puppy sitting

Training your puppy to sit - The basics

If there’s one command that every dog owner needs to learn – it’s sit. Of course, it’s best to get the basics out of the way first, such as toilet training, but ‘sit’ is definitely up there. In our ‘teach your dog to sit’ guide we’ll go through everything you need to know – honestly, it’s not that hard.  


Yelling won’t get you anywhere

Sure, teaching can be a stressful job, but remain calm. Like children, puppies don’t respond well to being yelled at and they can’t understand what you’re saying– in fact, it might cause behavioural problems down the line. This kind of negative reinforcement won’t help you build a trusting bond with your dog. Instead then, let’s take a look at a simple way to make your dog sit without wearing yourself out:


Treats, treats and more treats

Grab a handful of biscuits when training your puppy. You can use some of your puppy’s dry complete kibble as a treat; this will be the correct size, won’t cause digestive upsets and allows you to monitor how much they are consuming. Puppies are fast learners, they’ll soon work out that sitting = treats.  


Purchase a clicker

Clickers are a great way to let your puppy know it is doing the right thing. Every time your puppy sits, click your clicker and give them a treat. You can use the clicker to tell your puppy that what they have done is right and that they are about to get a treat.  


Keep things quiet (for now)

You’ll also need to set aside time, space, and a quiet area when teaching your puppy to do simple commands. That involves keeping the kids out of the way (for the time being). This means keeping the space as free from any sort of distractions as possible. Turn off the TV, pause any music and enjoy the moment with your puppy. These are some of the most exciting, funny and entertaining moments of your and its life! You won’t have to keep things quiet for long, though – as puppies have short attention spans. A good training session for a puppy can last between 5-15 minutes depending on your puppy’s level of concentration. Many dogs do well with 15 minutes. It’s completely up to you – every puppy will have a different energy level.  


How to organise your puppy’s training session

First things first – get organised; consistency is key to learning. To start, sit on the floor in the middle of the room, or if you prefer, with your back against the wall –training time is fun and this non-threatening pose will ensure your puppy is relaxed and ready to train. Your smart puppy will start sniffing your hand – it will paw, nibble, and they may even bark to get at those treats. Stay strong – don’t talk to them or touch them– it’s so easy to give in at this point, especially when they’re trying really hard, but they won’t learn unless you stick to your goals. Sit in your relaxed pose and wait. For some puppies, it won’t take long for them to figure out the game you’re playing. It might take others a little while longer. Be patient, be calm, and most of all, remain persistent. Eventually, your puppy will stop pawing, nipping, or barking to get the treats. They will sit – hooray! The instance their bottom touches the floor, click your clicker – if you have one – and give them a treat. The clicker is a marker for their good behaviour, and the treat is their reward!  


puppy looking up
Once your puppy gets the idea you can introduce the word sit. Do this as their bottom touches the ground. Eventually, after some time, you can say “sit” and they’ll do it on command!


Once your puppy gets the idea, you can introduce the word ‘sit’. Do this as their bottom touches the ground. Eventually, after some time, you can say “sit” and they’ll do it on command! This might take a few training sessions (weeks, or maybe months), but once they’ve mastered sit – the world is your oyster. For a quick overview check out this list:

  • Take a few biscuits and put them in one hand. Make sure your puppy sees you put the treats in your hand.
  • Place the clicker in the other. Do not say or do anything. Let your puppy figure out what is going on.
  • Let your puppy sniff around – it might even nibble or paw at your hand. This is all good!
  • Remain sitting on the ground, even if your puppy barks at you. It may take them a while – but they’ll eventually get it.
  • As soon as their bottom touches the ground, click your clicker (if you’re using one) and reward them with a treat.

Training time can be really fun, just like your puppy. Practice this process every day, once or twice a day, and your puppy will be sitting in no time.