The ‘sit’ command is one of the easiest for your dog to master, and so it is often the first command you teach him. Training should always be a fun experience for both of you. It should be an activity that strengthens the bond between you and cements your status as pack leader in your dog’s mind.
Start by deciding whether or not you want to use treats as reinforcement. Some people do not feel it is necessary and would instead prefer to use positive verbal reinforcement. Both methods will work and they are both equally valid. It’s a matter of personal preference. For purposes of this article, we’ll use the word ‘treat’ but feel free to substitute whichever reward you feel would work best for your dog.
Place your dog on a training lead and stand directly in front of your dog. Hold the treat above the dog’s nose and move your hand slowly towards the back of the dog’s head. His instinct will be to follow your hand and will naturally sit as that is the most comfortable position to do this. As soon as the dog’s butt hits the floor, give him the treat and enthusiastically praise him. It’s a good idea to incorporate the name of the command into the praise as it will reinforce the word as a good thing.
Since dogs communicate mostly through body language and gestures, it’s a good idea to introduce a hand signal. Dogs have an easier time learning hand signals than verbal commands. A commonly used hand signal for sit is to hold your hand out, palm facing up at about the chest level.
Always make sure to end the training session on a good note. The training should be a fun experience that your dog looks forward to.