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Train your dog how to sit

One of the simplest commands in your repertoire as a dog owner is the “sit” command.  This is a very useful command, and a great starting point if you’re new to being a pet owner.  Here is how to train your dog to sit when you say the word.  You should find it relatively simple to get your dog to comply, and you can use it as a springboard to teaching other commands.

Start out by showing your dog a small bite-sized treat.  Hold it just above his head so he can see it clearly.  As you lower the treat, bringing it within a couple inches of your dog’s head, say the word “sit.”  You should be holding the treat slightly in front of your dog’s eyes.  If your hand is in the right place, your dog should naturally sit down when he looks up at the treat you’re holding.  If your hand is in the wrong placement this won’t work.  Too low and the dog won’t need to sit and look up, too high and the dog will jump at the treat.  If your dog doesn’t sit but your hand placement is right, you may need to help him out by physically sitting him down.  Do this by putting one hand behind his back legs under the knees and your other on his chest.  This will gently move him into a sitting orientation.  While you’re doing this, say “sit” again so he sees the connection between the posture and the word.

Once your dog is sitting, you can then give him the treat.  You’ll need to repeat this exercise a number of times until your dog understands what the “sit” command means.  Your next step is then to try it again without holding the treat above your dog’s head.  Hold the treat at your side, and slide your finger through your dog’s training collar at the top of the neck with your palm outward, and say, “sit.”  Once your dog sits you can give him the treat.  After your dog masters the idea of sitting down on command without you touching his collar at all, you can start rewarding him every other time, and then you can eventually switch to random rewards.  Random rewards are very effective with dogs since they always hope that this time may be the time that you provide a treat for good behavior.

This is a great starting command since it is relatively simple and undemanding for both of you.  You can also move on from here directly to other commands and behaviors.  For example, if your dog jumps on you when you come in the door, you can command him to sit and then pet him.  If you do this consistently and reward him for doing so with praise and petting, he will eventually switch to sitting when you walk in the door so that you can pet him instead of jumping on you.  This is a good way to transition into teaching your dog not to jump on others.

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