Teaching Your Dog to Sit

Teaching your dog to sit is not hard and is the foundation for all other commands.  Once you teach your dog to sit, you must teach him to stay until you release him.  Otherwise, he will sit and then bounce right back up.

Put your dog on a leash and have him on your left side.  Take a small piece of a treat he really loves and hold it in front of him until he notices it.  Then slowly move the treat over the dog’s head toward his rear.  As the dog’s nose follows the treat, his hips should move down and touch the ground.  Give the dog the treat and praise him for a good sit.  Repeat four more times then end the training session.

Train three times a day, no more than five repetitions each time, until the dog is sitting on command.  Then wait a second before you give the dog the treat.  Gradually increase the time you wait after the sit to ten seconds.  Always offer praise immediately, however.

Now you are ready to teach the dog to stay.  After the dog sits, put your hand out facing the dog in a “stop” motion and say “stay”.  Wait just a few seconds and then give the dog his release command.  A release command basically tells the dog that he can stop doing whatever you told him to do.  It is important to always give the release command after a stay to tell the dog he can now move.  Most people use a word such as “okay,” “free,” or “release” for their release command.  When you first use it, move forward and the dog will follow you.  Tell him good dog and play with him a bit.  It will not take him long to learn what his release word means.

With the stay, gradually work up to five minutes with your dog.  When he is reliable for that amount of time, you can step a few steps in front of him, facing the dog, while he is staying.  You will probably have to go back to a shorter time such as thirty seconds the first few times you move from beside the dog on a stay.  Gradually increase the time the dog will stay with you standing right in front of him facing him until he will stay five minutes again.

Then gradually increase the distance you stand from your dog while he stays.  Eventually, you want to be able to stand at the end of your leash, facing the dog, for five minutes without your dog moving.  This will take several weeks to accomplish, but is well worth the time and effort it takes.

At this point, you can remove the leash and start varying the distance you stand from your dog while he stays.  Never go more than about six feet from the dog and stay where he can see you.  When the dog is reliable off lead, you have the foundation for all of the subsequent things a good dog needs to know.