April 8, 2012

sunday how-to: teaching your dog to sit

aspen is just about 3 years old now. when we brought her home, we immediately started to teach her the “sit” command. while we decided fairly quickly to bring a dog into our lives, the few weeks before one came home with us were spent researching commands and training tips. damned if we weren’t going to have an obedient dog.

three years later, and while our dog still insists on barking and howling her way through life (i swear, you couldn’t possibly tell she’s a beagle) and only occasionally answering our “come” command, she knows a few tricks and basic training commands like it’s her business.

within a couple of hours aspen could follow the “sit” command with a treat guiding her. by the end of the second days she knew the command just by our hand motion.

here’s how we trained our dog to sit:

Sit command treat 1
1. with a treat in hand, from a standing or lying down position, show the treat to your puppy.

2. slowly guide the treat upwards, and behind your puppy’s head.

3. continue to raise the treat up and back, keeping the treat close to his/her nose/mouth.

Sit command treat 2

4 & 5. encourage your puppy to rise/lower into a sit by keeping the treat close, and your hand up and back.

6. once your puppy is in a sitting position, give him/her the treat.

considering we have a beagle, the boy and i found that treats worked best in our dog’s initial training. however, it’s best to wean your dog off of treats, and teach them to follow hand or verbal commands. this makes it easier to control your dog when you’re outdoors or with company. so, once you’ve mastered having your puppy follow the treat, it’s time to teach them the hand command.

luckily, you’ve pretty much already taught your puppy the motion.

Sit command hand 1

1. start with an open palm and a treat in your other hand.

2 & 3. guide your palm up and behind your puppy’s head, pulling them slowly upwards.

Sit command hand 2

4, 5 & 6. keep guiding your hand up and back, until your puppy is in the sitting position. reward with your opposite hand.

the “sit” command is probably the simplest, and yet most vital command you can teach your puppy. many of the other commands and tricks we’ve taught aspen have all stemmed off of this.

always remember to maintain a calm demeanour, and to keep your patience in check. training a puppy, or dog, can take a while and requires a lot of work and attention. also, remember to reward your puppy in some way, whether with a food treat, some play time, or a load of affection.

cheers, loves!

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