How To Teach a Dog To Sit In a Few Easy Steps
Sitting on cue is one of the most basic tricks you can teach your dog. It forms the foundation for other more advanced dog tricks which you can teach to your pet later on. Different dog trainers can teach you different ways by which you can train your pet dog to sit on command. Here’s how you can simplify the process:
Start by Ensuring a Safe and Distraction-Free Training Environment
Before you start teaching your pet, it is crucial to ensure a safe and distraction-free environment. This is critical since you want the dog to focus only on you. If there are other dogs in the room or other pets, there is a chance that its attention will be on them and not on you. It is also wise to instruct the other members of your household not to disturb you while you are teaching your dog. That also means no cooking around this time. The scent of food is enough to distract the dog.
Observe the 3 ‘Rs’ of Dog Training and Other Rules
Most pet parents have difficulty training their dogs because they do not observe the 3 cardinal rules of canine training. These are the 3 Rs, which stand for Request, Response, and Reward. You first make the request or the verbal command, wait for the dog’s response, and give the reward.
In issuing the request, sometimes your dog will not listen to you. It is not because it is stubborn but it does not understand yet what you are requesting. In such instances, luring it with food or treat works. You can use a yummy cookie to “lure” the dog into doing the desired response.
Always mark the “response” that you get from your dog. Most pet parents will say “yes” in an enthusiastic manner the moment they see the desired action from their dogs. Others will use a clicker. Whatever method you use, make sure to mark the behavior at the right time.
The reward should always come as soon as the dog accomplishes the desired response. If you wait too long, there is no “event” for the dog to associate the reward with. It will get confused as to why you rewarded it. Hence, it is critical that the reward should follow as soon as you see the desired response from your pet.
When it comes to the reward, you can use yummy doggie cookies that you baked yourself. Commercial dog treats work well, too. In addition to these “treats”, always include lavish praises. Your dog will want to feel that you are very happy with what it has accomplished. Make a happy voice whenever you praise your dog.
Teaching Your Dog to Sit on Cue
We know that the correct sequence of training a dog is to issue a request, wait for the dog to accomplish the desired response, and rewarding it as soon as it accomplishes the task. Now, let us put this to work by teaching your dog to sit on cue.
1. Lure with a Yummy Treat
Get a yummy cookie or any other delicious, dog-safe food. Show it to your canine friend but do not let it snatch it from your hand. Allow it to sniff to better entice it. Move the cookie above the canine’s nose. Make sure that it is not too high, otherwise your pet will jump for its treat. Move your hand towards its ears, making sure that the treat is still close to the dog’s head.
Most dogs react by lowering their buttocks to the floor. If yours doesn’t, do not be disheartened. Some dogs will follow the treat by moving backwards. In such cases, move your hand closer to your dog until it sits with its bottom on the floor.
2. Mark the Behavior and Reward the Dog
As soon as your canine pet’s rear end touches the floor, say “yes” or activate your clicker. Some pet parents like to use “good dog” as a behavioral marker. Right after “marking” the behavior, give your canine friend its reward. Do not forget to offer praise and to do it in a very happy and enthusiastic manner. You can also pet it, give it a warm hug, or stroke its coat.
Do several rounds of this maneuver for about 5 minutes. Depending on the attention span of your pet, you can go as long as 10 minutes. Keep in mind that most canines have very short attention span. That is why it is best to observe 5-minute training sessions. Give your pet a break and resume training after about 4 to 5 hours. Practice the above maneuver at least twice a day until your dog is consistent in sitting with the mere gesture of your hand.
4. Introduce the Verbal Cue
By this time, your dog already sits whenever you place your hand above its nose. Introduce the verbal cue. Always include your dog’s name before the verbal cue. Hold out your hand near the dog’s head. Say, “(your dog’s name), sit”. It should lower its rear end to the floor. Once its rear end hits the ground, say “good dog!” or “yes!” Now, give your pet its much-anticipated reward. Do this several times until the animal shows consistency in sitting.
5. Phase Out the Hand Motion Before the Treat
Once the dog is consistent in its response, you can phase out the hand gesture. You still need the treat, though. So, you say “Spot, sit” without the hand gesture. Your dog should be able to sit even without the hand motion. Mark the behavior and reward the dog.
The last stage will be to phase out the treat. Give your canine friend its treat with lesser frequency than before until you can remove it altogether. Keep on praising your pet, regardless.
Teaching your dog to sit on cue is easy. Remember the 3 Rs of dog training and your dog will learn this basic command in a breeze. This will help you teach your pet other more fascinating tricks.