Wanna teach your dog to SIT?
Below are step-by-step instructions on why and how to teach your dog the SIT command.
What is the SIT command?
The SIT command is when you ask your dog to SIT, and he automatically puts his butt on the ground with his back legs tucked neatly under his belly. The front legs are tall and his head is up. The dog should not be sitting back on his hip or hips. His front legs should be perpendicular to the ground, not reaching out from his chest in an angle. Lastly, his head should not be down sniffing or scouring the ground.
How come he only sits sometimes?
The SIT command is usually the first basic obedience behavior that we teach our dogs. Though most dogs have an idea of what you are asking them to do, they are not consistent with doing it. This is because the instructions we give them are neither consistent nor clear. Remember, dog training needs to be Black & White. So, if the picture of a SIT is your dog sitting up straight with his head up and back legs tucked under his belly, then you should never accept the dog sitting back on his hips or sniffing the ground in a SIT.
Note: Sitting up straight isn’t always comfortable for dogs, so it is ok to teach your dog a RELAX command which allows them to bend some of the rules of the sit, like sitting on their hips or sniffing the ground.
Why teach your dog to SIT?
When you teach your dog to SIT on command, it gives you a simple way to keep your dog in one place. In addition it also helps you increase his ability to stay calm and under control around distractions. This is one of the fundamental behaviors needed to pass the CGC, so make sure you spend enough time working this to make your dog’s SIT and SIT-STAY as reliable as possible. Lastly, the SIT is a good bridge command. It is a good place to start when teaching your dog to DOWN and COME.
How do you teach the SIT command?
Below are three preferred ways to teach a dog to sit. The first is Luring, the second is using the combination of Luring & Leash Pressure, and the third is Pressure.
Part 1 – Capturing the Behavior
Step 1 – Prepare a high value treat. Soft and smelly is a good formula, so try something like cheese, lamb, or steak.
Step 2 – Pick a location to practice with the least amount of distractions like a bathroom or garage.
– Luring –
Step 3a – Place the treat right up to your dog’s nose then slowly bring the treat up and back toward the dog’s rear. As you’re raising the treat up and back give the dog the SIT command. The moment the dog’s butt hits the ground and he is sitting up straight, mark it with a GOOD and pay. Sometimes your dog will just back up using this method. If that’s the case then try the Luring & Leash Pressure.
Note: If the dog sits back on his hips, put the treat back in front of his face, back up a step then slowly lift the treat to your chest. When the dog sits straight, mark it with a GOOD and pay.
Note: If you’ve raised the treat and gone behind the dog’s ears then you’ve gone too far. Place the treat against the dog’s nose and start over.
– Luring & Leash Pressure –
Step 3b – Place the treat right up to your dog’s nose. Slowly bring the treat up and back toward the dog’s rear while adding pressure to the leash going up towards the ceiling. As you’re raising the treat up and back give the dog the SIT command. The moment the dog’s butt hits the ground and he is sitting up straight, mark it with a GOOD and pay.
Note: Be careful not to pull the leash up and back. This will make the dog jump back or remain standing.
– Pressure –
Step 3c – With one hand add a little bit of pressure on the leash going straight up. With the other hand add pressure to your dog’s rear-end pushing down. As you’re adding the pressure, give the SIT command. The moment the dog’s butt hits the ground and he is sitting up straight, mark it with a GOOD and pay.
Step 4 – After you get the dog to SIT, wait a second or two and give your dog the FREE Command. Simply back away and encourage the dog to come forward. This allows you to get the dog standing on all fours so that you can reset him to repeat the SIT.
The FREE Command is when you release your dog from a behavior. The dog is “free” to do whatever he wants. This is important because it let’s allows you to be consistent with your commands. If you don’t release the dog, they should hold the current command until you give them another one.
Step 5 – Next, you want to practice manipulating your dog into a proper SIT for 4-5 consecutive repetitions. Make sure you pay every time he sits correctly.
After getting in some good repetitions, stop and resume training at another time. Aim for 2 – 3 very short training sessions a day. Practice this for 2 – 3 days. Once your dog is performing the SIT reliably, it’s time to fade out the lure and pressure.
Here’s an AUTO SIT video we did for the On-Demand dog walking service ZINGY.
Give these methods a try and if you need any more help training your dog, click the tab on the side to schedule an evaluation. –>