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How to teach your dog to sit


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Ever wondered how to get your dog to sit? Here, trainer Colin Tennant shows us how. From the PetPeople magazine archive

Step 1: Start in an enclosed room so there are few distractions. Hide some treats (Fish4Dogs or tiny pieces of cheese, sausage or chicken) in a pocket or bag on your person. Call the dog's name and put the treat near his nose to immediately get his attention. If your dog is too energetic, tie him with a lead and collar to a chair or get a friend to hold his lead before holding the treat in front of him.

Step 2: Hold the treat above, but in front of the dog's nose, then raise it a little higher as if you are passing it over and to the rear of his head. The dog will naturally fall into a sitting position to eye the food. If the dog seems disinterested, he may train better when he's been apart from you for some time, so try training him immediately after you return home from work, for example.

Step 3: As the dog's body begins to fall into the sit position, clearly give the command 'Sit'. As the dog sits, offer lots of verbal praise and deliver the treat. Good timing and a clear command are critical. At first it does not matter if the dog stays in the sit position.

Step 4: Repeat this until the dog links the treat and sitting with the command. Once the dog sits on command, only deliver the treat every second sit, and then every third sit. The rewards must be sporadic so the dog anticipates the treat, but doesn't know when it will be delivered. He will also start to link the command and being praised with sitting. Train for no more than five minutes, three times a day.

Colin Tennant is a leading expert in dog behaviour and training. He is chairman of the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association of Britain and principal of the Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training.

Originally published in issue 3 of PetPeople, the Petplan customer magazine


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