How to teach your puppy to sit
One of the first and easiest commands to teach a puppy to do, is to “Sit” on command. Learning to sit on command is the basis of many other commands including ‘stay’ and ‘drop’. Once your puppy has learnt this basic skill, she can go on to learn her next command. Follow the steps outlined below and your puppy will learn her first command of “Sit” in no time.
Steps to teach your puppy to sit
- First be sure to have some of your puppy’s favourite treats on hand. If your puppy is a Puggle or Beagle that is highly motivated by food, you can just use some of their usual meal as a treat. If you don’t know what it is that your puppy likes to eat most or if they have a low food drive such as many Cavoodles and Japanese Spitz, use very small pieces of ham or liver treats as few dogs can resist these. It is a good idea to use very small pieces so you don’t fill your puppy up before the lesson is over.
- Make sure you have your puppy’s full attention (or at least as full as you can!) and try to minimise the number of distractions.
- Hold a small piece of the treat between your forefinger and your thumb so that only a small part of the treat is visible at the tips of your finger and thumb. (Your puppy will know where the treat is with her excellent sense of smell)
- When your puppy comes close to you, hold the treat just over her nose and say “Sit”.
- Move your hand forward so that the treat is almost directly over your puppy’s head. This is to cause your puppy to look up at the treat, while at the same time she will have to sit down to reach it. You can also push the treat toward your puppy’s nose but just a little higher to again cause your puppy to look up and sit down to get to the treat.
- The instant her bottom hits the floor, praise her excitedly with your high, “excited” voice and let her take the treat.
- Repeat as often as possible in the first week of practice to reinforce the newly learnt command and always say the word “Sit” as she starts to sit down.
- Your puppy will also recognise your hand gesture as you say the word “sit”, so you will teach your new puppy to sit on voice command as well as a hand gesture.
- Remember to treat and praise and then repeat.
Once you are confident that your new puppy has learnt her new command, start to replace the reward of food with praise such as a pat or quick scratch behind the ears. Weaning your puppy off treats as a reward and onto praise and pats alone is important, otherwise your puppy may be less interested in following obedience instructions when she cannot smell food in your hand or pocket.