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Posted by Wouter Loosman on

ready, steady, sit!

An easy way to teach your dog

Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most useful things you can teach a dog, and with a bit of practise, one of the easiest. Never physically push your dog’s hindquarters down to force him into a sit. Forcing a dog to do something will not make him want to do it for you in the future. Rather teach him using the correct training techniques, and he will be more willing to repeat the behaviour when you ask him

The important thing to remember is that your dog doesn’t know what the word ‘sit’ means, and technically, he never will. We are going to teach the dog to associate the word ‘sit’ with two things: 1. His bum being on the ground; and 2. Something great happening while his bum is on the ground.

Go about it as follows:

  • Grab some of your dog’s favourite treats.
  • Have your dog stand in front of you, sideways (you can use a treat to lure him into this position). This will help to prevent him from walking backwards while you are busy.
  • Hold the treat between your thumb and forefinger, right in front of the dog’s nose.
  • As he smells the treat, slowly move your hand upwards and backwards, going between the dog’s eyes towards the top of his head.
  • Take care not to move your hand up too high, as this will cause the pup to stand up on his back legs. Also, do not jerk your hand away if pup goes for the treat – this can teach him to snap. It’s okay if pup licks sniffs and nibbles on the treat as you move your hand.
  • Are you remembering to take it slowly?
  • As the head goes up, the bum should automatically go down to the ground. This might take a few tries!
  • The second the bum hits the ground, say “sit” in a normal tone of voice. Don’t sound meek, but don’t sound angry either! Only at this point do you say “sit” – not sooner.
  • Now praise lavishly and tell your dog how amazingly clever he is!
  • Give the treat.
  • Practise, practise, practise!

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