Training your dog is one of the best things you can do to reinforce the bond between you and your pet. It’s fun, both for you and your dog, and it will also make living with your pet much easier. I’ve found that taking time to train your dog on simple commands like sit or lay down can help bring some structure into an otherwise chaotic household. That said, let’s take a look at how to train your dog to sit on command.
Learn the method of positive reinforcement.
There are several methods of training a dog to sit on command, but most experts agree that the most effective way is to use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is simply rewarding your dog for good behavior, and every time they do something you like—like sitting—you should reward them with praise, affection or food.
For example: If you say “Sit!” and your dog sits down right away, give him lots of praise (and maybe even a treat) for doing what he was supposed to do! If he doesn’t sit down at first but does so after repeating yourself once or twice more, giving him some affection may be enough to reinforce the idea that sitting when you say so is what’s expected from him.
Once you’ve done this enough times that your dog understands what “sit” means and responds accordingly when he hears it from someone else (or even himself!), it’s time to move onto Step 2: Teaching Your Dog That Sits Get Rewards
Grab a few treats and your dog’s favorite toy.
You should have the following items ready:
- A few treats. This can be pieces of kibble, four or five small pieces of hot dog, or anything else that your dog likes to eat. If you don’t want to use food, try a favorite toy.
- A clicker and/or verbal marker (“Yes!”). This will help your dog learn when they are doing the right thing and reward them with praise immediately following the click/marker sound.
Now let’s get started!
Give your dog the treat when they sit down.
You should be ready to give your dog a treat when they sit down. As soon as they lower themselves into the sitting position, give them their treat.
Do not wait for your dog to sit down before you give them their treat. When you give treats only after your dog has sat down, it can take forever for them to learn how to do it on command because they have no idea what is happening.
Do not give any other kind of reward or praise when your dog sits down besides the treat itself. The goal here is for them to learn that sitting down is what makes the treat come and nothing else will work instead.
Repetition is key to dog training.
Repetition is key to dog training. It’s not enough that you reward the behavior once, or even make an association between the behavior and its reward. You have to repeat the process so many times that your dog learns how to perform the behavior on command, and then associate it with a reward.
Slowly phase out the treats as rewards.
Now that you’ve started to teach your dog how to sit on command, it’s time to phase out the treats. You may not be able to do this right away and need to work up to it. Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t get it right away—it’s common for dogs who are used only to getting treats in response for doing tricks or commands not to understand that they can still get a reward without being given one immediately.
It may take longer than expected for your dog to grasp this concept, but don’t give up! Just be patient and continue working with him/her until s/he gets it down pat.
Learning to train your dog is both fun and beneficial for you and your pet!
Dogs are smart and can learn new things. You can teach them tricks, like rolling over or playing dead. You can also teach them how to walk on a leash without pulling you around like a ragdoll. By teaching them how to sit, stay and lie down, your dog will be able to remain calm during stressful situations such as going for walks with other dogs or visitors coming into the house.
We hope after reading this article you feel more confident in your ability to train your dog. Remember, repetition is the key to training, so don’t give up if your dog isn’t responding right away! Even if it takes a few tries before they sit down on command, keep trying because eventually they will get it! And once they do learn how to sit on command, you can train them other commands such as “stay” or “fetch.”
Just remember that the best way to get started with any type of training is by making sure they have been properly socialized first so they are comfortable around new people and places.