|Teaching the Sit|
Teach Your Dog To Sit
The Sit is one of the foundations of dog training, and one of the first commands your new puppy or older rescue dog should learn, and happily it is one of the easier commands to teach. With time, reinforcement and repetition the Sit should become automatic for your dog.
Get a hand full of small tasty treats and hold one in front of your dogs nose, you should have your dog's full attention! Move the treat upwards and slightly backwards over top of the head, as your dog follows the treat with her nose she will lift her head up, as you move the treat backwards over the head (and out of sight) she should sit down in order to keep following the treat. As soon as the dog has sat down say 'sit', follow this up with 'Good' and give the treat while the dog is still sitting. Your hand should only be four inches or so away from your dogs head as you go through this routine. <p> Now you just need to keep repeating the exercise. Always couple the word 'sit' with the action, and treat when the dog is sitting down. After a while the dog will start to understand what it is required to do. Some dogs associate more strongly with the hand movement than the word 'sit' at first. In the beginning you should reward for every sit, but once your dog is reliably sitting you should move on to reward only some sits, or just the best sits. The idea is that the dog will never know if a treat is coming or not, but should keep sitting in the hope that one will appear. This stage reinforces the behaviour even more strongly, and is also important because otherwise you may find your dog ignoring your requests for a 'sit' when she knows you don't have any treats.
Repetition, repetition, repetition
Now your dog knows what you mean when you ask her to sit, start to use it as a regular part of the daily schedule. Sit before dinner, sit before putting the lead on for a walk, sit for a treat, sit before a game, sit before crossing the road, and so on. With time and patience the sit should become an automatic response for your dog.