Teaching a dog to sit is often our first step and it’s an excellent default behaviour when our dogs want to “say please” for something they want. 

Ideas for verbal cues: “sit”, “park it”, “off”, 

Step 1: Lure the sitWith your dog in a standing position, bring a treat from their nose slowly moving the treat slightly upwards and back towards their tail.Keep the treat lure close to your dog’s nose—if you move your hand up too quickly or too far away from their mouth, they may jump up, back up, or give up.As soon as your dog’s hindquarters hit the ground, say “yes!” (or click) and release the treat for them to eat while they are still in the seated position. You can toss a treat away to reset. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 repetitions.Step 2: Fade the lureWith your dog in a standing position, cup your empty hand as if you have a treat in it. Raise it in the same motion as the lure – slightly upwards and back towards their tail.As soon as your dog’s hindquarters hit the ground, say “yes!” (or click) and feed a treat from your pouch while they are still in the seated position.If your dog stands up after the mark and before you have a chance to feed the treat, simply lure them back into the seated position to release the food. You can toss a treat away to reset. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 repetitions.Step 3: Clean up the hand signalWith your dog in a standing position, cup your empty hand and without bending your body, raise it by bending at the elbow. When your arm is bent at a 90º angle, freeze and wait.As soon as your dog’s hindquarters hit the ground, say “yes!” (or click) and feed a treat from your pouch while they are still in the seated position.If your dog stands up after the mark and before you have a chance to feed the treat, simply lure them back into the seated position to release the food. You can toss a treat away to reset. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 repetitions.Step 4: Cue itWith your dog in a standing position, say “sit” in a gentle voice, wait 1 second, then offer the hand signal, freeze and wait.As soon as your dog’s hindquarters hit the ground, say “yes!” (or click) and feed a treat from your pouch while they are still in the seated position.If your dog stands up after the mark and before you have a chance to feed the treat, simply lure them back into the seated position to release the food. You can toss a treat away to reset. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 repetitions.Step 5: Drop the hand signalWith your dog in a standing position, say “sit” in a gentle voice, freeze and wait. Your arms should remain still or behind your back.As soon as your dog’s hindquarters hit the ground, say “yes!” (or click) and feed a treat from your pouch while they are still in the seated position.If your dog stands up after the mark and before you have a chance to feed the treat, simply lure them back into the seated position to release the food. You can toss a treat away to reset. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 5 repetitions.Step 6: Take it on the roadTake it on the road! You may have to start from scratch in a new environment but the steps will go a LOT faster as your dog already knows them, but not how to apply it to different environments. Alternate your use of the silent hand signal and the verbal cue without a hand signal. It’s ideal to have a dog who will respond to both independently!Some situations in which to practice:

  • at home
  • in the yard
  • on leash on the sidewalk
  • at the crosswalk
  • before getting into the car
  • before opening the front door
  • before giving a food toy
  • when you arrive home after an absence
  • before throwing the toy