The Sit Command

The Sit Command: Your Swiss Army Knife

The sit command, if taught to your dog correctly and used frequently, could change your dog’s behavior for the better and forever.

The Sit Command

In fact, the sit command has so many uses it’s like a Swiss Army Knife.  You know, that wonderful tool used by millions of people all over the world to get them out of a number of jams.

If you think about it, it’s one of the first, and easiest things you teach your new puppy when you bring him home. Dogs of any age can learn to sit on command with little to no effort at all. It’s a natural behavior your dog does.

 If my dog would sit, then he wouldn’t (fill in the blank)

 If your dog is already very comfortable with the sit command, you’re halfway done.  Now it’s time to move to the next level.  This level is working the sit command with distractions.

Begin by making a list of dog behavior problems you have with your dog.   

You might be pleasantly surprised how many dog behaviors you can stop with a well disciplined sit.

Behaviors like: jumping, running out the front door, dog aggression and yes, even barking just to name a few.  All of these can be solved with the basic obedience command of sit. So make your list.

When obedience training your dog to sit, there are a couple of things to think about:

  • Weaning your dog off food treats and,
  • Training your dog to sit around distractions that are important to you.

 To wean your dog off food treats, put your dog on a variable treating schedule. That means treating every other sit, then every third or fourth sit without the treat in your hand.
 
As you make progress be sure the dog is obeying the sit command without treats. Once you have him on a voice and hand signal, the real work begins – distraction training.

 The meaning of a well disciplined sit

 A well disciplined sit means your dog has been taught to obey the obedience command of sit, around all the distractions that are important to you and to which he is exposed.

 Some helpful tips

 Always obedience train your dog on a leash or line so you will be able to reinforce commands. As your dog becomes more reliable you can move to off leash.

Remember the 3D formula for distraction training: duration, distractions and distance. You build time first: (5 minute sit/stay) then add distractions before you add distance from the dog.

And remember, as you expand your work on your dog’s sit command, you must always vary:

  • The level of distraction (low level and tolerable distractions at first – then increase intensity of the distraction.)
  • The locations in which you obedience train your dog’s sit command: at home greeting guests, at a Starbucks or anywhere else in public.
  • Your orientation to (front, side or behind your dog) and distance from your dog

 It’s important to know that every family member has a different tone of voice so it will be important to get an immediate response to the sit command instantly, from any family member giving the command.

 The bottom line

 While this all sounds like a lot of work, but, it’s relative to your dog behavior problems and your willingness to live with the problem(s) or fix them.

The latter, of course, will dramatically improve your relationship with your dog.

Just like that Swiss army knife, a simple sit can help you out of many problem situations.

However to really be successful your dog will require 100% focus from you to keep him sharp as a knife!

 Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

 Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and makes it work in your home with your family and dog.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

1 reply
  1. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I Like it! Perfect sense and you’re right all dogs know how to sit. I also like the reminder that the dog needs to learn it in different places. Reminds me of when I was teaching my kids to drive a car. They were great in the driveway—not so much in the Walmart Parking lot!!!

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