Training Puppies and Dogs to Sit – Santa Cruz

Giovannas Dog Training

Santa Cruz County Dog Training

Contact Us: 831-359-6926

Training Puppies and Adult Dogs a Reliable Sit and Down.

 Pigue is a happy 9.5 week old puppy. 

  Training dogs for a Reliable Sit is the most basic concept in Dog Training. For the most part its the easiest behavior for any dog to learn. The main reason is dogs already know how to Sit. If you watch puppies closely some already Sit for things they want without coaching from owners. However, it’s possible owners are inadvertently through body movement giving dogs reasons to Sit. Teaching a Reliable Down falls into this category. None-the-less Dog Training is about good communication between owners and dogs. Companion Dogs should learn early on how, when, and where to obey as the owner directs. It’s never a matter of it being at their discretion or up for negotiation.  This concept needs to be  understood by owners and dogs. When this happens dogs will be more proficient with positive behavior as they age. Remember Sit means Sit.Bernese-Mountain-Dog- 13

  Dog Training for a Reliable Sit:

  Lets start with creating a Hand Signal. Begin with a little training treat closed in your hand. Let your dog sniff and follow it as you move your hand side to side. Raise your hand smoothly and slowly back over your dog’s head.  Don’t hover over your dog with your body. The idea is once his head goes back his butt will Sit automatically. Since this is something new it may take a couple of times before your dog Sits.  Once your dog Sits say, “Good” and immediately reward with the treat. Repeat three or four times. At this point we’ve used treats as lures to get your dog’s body in motion.  Start this training in low distraction areas.

  Hand Signal without using treat as a Lure:

  Put treats in non-signal hand or shirt pocket. Standing two feet in front of your dog raise your signal hand with palm facing up. Do this smoothly and slightly quicker. When dog Sits say, “Good” and automatically reward with treat (reinforcer) with your other hand.

  If your dog is responding correctly do three or four more repetitions so they can learn this new routine. Dispensing treats from other hand  teaches dogs their behavior is what  produces rewards and not visible food used as lures. This prevents dogs from only performing when food is in sight. Start this training in low distraction areas.

  Dogs don’t generalize well so you eventually must practice other than around your home. If your dog is responding well to  Sit hand signals at home start practicing on Dog Walks. Take 10 or 12 treats on a neighborhood walk. Wait 5 or 10 minutes before asking for  a Sit. This will help your dog’s energy level subside so concentration is better when you give hand signal.

  Periodically stop and give the Sit signal. When dog Sits continue the walk. Don’t continue walk if dog doesn’t respond well. Take a deep breath and relax. Wait a few seconds and try again. You may have to wait your dog out. When he does finally respond continue walk. So in essence your dog is getting two reinforcers. The treat and he gets to continue the walk. Which most likely he wants and you can use to your benefit. When treats are all gone return home.  Repeat this again two times the next day.

  Training  Sit with a Verbal Cue

  Start by using the wordSitwith the hand signal. Always say Sit one second before giving hand signal. If the hand signal is used first it will block out the word “Sit” and essentially have no meaning to your dog.

  Here’s what it will look like:582x-Sitting_dog_002

  Verbal cueSit(wait one second)

  Hand Signal

  Dog Sits

  Say ”Good

  Reinforce your dog

  Do a few repetitions with this procedure. When you know your dog’s responses are  becoming  better and quicker it’s time to practice during your daily walks. Repeat walk procedure as mentioned earlier.

  Using Only a Verbal Cue for Sit

  Standing in front of your dog say “”Sit” and wait for the proper response. If dog Sits quickly say “Good” and reinforce. If all goes well do a few repetitions. If your dog isn’t responding well wait 30 seconds for the Sit. If after 30 seconds there’s no Sit do a reminder review. Repeat the verbal Sit with the hand signal. Immediately Mark (Good) and reinforce. Then repeat only the verbal cue Sit again and wait. If all is going well you can practice again while on walks. Repeat the walk procedure as mentioned earlier.

Training a Sit when not in formal training sessions is helpful. Although, please continue with the formal training. Training young inexperienced dogs should be on-going throughout the day. Dogs can learn in everyday life occurrences. Meal time is a perfect example. While holding the food bowl in your hands say ” Sit “. When your dog Sits reinforce by putting food bowl on floor. Remember to say “Sit” before your dog sits on his own for the food.

Another place to work on Sits is before going on walks. Owners must remember dogs get nothing for free. If a dog wants a walk they must do something positive for the owners. If a dog is getting charged up for a walk immediately ask for a Sit. If the response is positive continue on walk. If dog refuses to Sit say “Too Bad” turn your back to dog and put leash away. After a couple of minutes you can try again.

There’s many opportunities to train your dog throughout the day.  Even if it’s only for a few minutes scattered through the day.  When training for a Reliable Sit always remember to reinforce with a reward. The Reward doesn’t have to be food. Eventually an owner will want to fade away the treats. The treat in the beginning is only a motivator to jump-start positive behavior. Actually the Reward can be toys, walks, swimming, running, or hugs and kisses.

Each dog is an individual. When dogs and owners spend quality time together the relationship gets stronger through  communication. It’s through good communication dogs and owners learn how to respect each other.  Even if it’s something simple like asking for a Reliable Sit. Happy Training.


Trained for a Reliable Sit.










Giovannas Dog Training provides  Private Dog Training, Group Dog Training, Private Puppy Training, and Group Puppy Training.


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