Creating kinder, gentler experiences for pets


Need Help? 

Call 1-800-372-3706
to speak to a Veterinary Behavior Technician

Paws for Help!


Click on Library Icon

Help is at your fingertips by library, email and phone!

Helpful Links 
Teaching Sit


Dog Behavior Library

Basic Dog Obedience
Teaching the Dog to "Sit" on Cue

The SIT Instruction ("Place your rump on the ground.")

First Choice:  Studies show preferred methods are
NO FORCE teaching

1) Give a small tasty food treat for free, to show that you control treats. 

2) With your right hand, offer a food treat, held right at the nose, but don't give the treat. 

3)  Move your hand with the food treat up and over the head. Try to lure the nose up and back. If he jumps, you are holding the treat too far from his nose. If the dog ignores the treat, wait until hungry, or choose a more tasty treat.

4) If the dog's head follows the treat, his spine will pressure his rump to the ground naturally.

5) As the rump touches the ground, say SIT in a neutral tone, and praise and give the treat. Say COME to get the dog to stand and take a step, then practice the SIT. Repeat 10-20 times, until the dog gets the relationship: hear the word SIT, assume the position, get the praise and treat. 

6) Once reliable, treat every other sit, then the BEST sit of three or five attempts. Phase out the food over weeks.

7) The word SIT, plus the right hand moving up becomes the hand signal for the dog to sit. If the dog's front feet leave the ground, you are holding the food treat too high.

8) Once he has it, teach the dog to "sit for greetings" instead of jumping up on people. The rule is, "I won't greet you until you are sitting."

Second Choice:
Place one hand behind the middle of the back legs to prevent moving backward, and "cup" the back legs forward at the knee. With the other hand use the collar push the dog backward and down. The net effect is like pushing a person backward, who is standing in front of a chair that buckles their legs causing them to sit. Say SIT first, the position the dog, and praise as if it was his idea, and give a treat. Repeat exercise about 5 times each training session, praising the dog more as you use less pressure to obtain a sit.
Correct hand position

Say the word, "sit" first.  Then, position the dog, and praise as if it was the dog's idea. Give a treat while the dog is still sitting.  Then, release by saying, "okay" and clapping while moving backwards. 

Third Choice Method:
Place one hand on the dog's back, just in front of the hips. Spread your index finger and thumb, and apply inward pressure, just in front of each hip bone. The other hand can be on the collar and gently push back, into the sit.

Fourth Choice Method
Use a head halter. Begin with your dog at your side or in front of you. Hold the leash a few inches from the leash snap. Pull the leash forward and upward to point your dog's nose gently skyward. As you tip his or her nose up, the head should go gently back and the hindquarters will naturally lower to the ground as the dog pulls backward against the pressure at the back of the neck. As soon as the dog begins to sit, say, "Sit" and immediately release the tension on the leash. Offer a treat as a reward along with praise. The dog will quickly associate the sitting position with the word "Sit," and will begin to respond with a lighter and lighter pull on the leash.

Last Resort
While the dog is wearing a neck collar and leash, pull up on the collar or leash, while pressing down on the rump.

MyABN          Library        Contact ABN            Privacy Policy   

Copyright 2001-Present with All Rights Reserved by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS | Animal Behavior Network & Affiliates