Wouldn’t it be great if your dog could ask politely for what he wants, instead of jumping, mouthing, or barking? You can teach him to sit to do just that!

Week 1: Ask Your Dog to Sit ​

  • For about 7 days, ask your dog to sit for the things he really wants.
  • Here are some examples of what you might ask him to sit for:
    • Being pet.
    • To have a toy given to him or thrown for him.
    • To have his leash put on. (Only if he likes it!)
    • To sniff something he is really interested in that you’re holding.
    • To have the door open to go outside.
  • When he sits, immediately provide his reward! (If you wait too long while he’s learning, this may frustrate him. You can add more time later.)
  • If he doesn’t sit, avoid asking him repeatedly; just don’t give him the reward he wants. You can try again in a little bit.
  • Don’t ask your dog to sit for things he doesn’t like! This will punish him for listening.

Week 2 and Beyond: Automatic Sits

  • After a week, stop saying “sit” and wait for your dog to offer it on his own.
  • Many dogs will have already started doing this before day 8, and that’s great! Some will need a little bit of patience. If your dog gets frustrated, you can help him out by asking him to sit as a reminder.
  • Our goal is for our pup to automatically offer this behavior when he wants something. It should replace lots of jumping, mouthing, and/or barking!

“Not This Time”

  • We can’t always give our dogs what they want. We might not have time, or they might ask for something they can’t have.
  • We can teach our dogs a phrase that means “Thank you for sitting, but I can’t give you the thing you want right now.” This makes it much less frustrating for them!
  • When your dog sits for something and you cannot give it to him, say “Not this time” and then ignore him. Try to ignore him for at least a couple of minutes.
  • Some people like to add in a hand signal, such as waving one or both open hands.
  • After a few repetitions, you should notice your dog begins to disengage with you instead of continuing to ask for things or getting frustrated.

Tips & Troubleshooting

  • Beware the “extinction burst”! “Extinction” is when an animal stops performing a behavior. Many animals will try a behavior with increased effort just before giving up. (Such as jumping, barking, or whining.) If your dog gets a little worse while you are doing this, hold your course! This is usually a sign they are learning these behaviors don’t work anymore and it’s a little frustrating to them. (If your dog’s behavior is worse for more than 3 days, let us know.)
  • If your dog is not successful, contact your trainer! There are many more tips and tricks that can be used. (Often, all that’s needed is a small tweak.)