Are you starting to teach your dog to sit? Feeling a little frustrated because they just don't seem to "get it"? I can help you. Here are 4 quick points that will start you on the successful path to training your dog to sit. There are 3 commonly know methods to train your dog to sit: using their natural behaviour, using the treat trick and gentle physical guidance. You can read about these varying methods in more detail here.
Whatever method you choose to employ here are some tricks that should help you get the best results.
1. Choose your training environment with your dog in mind. What I mean is, if you have a new dog that's untrained then trying to train them in an unfamiliar environment like a local park will not garner you the results you want. In a new environment your dog is going to want to explore, they're going to want to investigate and sniff every new tree and spot of grass. Not to mention the people! Oh boy! It's excitement overload for your new buddy and you'll feel like the "no" parent who always has to set down the law instead of making training a rewarding and fun experience for both you and your dog. In the beginning trying to train your dog in an unfamiliar place will be a disaster waiting to happen. You'll never be able to get your dog's attention for even a minimal amount of time let alone the concentrated effort you need for training. So do you and your dog a favour and start training in a familiar place, for example in your home or backyard. Once your pooch has the basics mastered then you can introduce training in new situations and places.
2. Make sure where you are trying to get them to sit isn't uncomfortable for them. Imagine someone was trying to get you to plonk your butt down on a cold tiled floor, or someplace where you kept slipping everywhere, like shiny floorboards? Not much fun, right? Well... it isn't fun for your dog either. Chances are, if it's an uncomfortable place for them to sit down, they aren't going to sit. No matter how many times you say the word:) So next time you start a training session make sure it's somewhere where your dog will feel comfortable sitting and standing for a period of time.
3. Be consistent! I can't stress this point enough. Dogs get cues from everything you do, not just the word coming out of your mouth. This means they listen to the word but they also watch your hand gestures when you say it and they listen to the tone of your voice. So if you don't repeat the command in the same tone of voice, with the same hand signal they aren't going to do what you want as quickly because to them you're its not the same thing as before. So again, be CONSISTENT! Use the same tone of voice whenever you're teaching the command, if you want to incorporate a hand signal to get them to sit then by all means do it, just make sure its the same EVERY time you say it.
And if there is more than one person in the house with the dog make sure they all know what words you are using for training. It's no point teaching your dog to lay down on the "drop" command and someone else is trying to get them to lay down by saying "down". It'll just confuse the dog and it won't help you.
4. Don't forget PRAISE. You may be using treats as the reward during training which is great, it's a good motivator for behaviour training but don't forget to throw in some "good boys or girls" and some pats. Your dog LOVES attention from you. They WANT love!! So give it to them. When they do the right thing, LET THEM KNOW. I promise you, rewarding good behaviour will go far in training. Not only that but it will also increase your bond with your dog and can I just say, its fun too. Seeing their big goofy grins and having them lean against you for some lovin' is the ultimate feeling. NO ONE loves as unconditionally as a dog.
And as an added tip: HAVE FUN! And make it fun for them! Don't let a training session go for too long. 5-10 minutes at a time is much better for keeping their attention. Remember they're just like little kids with the attention span to match:)