with no distractions.
Having decided on the space for training your puppy, spend a few minutes quietly talking with the puppy. Do your best to convey a feeling of enjoyment doing some good things together that will make you both happy.
Before you start the training session you will need to have a supply of treats alongside you.
When you have established that the puppy is ready for learning to sit:
- Take a treat in your hand.
- Stand in front of the puppy and make eye contact with him.
- Hold the eye contact for about 5 seconds. Then hold the treat in a position that makes his head go back so that his mouth is facing up toward the treat in your hand. This should cause his rear end to go down towards the floor.
- Now is the time to tell your puppy to sit by simply saying in a positive manner ‘Sit’
- At the same time as you say ‘Sit,’ you may need to gently push the puppy’s lower back down to encourage him to sit.
- When your puppy has his seat on the floor and is actually sitting, give him the treat and tell him how good he is. At the same time, give him a gentle reassuring pat or rub around the back of the neck. Be generous with your praise as your puppy deserves it.
Choose Your Praise Word or Phrase Carefully
You will probably say ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl’. Whatever word or phrase you choose at that first training session is the word or phrase that you will always say when telling your puppy that you are pleased with what he is doing.
Dogs can only take in so many words or phrases. Therefore you need to be sure that what you start with is what you continue with when praising your puppy.
- Having had success with the first time that puppy sits, repeat the action a few more times at this first session
- Keep the session reasonably short as your puppy will lose his attention span if the training goes on for too long
- A few hours later in the same day have another session with the puppy teaching him to sit, exactly as you did at the first session.
- Continue brief sessions until your puppy repeatedly responds to your command to sit.
As we know, puppies and older dogs always want to please their owners. With the correct training, your puppy will quickly learn to sit on command
When you feel confident that puppy is obeying your ‘sit’ command at all times you can then pat yourself on the back. You will have completed the first step in training your puppy to be a well-behaved dog that you can be proud of.
Owning a puppy that will sit on command is the first step in ensuring that your puppy is seen to be a friendly and happy dog that people are pleased to get to know.
Always show love and respect to your puppy – he is always there for you, whatever the circumstance.