It’s time to teach the pupster to sit. You say “I’ve seen him sit plenty of times, big whoop.” No, this is about sitting on command. This is about you being top dog. Besides potty training, this is the most important training you can do, and also the easiest. If you train him to sit, he won’t jump on people, and he won’t bolt out the open door, and he won’t get up on the breakfast table and eat all the bacon.
There are three methods to train your dog to sit, and one of them is just plain wrong, although it seems efficacious at the time.
Method 1: How NOT to Train Your Dog to Sit: The Tush Push.
The Tush Push is when you get the dog’s attention and say “Aristotle, sit” while pushing his tush to the ground. (If that’s his name. If not it’s better to use his name.) Then give him a treat. Now, why is this wrong, you ask, your head cocked to one side. (No wait, that’s your dog’s head.) Because you just trained your dog to believe that he gets a treat when you to force him to sit. If you keep this up he will think he doesn’t have to sit until you push his tush. He might even think he is not allowed to sit unless you push his tush. He might wander around all day, up on all fours, exhausted, thinking “when is somebody gonna push my tush so I can take a load off?”
Method 2: How to Train Your Dog to Sit by Catching Him in the Act.
Wait until the dog sits naturally and say “Good, sit!” and reward and praise him. Trouble is, he might not quite connect what he did that was right until after a few times. Also, what about all the times he sits when you don’t see and reward him? He may think sitting is only your favorite thing sometimes. Use this method only when Method 3 doesn’t work, or in combo with Method 3. What is Method 3, you ask, because you’re so impatient you won’t read on to the next paragraph?
Method 3: How to Train Your Dog to Sit by Actually Training Him to Sit
Have some small treats at the ready. You’ll need several. Check your notes so you’ll remember the dog’s name.
1. Call the dog over, or get his attention. Let him see you have a treat in your hand.
2. Hold the treat just above his snout. (Not so high he decides to jump for it.)
3. Say “Sophocles, (or his name), sit.” That’s it. Clear, and firm. No, don’t add on a lot of other words like “Good puppsie, want to sit for Mommy? Mommy gives oo a tweat when oo sits doesn’t she, poopsie? Him so cute.” No, you are going to have to learn that a) baby talk makes people want to puke, and b) this is not the time for a chat with the Pupster. He needs to know and remember one simple word, and shouldn’t have to pick it out of a long gooey monologue. “Sit.” One word, see it’s even easy for you to remember.
4 . Move your hand slowly back toward the dog’s ears, holding the precious treat. And watch what happens.
5. He sits! As soon as you see that tush hit the ground you say “Good! Sit!
6. Give your dog the treat. Pet him, praise him, and if you must, use your sickening baby talk voice until he rolls his eyes at you.
7. Start again, holding a treat, and repeat the whole process 5 or 6 times, starting with “Parmenides, sit.” (If that’s his name and we certainly hope not.)
Where to train your dog to sit.
Hah! You hadn’t even thought about this one.Train your dog to sit where you need him to sit. Now where might that be? At the kitchen table, at his food bowl, and at the front door for starters. These are all places where jumping up can cause problems. Such as when he jumps up and eats your food off the table because you never thought to teach him to sit. Or when he knocks you over as you try to fill his food bowl because you never taught him to sit. Or when he knocks your visitor over when she comes in the front door, because you never taught him to sit. These are the things that could make him canina non grata. So these are the very places you need to hold Plato’s sitting lessons, in frequent short sessions, both indoors and outdoors.
Just think, soon you’ll have a dog who sits promptly, politely, and consistently, takes his treat and stands right up again. That’s why you have to go on to the next training session: How to get your dog to stay. That will be in a separate article but with a separate command and hand movement. Eventually, Maximus will sit and stay on command without a treat, but he will still appreciate the praise.
Disclaimer: Changing the dog’s name is done for entertainment purposes only in this article. It is recommended in Puppolosophy 101 that you always use the same name for your dog, even if you later decide it’s a stupid name. Switching names on a dog is unwise, and continually using different names for one single dog can lead to an identity crisis, and require years of dog therapy.
Watch this very nice video showing a dog being taught to sit, although keep in mind, I think he really already knew how to sit, and is just an actor dog:: http://video.about.com/dogs/Teach-a-Dog-to-Sit.html