Teaching the Sit

I like for the "trainer" to either kneel beside or in front of the puppy to start this exercise. The use of a favorite treat will make this quite easy to teach. First, place one hand gently on the puppy's rear, hold the treat in the other hand at about eye level and raise it up and back so that the puppy will lift his nose straight up. They will naturally start to back up at this point, but your hand on his rump is there to prevent this. Usually a gentle pressure downward will encourage the puppy to sit. If not, try cupping your hand under the tail just behind the "stifle joint". [ The stifle corresponds to our knee and if you've ever had anyone "clip" you behind the knee, then you know the effect you're looking for with this maneuver. ]

As you show the treat to the puppy, call him by his name - "Fido" [or whatever! ] to get his attention, then use the command "SIT". Do not repeat the term, just let the puppy back into it. People often just keep repeating "sit,sit,sit,sit......" , when the whole idea is to say it once and the dog should do it. Remember that persistance/ consistence thing? You wouldn't want to accidently give the puppy the idea that he doesn't have to sit until the fifth time you say the word, would you? :-)

As SOON as the puppy sits, give him the treat and praise, praise, PRAISE! When practicing doing the sit exercise for young pups, only do it about 3-4 times during a session - or once or twice if he does it well, then quit for a while. Always end on a positive note with both of you being winners!

Now on to the STAY exercise!


Authored and contributed by Sandra Fikes-Kalahari Ridgebacks.

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