How to teach a puppy to sit in 7 steps

Teaching your puppy to “sit” on command is very important for their well-being. But how to do it quickly and correctly? We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide with tips on how to teach a puppy to sit.

Why is it beneficial to teach a puppy to sit on command?

First of all, the “sit” command is extremely useful in everyday life. It is much easier to put a leash and a collar on a dog when they sit, and your guests are much happier when your pet greets them sitting calmly.

Secondly, on the basis of the “sit” command, we teach the dog to “hold themselves in their paws” and keep calm and sit still in a certain position in a stimuli-saturated environment. For example, when there are people walking or dogs running around.

How to teach a puppy to sit in 7 steps

1) Take a treat, show it to your dog and let them sniff it. Move your hand up and slightly back (between the dog’s ears). The dog will slightly throw back their head and sit down.

2) As soon as the dog sits, give a correct behavior marker word (it may be the word “yes”) and give your dog a treat.

3) You should manage to praise the dog when all 4 paws are on the ground. Otherwise, the dog will try to get their front paws off the ground in an attempt to get the treat.

4) The “sit” command is introduced only when your pup clearly understands what they have to do when you move your hand up and slightly back. That is, they sit.

5) Give the “sit” command, use prompting and praise the dog with a treat.

6) Then prompting is replaced by a gesture and a treat is only given after the dog follows the “sit” command.

7) Then we move to variable reinforcement. That is, we don’t reward the dog for every well-performed action anymore, rather, we start reinforcing every other time the dog performs the command. We reward the dog for the third correct action, for the fifth correct action,  for the first correct action and so on.

What to do if the puppy doesn’t follow the “sit” command

Some dogs, especially of decorative breeds, don’t want to sit. Instead, they try to step back. In this case, we start patting the dog from the neck to the tail, so that the puppy gets used to tactile sensations. Then we put our hand on the dog’s back. We do not put pressure on the dog, we only restrict their ability to move and step back.

August 9, 2020

Join thousands
of happy Dog Parents!