To teach your pup to sit, have a treat in your hand, held between your thumb and index finger. The pup should be able to smell the treat but not grab it out of your hand.
First, get the pup’s attention and give him a little taste of the treat. Once he is a willing participant, you are ready to start.
Sit is invaluable for a dog.
- A dog cannot jump up on a person if he is sitting.
- A dog cannot run out of the house or jump out of the car if he is sitting.
- A dog cannot knock over a small child if you ask him to sit instead.
- A dog cannot yank you on the leash while you are chatting with your neighbor if he is sitting.
Try this test with your puppy once he has learned sit and down. Determine if there are any weak spots in your routine by standing in a variety of locations while asking your puppy to sit. Stand in front of your puppy, stand to the right or left. Try it when sitting in a chair, then try lying down and asking the puppy to sit. If you see any inconsistency in the response, this exercise isolates what you need to work on refining.
This is a more vulnerable position for the puppy and he may not down for you as readily as he sits. Be kind and patient.
- Asking your dog to down while you prepare dinner is a good way to keep the dog out from underfoot.
- Asking your dog to down when there are children or fragile elderly people around will ensure that your dog never knocks anyone over or tramples someone.
- A dog that will down for you in a public situation around distractions is usually a very good sign of a dog who is under control. This is a dog who is welcome in many places: your friend’s and family’s home, cottages, outdoor cafes, local businesses.
In much the same way that we start by training puppies indoors with no distractions then add stimuli as the pup grows more accomplished, it is also true for extending the time a puppy can hold a sit or a down.
The goal is to teach the puppy to hold either the down or the sit until further notice. This is not to be confused with Stay cue.
To reach this objective, offer the puppy tiny pieces of treat after treat as he holds the desired position (either sit or down). The timing of these treats is important. Too slow and the pup will lose interest and break or jump to get the treat. Like everything else, start by getting the puppy to hold for a few seconds. Build up the amount of time as you go. Practice this regularly and before you know it, you will have taught your pup to sit and down for extended periods of time! Add distractions as your puppy becomes more accomplished.
- Stand is very useful when you are at the vet, the groomer, or for you to be able to make your way around your dog when you need to.