Remember: all you need is a quiet room, a rope or leash and lots of treats (probably broken into smaller bits), and knowledge of what to do. Every day, review what your dog already knows before learning new things. Use your happy and kind voice, and be ready to lavish lots of praise onto your dog for even the smallest approximation to what you want  him to do. If he does not do what you want him to do, just keep up the command “sit” and prodding him to do it. Your dog has to be calm and you will need a low-to-no distraction environment. If your dog is a little hyper, you must stop and focus on that. We put Lennie on his side, on the floor and that really helps him calm down if he is hyper.

How to teach your dog to ‘sit.’

Facing your dog, either standing or sitting on a chair leaning over, hold his head up with one hand while  pushing his rear end down with the other hand, saying ‘sit’ over and over again. Do NOT say ‘sit down.’ Just say ‘sit,’ and while he is sitting, praise, pet and give him a treat. Do not show him the treat during the ‘sit’ because most dogs will focus on the treat and not internalize the command and the movement they are supposed to do. I have to show Lennie my empty hands! After sitting, give the treat with praise and petting, and know that most dogs then try to stand up before you want him to. If your dog does that, just push his hind end down again, repeating ‘sit’ and rewarding with your happy voice and a treat. Repeat this 10-15 times until he does it very well. Our little dog, Bella, sits very rapidly (she is so cute) and wants that treat!

The hand signal is your index finger pointed at him, jerked down a little while you say ‘sit.’ You can gradually move away from your dog, still practicing the ‘sit’ command. If you dog does not get up, say “up!” and using both hands, indicate ‘up.’ Repeat this many times, maybe even 15 or more times. When your dog’s performance wanes, or after 15 or so minutes, stop.

Every day, review the ‘sit’ command as well as ‘come here’ and other things your dog has learned. As your dog learns to ‘sit’ when you say so, start going to different parts of the house and repeating the command. Then, go to the porch or deck, and eventually take the dog to a sidewalk or another area to practice. Your dog will need your help in generalizing his knowledge to different situations, and your dog will need to practice overcoming his own distractions. You may want to re-read the article about state-dependent effects to understand this phenomenon well.

Lennie is 1/2 terrier, which means he is very acutely aware of the myriad of smells in the environment. Teaching him to only pay attention to me has had to take the forefront in his training. We use aroma therapy for our dogs, and it really works to calm them down. You can obtain it in a variety of ways from any type of pet store or outlet.