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Prerequisites: none
Verbal cue in English
Verbal cue in German:
"Sitz" [:Siitz]
Andy in 2010


Teaching our dog the "SIT"...


In competitive obedience, there are some trainers that suggest teaching the Sit (and Down) as one of the last things before going to an obedience trial. Their reasoning is based on the observation that most dogs that have learned these commands early on don't show Sit or Down with the speed and enthusiasm that a trial judge would want to see. While I agree with their observation, I don't agree that this is a product of starting to train these behaviors too early. If you read through my Fundamentals chapter, you might remember that I suggested to keep training sessions short and to give your dog a break once he understands what the command means. Don't over-train and always make sure your dog has fun - the result will be a dog that happily follows your commands at all (most) times.


Getting to Sit in a few simple steps:


Step 1

Get your treats and your clicker (in case you use one of those).


Step 2

Make sure your dog can focus exclusively on you and avoid any disturbance.


Step 3

Step calmly in front of your dog with the treat in your hand.


Step 4

In one motion, move your fingers with the treat to his nose so he can smell the treat and continue on to move your finger closely from the tip of his nose over his mouth and head towards his ears. Most dogs will follow your finger's (yummy treat's) movement and get into the Sit position because this allows them to move their head further back than while standing.


Step 5

When your dog sits down, mark the behavior (Click or "Yes"), feed the treat to your dog and praise him. Voila!


Step 6

If you and your dog are doing a good job, he should soon volunteer the sit position without your hand motion so he can get his treat a bit faster. Once he is at that point, you can introduce the spoken Sit command. Speak the Sit command in a friendly and encouraging manner every time your dog starts to get into the sit position.


Step 7

Once your dog understands the spoken command, he will start to go into the Sit position once you say it.



What if ?


Q: What if my dog moves backward instead of sitting down?

A: Try to practice with your dogs back close to a wall, corner or furniture so he can not easily move backwards (leave enough room for him to sit though). Each time your dog tries to take a step back, pull your hand away from him again to elicit him to get closer to you again.


Q: What if my dog does not try to follow the treat?

A: Make sure he is hungry enough - and get a tastier treat!