Dog Training, Tips, Tricks, and Plenty of Good Advice


Teaching Your Puppy To Sit

What it means:

Sit down, right here, right away.

  • Verbal Command: “Sit”
  • Tone of voice: Mildly firm, but upward, with an emphasis on the sound “it”
  • Hand Signal: Right hand palm up, moving in an upward motion

How to:

Start with your puppy at your left side. Push down gently on your puppy’s rump with your left hand, and at the same time pull UP on the collar or leash with your right hand. The pull up should be a little more forceful than the push down.

Do’s and Don’ts:

Make your puppy sit straight. As soon as you have placed your puppy, let go and stand up. If you lean over your puppy too much, your puppy will tend to lie down. Too much eye contact will encourage your puppy to pop up. Avoid prolonged arguments, give the command “Sit” and then place the puppy immediately into position.

Don’t push down on your puppy’s back, or smash down hard on his hips. Gently curl his butt down and into a sit. If he is resistant to sitting pull up tighter on the leash and sweep is back feet out from under and scoop him into a sit.

Problem solving:

If your puppy bites at your hands a lot, use the leash to control your puppy’s head while using your left hand to push his rump down. Don’t hover over a biting puppy, this will escalate the problem. Pop the puppy into a sitting position quickly and with authority, then stand up straight. This is not the time to address the biting issue. Avoid and ignore it while teaching sit. Your puppy won’t be able to bite you if he is in a sit at your side and you are standing up.

If your puppy starts chewing on your shoe laces, or the leash, or your pant leg, pop up on the leash with a quick sharp “No!” If this brings the puppy out of the sit, that’s OK. Just put the puppy back into position.

Very Young Puppies:

If your puppy is very young, (6 to 8 weeks) you can sit down (on the floor) with your puppy, and place the puppy in front of you facing sideways. This makes it easier to put the puppy into a sit, and discourages leaning on you. As soon as the puppy is placed, let go and move back, staying ready to grab the leash if the puppy tries to bolt.

What your puppy learns:

This command requires your puppy to assume a moderately submissive position. It is usually the simplest command to teach a puppy, and acts as a good introduction to the whole concept of obedience and being trained to learn and obey verbal commands.

Sit for a treat:

Hold the treat in your right hand close to your puppy’s nose. Then, take the treat back over your puppy’s head so that he has to look up and back to keep his eyes on it. Most puppies will spontaneously sit at this point. As soon as he begins to sit, say the word “sit.” The instant that the puppy sits, give the treat. When using food it is important to keep the treat close to the puppy’s nose to discourage jumping up. If the puppy backs up instead of sitting down, put your left hand behind his rear end to stop the backwards motion, and then help him sit.

Do’s and don’ts:

Do not allow the puppy to grab for and get the treat. Because you will be practicing and doing this more than once, use a really small treat, something that smells good and is easy to eat. Don’t worry about teaching the stay command when using a treat for the “sit.” That can come later, after the puppy knows and understands how to sit for a treat. Give the treat to the puppy as soon as he is sitting. Don’t wait for him to get up or move around.

Written by: Shirley Gibson


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