The “Sit” command is one of the most important commands your dog can learn. If your dog sits on command he cannot be getting into other kinds of trouble, such as jumping on guests at your front door, or surfing your kitchen counters. A dog who sits on command is under control and listening to you, not doing what he wants to do and ignoring you.
“Luring”: With your clicker in one hand and a small piece of food in your other hand, hold the food at the level of your dog’s nose, but not close enough for him to try to snatch it. Slowly move your hand with the food up and back over your dog’s head. Your dog should raise his head back and lower his body at the same time, moving into a sitting position. Immediately CLICK! and reward your dog with the food as soon as his bum hits the ground. Practice this a few times until he realizes that when he sits, he gets a reward.
Now, ask for your dog to “Sit” when you begin, so your dog can connect the command to the behavior.
“Offering the Behavior”: This one is even easier. Wait for your dog to sit and then CLICK! and reward. Then after the behavior is learned introduce the command “Sit” and when he sits click and reward.
Remember dogs don’t understand English. So this is why you get your dog to perform the desired action or behavior, first. Once your dog is performing the behavior you then associate it with a word, such as “sit”.
Both methods require practice and using the Sit command so your dog associates the command with the behavior. After your dog has learned the command you can stop using the clicker.
Some dogs will have an easier time with “Sit” than others. Some breeds find it more or less difficult to sit than others, and some breeds almost never seem to sit. So the key to teaching the “Sit” command is practice, practice, practice!
Once your dog knows “Sit,” teaching “Down” is easy. From the sitting position you can click when your dog lowers himself to lie down, then reward. Or, once again, you can use a treat to lure him to the down position and click and reward, adding the command “Down.”
“Stay” may take a little more work since some dogs don’t like to be left alone. You should just move a little way from your dog at first. Then move back to him and click and reward him. Gradually move further and further away, then move back to your dog and click and reward. Eventually, you will be able to move all the way to the other side of the room and then the other side of the house – while your puppy obediently stays!
You can practice “Stay” from a standing, sitting or down position, and should practice from all of them at different times. But, at first, teach your dog the “Stay” command from the sitting position. Then from the “Down” position. Then from the “Standing” position. After he has mastered all three, you can mix them up.