Teaching Your Dog to Sit: A Step-by-Step Guide

A starting place for dog training

CockerSpaniel.org Volunteer Staff

2/20/20243 min read

1. Prepare for Training: Before you begin training your dog to sit, gather some small, soft treats that your dog finds irresistible. These treats will serve as a reward for your dog's good behavior during training sessions. Choose a quiet, distraction-free environment where you can focus on training without interruptions.

2. Capture Their Attention: To begin the training session, get your dog's attention by calling their name or using a verbal cue such as "Let's train!" or "Are you ready?" Use a cheerful and enthusiastic tone of voice to engage your dog and make training sessions fun and enjoyable for both of you.

3. Lure Into Position: Hold a treat in your hand and let your dog see and smell it. With the treat in your hand, hold it close to your dog's nose and slowly move your hand upward and slightly backward, guiding your dog's nose upward. As your dog follows the treat with their nose, their natural response will be to lower their hindquarters into a sitting position.

4. Reinforce the Behavior: As soon as your dog's hindquarters touch the ground and they are in a sitting position, immediately praise them and give them the treat as a reward. Use a marker word such as "Yes!" or "Good sit!" to signal to your dog that they have performed the desired behavior correctly. Timing is crucial, so be sure to praise and reward your dog promptly when they sit.

5. Repeat and Practice: Repeat the process of luring your dog into a sitting position several times during each training session. Practice short training sessions of 5-10 minutes, several times a day, to keep your dog engaged and focused. Be patient and consistent, and avoid overloading your dog with too much information at once.

6. Add the Verbal Cue: Once your dog consistently sits in response to the luring motion, it's time to add a verbal cue to the behavior. Just before you lure your dog into a sitting position, say the word "Sit" in a clear and confident tone of voice. Over time, your dog will learn to associate the verbal cue with the action of sitting.

7. Fade Out the Lure: As your dog becomes more proficient at sitting on command, gradually fade out the use of the treat lure. Instead of holding the treat in your hand, use an empty hand gesture to guide your dog into the sitting position. Continue to praise and reward your dog for sitting, even when you no longer use the treat lure.

8. Practice in Different Settings: Once your dog has mastered the sit command in a familiar environment, practice in different settings with varying levels of distractions. Start with quiet environments and gradually increase the level of distraction as your dog becomes more reliable. Practice sitting indoors, outdoors, at the park, and around other people and dogs.

9. Be Patient and Consistent: Remember that learning takes time and patience, so be patient with your dog and avoid becoming frustrated if progress is slow. Don't worry if your dog has a setback. Like people, dogs have good and bad days. Keep training sessions positive and enjoyable for your dog, and always end on a high note with plenty of praise and rewards for their efforts.

10. Generalize the Behavior: Once your dog reliably sits on command in various settings and situations, you can begin to generalize the behavior by incorporating it into everyday activities. Ask your dog to sit before meals, before going outside, before crossing the street, or before greeting visitors. Reinforce the sit command regularly to maintain your dog's obedience and good manners.


Teaching your dog to sit is a simple yet essential skill that lays the foundation for good behavior and obedience. By following these step-by-step instructions and using positive reinforcement techniques, you can teach your dog to sit reliably and enjoy a stronger bond with your furry friend. Remember to be patient, consistent, and persistent in your training efforts, and celebrate your dog's progress along the way. With time and practice, your dog will master the sit command and become a well-behaved and obedient companion for life.


Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most fundamental and useful commands you can teach them. Not only is it a basic behavior that promotes good manners, but it also serves as a building block for more advanced obedience training. Whether you have a new puppy or an adult dog, the process of teaching them to sit is relatively simple and can be accomplished through positive reinforcement and patience. In this guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of teaching your dog to sit effectively.