The basic sit command is one of the essential skills every dog should learn, and easily mastered with which you can build on for more advanced training methods.
It will come in handy for keeping your dog at bay from jumping up on people, and basically a great control command if your dog's getting to be difficult in a situation.
This is probably the first thing to teach your dog, and it's important to get it right. Why?. It sets your dog up for success in understanding performance equals reward and sets the stage for any future training.
Once the basic sit command becomes familiar to the dog without the need for the lures, it's time to try a hand signal along with the vocal command.
With your right hand flat, palm facing your dog, bend your elbow and raise your right hand up to waist height. This is the most common, but anything will work as long as you keep it consistent. Personally, I also snap my fingers as I raise my hand.
Stand in front of you dog and combine both the hand and vocal commands. If the dog responds with a sit, reward with a treat and praise immediately.
If your dog doesn't respond, turn away for a couple seconds and try again. If unsuccessful after 3 attempts, return to using the "lure method".
Don't show any disappointment for not sitting, just go back one step and let the dog regain confidence.
After your dog sits reliably with hand and vocal commands, have him sit everywhere. Beside you, behind you, from a distance, even in another room. Practice using only hand or verbal commands at various times to ensure your dog has a firm grasp on the command.
Treats can be eventually phased out, but praise is always a welcome reward in the form of an ear scratch and a reassuring voice.
When on the leash, you may find your dog does not respond to the sit command as easily due to the hundreds of distractions. You may have to ease him into a sit using a simple technique.
Gently lift up and back on the leash to coax him into a sitting position and reward immediately. There is no yanking or jerking on the leash, just a nice even pressure to get his rear on the ground.
Practice makes perfect, and you'll find that your dog is as eager to learn as you are to teach.
Reminder to use sit before meals as it is a powerful reward for performing the command, and challenge your dog with longer and longer sit periods.
The next command of "stay" will be a breeze. Have fun with it!
Reward yourself for a job well done!