Puppy School Lesson Two
Teaching your Puppy to Sit
Repeat the exercise as many times as it takes until you’re sure your puppy fully understands what you expect of them. Some pups catch on really fast, and others may take a little longer, but once sure that your puppy will sit as you raise your hand over their head with their treat, then that’s when to start saying the word sit at the exact moment they assume the position so they can associate the action with the word.
Don’t be tempted to use the sit command before you’re confident that your puppy fully understands what you want from them. It’s important to remember, at this stage, your puppy doesn’t yet know what the word sit means; it’s just a noise to them. If you use a word repeatedly while they’re jumping around, they’ll learn to associate the word with that activity. So the word sit could then come to mean leap around and play and, not park your bottom on the ground.
Get into the habit of giving only one command. If you have to keep repeating yourself, you’re either not keeping your puppy's attention or they’re not understanding what you want. Go back to the beginning, show them again, and reward them every time they get it right.
As soon as your puppy has caught on to the idea of sitting when they’re asked, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of asking them to sit and briefly attend to you before getting anything they want. In dog language, this is simply good manners. Ask your pup to sit and attend to you briefly before you feed them, play a game, groom, put their lead on, give them a cuddle or proceed with other training.
Dogs in a sitting position are more relaxed and attentive than those bouncing around. They can focus on you more easily and learn to recognise what you want them to do next, may be slip their lead on, examine them, or groom them, and these are all more easily done from a sitting position. The sitting position is also ideal for your puppy to greet people from. A puppy leaping all over visitors is all very cute, but a muddy monster may not be so welcome.
So how to get started
With your puppy on their lead to stop them wandering off, attract their attention then with a toy or treat in your hand slowly raise it above their head. Their head should follow what they think as a reward and, as their head goes up, their bottom must go down, placing them naturally into a sitting position. At the exact instant that your puppy’s bottom touches the ground, give them their reward and praise them, but at this stage it’s important that you
DO NOT SAY THE WORD SIT