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How to Teach a Dog to Sit in Just 6 Steps

5 min read

Teaching a dog how to sit if often at the top of the list of things people want to teach their puppy when bringing them home for the first time. It’s an easy first training exercise for most dogs – and it gives them something to do that you can reward them for rather than jumping on people.

This is also a good exercise to teach that forms the basis for further training and even some of the dog sports you might want to try in the future.

Are you ready to find out how to teach a dog to sit? Then keep on reading.

What you need 

  • A quiet room 
  • Your dog’s favourite treats 
  • Patience and time

How to teach a dog to sit in 6 simple steps

1. Find some tasty treats

With your dog next to you, hold the treat by the end of their nose so they can smell it. If you are training a puppy or a small dog, it can help if you kneel beside them, so you aren’t looming over them.

2. Raise the treat over their head 

While they’re sniffing the treat, slowly raise your hand up and slightly towards their tail. In order to keep smelling (and hopefully getting) the treat, their hear will come up and their bottom will have to go down.

3. Reward

As soon as your dog puts their bottom on the ground, say your reward word (“good”) and give them the treat.

4. Repeat several times 

Practice is key in training your dog to sit. To make them stand up again, walk away or toss a treat in the opposite direction – they will get up again to go for the treat. Follow them and start repeating the same process. 

5. Add the verbal cue and a hand signal 

Once they get the hang of it, it’s time to add the ‘sit’ command so that they can learn to respond to it. To do this, say ‘sit’, wait a few seconds, and then give them the hand signal. It’s important that your dog is still when you give the verbal cue or else, they might end up associating the word with the wrong movement.

6. Phase out the treats 

Since they now know how to respond to the command, you can start slowly weaning them off the treats. After a while, they will learn to follow only the verbal and hand signals. It’s also a good idea to continue showing enthusiasm and praising them every time they do a good job. 

Things to avoid when training your dog to sit 

When training your dog, it’s easy to get carried away and only focus on getting the results you need. However, there are a few rules to follow in order to make sure that you’re providing fun and safe training for your pooch. Below we’ve listed some important points to remember. 

Avoid long sessions 

Extended training sessions can allow your pooch to get bored or frustrated which is why it’s recommended that you keep the practice sessions to less than 5 minutes each. That’s not to say you can’t do several sessions in the same day, but just keep in mind to watch out for any signs that your dog might be exhausted or disinterested. 

Practice in a comfortable and safe place 

A quiet and comfortable place is best when practicing how to teach a dog to sit. It’s also a good idea to avoid dog parks or public spaces when you first start the training because dogs usually get very distracted when in the presence of people or other animals. After a few sessions, you can try practicing outside. 

Minimise frustration or impatience 

It’s easy to get frustrated when your dog doesn’t seem to learn a trick very quickly but try to keep your calm. If you feel like you’re losing your patience, call it a day and postpone the training for another time. There shouldn’t be any pressure put on your dog or yourself because this is meant to be a fun activity for the both of you. 

If you want optimal results, it’s key that you follow these steps on how to teach a dog to sit. But above all, remember that training your pup shouldn’t feel like a chore but rather, should be something that helps you strengthen your bond and communicate more easily with your pup.  


Now that your dog has mastered this basic trick, it’s time to move on to something a bit more challenging. Check out our guide on how to teach your dog to give a paw next