How to Train Your Puppy to Sit
By Arvind Mathur
Bringing home a new puppy, ushers in a wave of joy and excitement in the old and young alike. The innocent eyes and cute antics of this new member of the family immediately starts attracting a lot of love and affection from all quarters. You harbor great hopes for this little creature and eagerly wait for the day when she can make you proud by doing your bidding. Even her chewing up some of your favorite things is ignored in the hope that she will eventually grow out of it. But, hold on, even before you dream of making your puppy as obedient as a circus dog, there are things to teach and they require effort.
Housebreaking your puppy
Remember, neither the pedigree nor the age of your puppy will make her housebroken and trained on her own. Your puppy is not a human being and has no idea of what emotional value you attach to your kitchen garden, your carpet or your husband’s favorite sneakers. All these things can be objects of play for your canine friend. Likewise, she also doesnâ€™t know that sitting patiently will get her that morsel sooner, than snatching it out of your hands. It is therefore important that in addition to puppy proofing your house, you teach that overactive canine soul to respect your sentiments about things material by learning to obey your commands.
Every pup, without exception, needs to be socialized and trained. And socialization and training begins from day one, rather the moment the puppy enters your home cradled in your arms. Never forget to establish the initial socialization norms for her and then adhere to them religiously. Such norms inculcate good manners in them, so that the puppy doesnâ€™t grow to become an embarrassment to us, and a nuisance for others. Teaching early home routines, from the first day itself, sets the tone for her future behavior and habits. However, her proficiency in learning will directly depend upon your interest and commitment in training her.
Teaching your puppy the norms of â€˜community livingâ€™ and to obey commands should go hand in hand. You generally know what all commands to teach her, but mostly remain clueless on how to go about it. Therefore, it is important that before you unleash your homegrown ideas on your puppy, you acquire the correct method of training. You will be much better off by starting her training as early as possible. And remember that you need to be patient and understanding while teaching your pup. She is your loving companion who is trying her level best to understand, learn and respond to you. So keep your temper firmly in check at all times.
â€˜Sitâ€™ â€“ the first basic command
The first step in instilling some discipline in your puppy is to make her sit on command. The verbal command â€˜sitâ€™ is very simple and can be taught to a pup of any breed within four to six weeks. Of course, much depends upon your persistence and patience. Why â€˜sitâ€™ command is one of the easiest commands to teach is because of the natural construction of a dogâ€™s neck and spine that makes it physically impossible for them to look upwards. In order for a dog to look up at something high it must assume the sitting position. This fact is made use of while training a puppy to sit.
Training your puppy to sit
Let us follow the simple steps in training a puppy to respond to the â€˜sitâ€™ command:
Stand in front of your puppy, holding a treat above her nose but beyond her reach. This is important. If you hold it too high, she will tend to jump and reach for it and if you hold it too low, well, youâ€™ll find yourself without a treat!
Now, move the treat from above her nose towards her head and continue to trace this path towards her tail. All this while, keep calling your puppyâ€™s name followed by â€˜sitâ€™ in a clear and firm tone. For example, â€œRover, sit!â€ Use hand signals too, like moving your hand down for sitting. This helps the puppy in understanding the command better.
Most often than not, you will find that your puppy, in trying to maintain eye contact with the treat, is forced to sit down on her own. In case she keeps backing up, train her near a wall, which will prevent her from going in reverse indefinitely.
When she ultimately sits, pat her and praise her by calling out â€˜goodâ€™ or â€˜good puppyâ€™, even animals enjoy being praised! Offer her a treat but never let her grab it out of your hand. If she does, say a firm â€˜no’.
In case your puppy just refuses to give in and does everything but sit, hold the treat at the nose level and apply a slight pressure on her rear portion, pushing her gently down into sitting position. At the same time, give a slight pull at her collar. This will help her get the message of getting into a sitting position.
In all these attempts, if your puppy manages to acquire a posture that even vaguely resembles a sitting position, praise her abundantly and give her a treat. This will motivate her to do better the next time.
Donâ€™t let your puppy remain sitting forever. Without your release command she will not know when to get up. And in the absence of such a command, she may get confused. So, give her a command like â€˜releaseâ€™ or â€˜okayâ€™ or â€˜thank youâ€™, to let her know that it is time to get up.
Gradually, increase the duration of â€˜sitâ€™ commands and reduce the frequency of treats. Once your puppy begins to sit on your command for fifteen to thirty minutes, at a stretch, without a treat, she has mastered the â€˜sitâ€™ command.
Training your dog to obey commands requires patience, motivation and encouragement, not to mention a ready supply of treats! The training sessions should be short but frequent and should be repeated at regular intervals throughout the day. If you persevere, you will find that the day is not far when your darling puppy grows up into a â€˜responsible adultâ€™ and is praised by all for her immaculate manners!