Trying to control a dog who hasn’t learned obedience commands is exhausting and often nearly impossible. But teaching him five simple commands will make a world of difference and provide a great opportunity for bonding.
Keep in mind that puppies have short attention spans, and it is unreasonable to expect to have your puppy’s full attention for a long period of time. Keep your sessions short at first to minimize distractions and maintain your dog’s attention, gradually increasing the amount of time spent on training each day.
The sit is one of the easiest skills to teach. A puppy who sits on command is easier to manage until he learns more self-control. For example, when you teach your dog to sit when the doorbell rings, he is less likely to jump up on visitors when the door opens.
How to Teach Sit
To teach the sit:
- Get on your puppy’s level, either on the floor or in a chair next to him.
- Hold a treat close to his nose and let his head follow the treat as you move your hand up.
- As his head moves up, his butt will lower.
- When his butt hits the floor, release the treat to his mouth. Immediately praise him for his brilliance.
- Repeat multiple times every day. Pair the behavior with the word “sit.”
- Don’t hold the treat so high that your dog tries to jump up for it. Instead, hold it in your closed hand just high enough that he stretches his neck. Every time his rump hits the floor, tell him “Good sit!” This is a great game for children in the house to play with your dog.
Repetitions are important, but your dog will tire of multiple reps. Rather, play the sit game with your dog in short bursts multiple times every day. Reinforce the sit in other situations, like mealtimes. Have him sit before you put his food bowl on the floor or before you open the door to take him on a walk. If he breaks the sit, remind him of his job with a quiet “Oops, try again” before you open the door. If this command is reinforced every time you ask your dog to sit away from the door, he will be less likely to bolt and run when the door opens. In this respect, the sit command can be a lifesaver.