How to Train a Dog to Sit

All new dog owners should know how to train a dog to sit. It is one of the most basic commands to teach your dog.

When you train a dog to sit, you begin gaining control over your dog.

Whenever it appears that your dog is about to get out of control, just issue the “sit” command and your dog is immediately under your control again.

This training will help to ensure that you can always gain control of your dog. That makes it very important training indeed.

Simple Formula for All Dog Training

Signal & Demonstrate followed by Reward...then Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Signal: The signal is usually a verbal command issued just once. You can also use a hand gesture along with the verbal command if you think the hand gesture will come in handy.

Demonstrate: While giving the designated signal, you should also demonstrate what you want your dog to do. By demonstrate, we mean that you should get your dog to perform the task you want linked to the signal. 

As you practice with a particular command, you should gradually reduce this part of the formula. Eventually you won’t need to demonstrate it at all. Your dog will simply understand the signal and perform that indicated task.

Reward: When your dog successful performs the command (even if you have coaxed him to do it), you must give your dog a reward. While some trainers will use a treat (and you can certainly do this as well), I recommend using praise as the reward.

The reason is that you may not always have a treat handy, but you can always praise your dog.

Repeat: A good approach for training is to plan on 2 training sessions per day with each session lasting no longer than 15 minutes. During these sessions you’ll repeat the formula above several times for the new command that you want your dog to learn.

You can also review commands that dog has already mastered.

Once you dog readily performs the task with just the appropriate signal, the training is officially complete. But that doesn't mean you’re done working with your dog.

If you want to make sure that the training sticks, practice with each command regularly. 

Applying this Formula to Train a Dog to Sit

Step #1

Decide what signal you will use to teach your dog to sit. Obviously, the word “SIT” would be a good choice for the verbal signal. Whatever word you choose, there are 2 rules:

The signal should not sound too much like any other signal or like your dog’s name.

Make sure everyone in the house knows the signal and uses it. You’ll only confuse your dog if you attempt to train him using different signals.

Step #2

Place one hand on your dogs collar and the other hand on his rump.

Step #3

While saying the word “Sit,” gently pull up on your dog’s collar and push down on his rump. You can extend the signal by saying “S-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-t” instead of simply saying “Sit.”

Step #4

Once your dog is sitting, lavish him with praise. This is his reward. You can, of course, use a treat. But the treat should never replace praise entirely.

Step #5

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Over time you’ll find that you no longer have to push down on his rump. A simple tap may be sufficient to get him to sit. Eventually, you will only need to say “Sit.”


When you train a dog to sit (or perform any task on command), you must have a lot of patience. You must also commit to spending the time necessary to be successful.

If you have the patience and you’re consistent in your training, your dog will have it mastered in no time.

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New Dog Owner? Check Out These Pages First...

Selecting a Dog

Type of Dog

Choosing the right Dog

Naming your new Dog

Finding the right Food

House Training your Dog

General Dog Care Tips

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