Last month we wrote about the seven basic commands you should to teach to your dog to help them become an obedient companion: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off and No.

Next, let’s learn how to teach your dog these seven basic commands starting from the beginning with sit.

three labrador retreivers

Teaching your dog the sit command

Sit is the first command you should teach your dog because it’s also the most natural for most dogs. Teaching your dog to sit establishes good behavior and obedience. If your dog is sitting they can’t jump on you, the furniture, or run around your home while obeying the command.

The most popular way to teach your dog to sit is through rewarding them with a technique called “lure and reward”. Let’s walk through the training steps (you’ll need treats!):

  1. While your dog is standing hold a treat by their nose at eye level
  2. Lift the treat over their head slowly moving it back towards the rear of their body. While your dog follows the treat with their eyes and nose they should naturally sit.
  3. As soon as your dog sits verbally say “good dog” or any other encouraging phrase to establish good behavior and offer the treat as a reward.
  4. Get your dog to stand again by walking away, calling them, or tossing another treat or toy to get them to move and repeat steps 1 to 3.
  5. When your dog sits at the sight of the treat it’s time to change and eventually eliminate the reward. Without a treat in your hand repeat steps 1 to 3, and reward with a treat from your other hand if necessary. The empty hand signal becomes the cue for your dog to sit.
  6. Once your dog sits for your empty hand it’s time to add the verbal “sit” command before you give the hand signal. With time, your dog will respond to the verbal “sit” command without the hand gesture.

It’s important to reward good behavior, but to never force your dog to sit or position it’s backside. Present your treats when the dog sits to reinforce the behavior, but don’t encourage it to stand too quickly to gain another reward or treat.

Sit should be the default behavior your dog relies on when trying to gain your attention and affection. Establishing a good “sit” behavior and command will make training the next six basic commands a much easier task.