The ‘Sit’ command is often one of the first taught to dogs partly because it is picked up quickly and is simple to teach. Not only is it a novel trick to be able to get your dog to sit when you tell it to, but it is also a useful command to use when crossing busy roads or streets.
Intensive training sessions should only last for around twenty minutes. Take your dog to quiet room, with no other distractions. The best way of getting the results you require from your dog is the quality of your rewards and praise. Whilst it is perfectly possible to reward with toys as praise, small treats will generate interest quicker. At the beginning stages of training you want as much interest from your puppy/dog as possible. With that in mind, treats are recommended for this command.
Teaching the Sit command.
Stuff a treat within your fist and encourage your dog to investigate the treat in your hand. Reward him when he does so.
Do this two or three times until he begins to understand that you have a treat in your hand each time.
While your dog is standing with his nose towards your fist, raise your hand slightly and move it towards the dog. This actions should encourage him to sit, nose still fixated on the treat in your fist. Only say the word ‘Sit’ when his back legs begin to bend and he sits. If he begins to walk backwards you’re moving your hands towards him too much.
After each time he sits, reward with praise (or the clicker) and the treat in your hand. Replace the treat in your hand with a new one and start again.
Eventually, he should start to instantly sit down when the treat comes towards him, instead of backing away. When you think he is ready, keep the treat in view of him and ask him slowly and calmly to ‘Sit.’ If he doesn’t seem to get it, don’t worry, let him smell the treat in your hand and repeat the action of raising your fist towards him to encourage his body to sit.
At some point, the moment will come when he’ll sit sheepishly for the very first time following just your verbal command. At this moment give him considerable praise, and several treats if need be. The success with the command should snowball once he’s worked out how he earns the reward.
Make sure to finish the training on a positive note with petting and praise to encourage your dog to be interested when training sessions take place. They should be a positive and engaging activity.
When teaching commands you are working at the dogs pace, using repetition to help the dog identify what behaviour provides him with a treat. Dog’s are very clever and should soon be able to work out what it is they have to do to be rewarded.
All dogs are intelligent, but you will find that some breeds will pick simple commands up quicker than others.