Training your puppy to sit is often one of the first things you’ll learn in puppy obedience classes. This can be done using the clicker training method, but in this case, I’ll explain to you how you can train your puppy to sit without using the clicker.
Before starting to train your puppy to sit, please be aware of the following…
- The method I’m going to show you is gentle and non-violent. I strongly recommend that you don’t correct or punish your puppy.
- While you’re training your puppy to sit, don’t talk and work completely silently.
- Train your puppy before meals. Training a tired or full puppy is difficult. With the method I’m about to show you, a puppy with an appetite definitely helps.
- Be in a patient and positive mood, otherwise rather postpone the training.
- Train your puppy no longer than 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the watch. Puppies, like children, only have a short attention span. Repeat the training for another 5 minutes later in the day rather than overdoing it.
- Have some tasty treats at hand that you know your puppy is crazy about.
How to Train Your Puppy to Sit
Make yourself comfortable on a chair and show your puppy his favorite treats. Let him smell what you have for him, but don’t as yet give them to him. Closely observe your puppy’s behavior:
- If he sits down by coincidence, immediately give him a small piece of the treat. By small I mean about the size of your thumbnail.
- Hold the next piece in front of and slightly away from him so your puppy is forced to get up.
- Should he sit down again voluntarily, immediately reward him with another small piece.
- If your puppy doesn’t sit down voluntarily, hold a piece of the treat between your fingers so that your puppy can smell, but not get to it. Move the treat slowly and smoothly to his nose and then closely above his head towards his neck. Your puppy will automatically follow the treat with his nose, lifting his head. In most cases the puppy will, for reasons of balance and ease, sit down.
- If he does, immediately give him the treat.
And remember, you must do all this without saying a word.
When you train your puppy to sit, it’s important that you give him the treat the instant that he sits down. This allows him to understand the connection between his sitting down and the reward. Should your puppy not want to sit, patiently repeat the exercise, but only reward success.
When your puppy has understood your hand movement, he’ll freely offer the sit action every time you move the treat from his nose above his head towards his neck. After all, he associates his action with a very positive experience!
Now’s the time that you can train your puppy to sit by introducing the spoken command ‘sit’. Clearly say ‘sit’ and then move your hand with the treat from his nose, above the head towards his neck. Gradually reduce your hand movement until you only have to say ‘sit’ to get the required response. Remember to keep on rewarding him every time and the instance he sits.
If you use this method to train your puppy to sit, you’ll usually get good results within the first few training sessions. Always remember in training your puppy to sit to be patient and positive. It should be fun for both of you!