The sit command is one of the most simple, yet important, commands for your dog to know. After all, the ability to sit sets the framework for other commands such as speaking and rolling over. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are struggling to teach your dog how to sit.

1. Establish a Positive Bond With Your Dog

When it comes to establishing a positive bond with your dog, the earlier you start, the better. Ideally, you can work at establishing a bond with your pet from 7 weeks of age. Of course, this isn’t always a possibility, so immediately after you acquire the pet will do. You can establish a bond with your pet through providing consistent affection and attention. Maintaining a calm demeanor and spending a lot of quality time with your dog also goes a long way.

2. Train Your Dog in An Area Free From Distraction

Training should always take place in a quiet environment with minimal distractions. This will allow your dog to apply their full concentration. Dogs tend to get distracted easily, so the fewer noises and activities that you have surrounding you, the better.

3. It’s Okay to Rely On Treats

To have a well-trained dog, you need to be committed to reinforcing the training tasks on nearly a daily basis for the first year of your puppy’s life using treats. These reinforcers allow the dog to associate the treat with the command. For instance, you can use a toy or specific food like a banana to let the dog associate the treat with the sit command (it’s okay for dogs to eat small servings of bananas, just don’t let them eat the peel).

4. Use Your Words

To teach a dog to sit using treats, hold the treat by the dog’s nose. Lift your hand and the treat and allow the dog’s head to follow your hand. This encourages the dog to instinctively lower into a sitting position. You should always firmly say “sit” while doing this so that the dog will learn to associate the word with sitting.

5. Praise Good Behavior

Every time your dog successfully performs a sit, add in secondary reinforces such as verbal praises, an affectionate pat, food or toys.

6. Repetition is Key

It’s normal if your dog does not pick up on the sit command right away. It is therefore important that you repeat the command so that your dog will become familiar in time. The repetition of the sit command should be integrated into your dog’s routine. Examples of this could include during mealtimes, when getting out of the kennel, and before petting. This helps in establishing predictable rules and routines for interaction and helps prepare your dog to learn even more difficult commands.