The “Sit” command is an easy way to have your puppy show off his good manners. He can sit when visitor comes, when you meet a friend out walking, when you are preparing his dinner, or when he has to wait for just about anything. It is also one of the easiest exercises to practice because you can ask him to sit whenever and wherever you like. A Sit is especially good for little everyday things, like having his leash attached.
The command is to say his name and then “Sit!” All commands should be preceded by the dog’s name; that is to get his attention so he knows you are not talking to anyone else. Puppies are proud to have a name. It is when they reach adolescence that they, like other teenagers, pretend they do not hear you.
Any time you see the puppy about to sit, quickly say, “Sit, good dog.” If he is already sitting nicely give him a “good sit” reward. The easiest way to teach a young puppy to sit is to get his attention with a treat held in front and just above his nose to make him look up. Then slowly move the treat backward over his head. Because he wants to keep his eye on the treat, his backside will have to drop to the floor.
It takes a little practice (on your part, too) but it is a tried and true means of getting an unforced sit. As he assumes the position, give the command, “Sit” and hand out a tiny portion of the treat. That is motivational teaching. The puppy performs the desired action by himself.
The other way is to have the pup beside you on your left side, hold a treat in front of him with your right hand, and gently press down on his hindquarters with your left hand. With a large puppy, you could put your left arm around his hindquarters and with a gentle forward motion, bend his knees, forcing the sit.
As you are coping with all that, brightly say, “Sit.” If you followed the first method, and he is doing a prompt Sit every time you give the command, you will soon graduate to using just the hand signal, making the same upward motion with your hand, palm up as you did in raising the treat over his head, and the pup will do a very nice sit.