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How to Teach a Puppy to Sit? Step By Step Guide

how to teach a puppy to sit
Your puppy has started to learn the basics of toilet training and now you're wondering 'how to teach a puppy to sit'. The “sit” command is one of the most fundamental obedience training cues for a dog to learn. Your puppy will learn many other basic behaviours such as come, stay, down, and even the standing pose from the ‘sit’ command.

Your puppy has started to learn the basics of toilet training and now you’re wondering ‘how to teach a puppy to sit’. The “sit” command is one of the most fundamental obedience training cues for a dog to learn. Your puppy will learn many other basic behaviours such as come, stay, down, and even the standing pose from the ‘sit’ command.

In short: sit is the dog’s ready position. Having your dog sit for everything emphasises the fact that it is ready to take commands from you and has accepted you as its leader for all future directives. In this guide, we teach you how to train your puppy to sit.

Steps to Teach a Puppy to Sit

teach a puppy to sit

Here are the steps to teach a puppy to sit.

Start With a Lure

Use a tasty training treat to teach your puppy to sit. Hold the treat in your fingers first. Then touch the treat to your dog’s nose. Let your puppy sniff the treat.

Raise the Lure

Slowly raise the lure/treat above your puppy’s head. Your puppy’s head will continue to rise as well. As it continues to raise its head, continue raising the treat/lure towards the pup’s rear end.  As your puppy’s head tilts up, its rump will slowly lower down to the floor. It is simple physics.

The moment your puppy’s rump lowers onto the floor, give the treat to your puppy, pet it, and say your marker word “Yes!”. Continue with the verbal and physical praise for several seconds. Examples of verbal phrases include:

  • What a good dog/puppy!
  • Good boy or good girl!
  • Good (dog name)!

Make sure your puppy keeps its focus on you. In this regard, the “sit” command is useful in teaching your puppy to make eye contact with you and also strengthen its bond with you.

If your puppy is distracted, train in a low-distraction environment such as your lounge room. If necessary and to get your pup’s attention try to be even more enthusiastic in giving verbal and physical praise. In short: make sure you are the most interesting thing to your puppy.

Break Down the “Sit” Command for Stubborn Dogs

how to train a puppy to sit

Most puppies learn the “sit” command fairly easily. However, some dogs seem to have trouble figuring out what you want done. Many refuse to sit even after several training sessions.

For such puppies, here are some tips:

  • Break down the cue into smaller parts.
  • Reward your puppy for even the smallest of successes. (For example, even if your puppy raises its head, praise and treat it. Or, if it raises its nose, reward it).
  • Little by little, get your puppy to raise its nose half an inch higher on every repetition. 
  • Once your puppy’s nose is higher, its rump will automatically lower down to the ground.
  • Reward your puppy the moment its rump is down.
  • Eventually, the rump will be down all the way.

Practise Often

Be consistent when teaching the “sit” command to your puppy. Most puppies need at least 10-15 repetitions of this exercise before they connect putting their rump on the floor with being rewarded. 

Remember: to a young pup, getting a reward for the first time probably seems like an accident; the second time, it seems like a coincidence. To make it a learned pattern, your puppy needs to make a connection – sitting and being rewarded go hand in hand.

Keep puppy training sessions short, just 1-2 minute sessions throughout the day.

Be Patient

Even if your puppy needs 20-25 repetitions, be patient with this exercise. You might think you aren’t getting anywhere, but that is not true. Every repetition will make it easier. You are also giving your puppy an important foundation in teaching it to follow the lure.

Take a break if your dog seems bored by the activity or you are losing your patience. Do another quick, fun activity that your puppy might enjoy.

Remember: training should be mixed with playtime to ensure increasing your puppy’s enjoyment of training and also boosting its confidence.

FAQs – How to Train a Puppy to Sit?

At what age can you teach a puppy to sit?

how to teach a puppy to sit - age

The “sit” command is one of the basic obedience commands to teach a dog. You can start teaching it to your puppy as soon as it comes home from the breeder – which is approximately 8 weeks of age.

How long does it take for a puppy to sit?

Training your puppy to sit can depend on various factors like your pup’s age, individual personality, and breed. Most puppies learn the command in about a week.

What to do if my puppy won’t sit?

age to teach a puppy to sit

As explained earlier, it is common physics that a dog will touch its rump to the ground when its nose goes up. Try passing your hand over your puppy’s head towards its hind end. The moment its nose goes up, its rear end will go down. Reward the pet right away when that happens. Practise frequently.

If you’re looking for a dog trainer who can teach you how to train your puppy in obedience such as sit, drop, stay, stand and recall, contact Foresight Dog Training to start today.

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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney
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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney

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how to teach a puppy to sit

How to Teach a Puppy to Sit? Step By Step Guide

Your puppy has started to learn the basics of toilet training and now you’re wondering ‘how to teach a puppy to sit’. The “sit” command is one of the most fundamental obedience training cues for a dog to learn. Your puppy will learn many other basic behaviours such as come, stay, down, and even the standing pose from the ‘sit’ command.

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