Teach Your Dog The Sit Stay Command – A Step By Step Guide

This training method uses a clicker and rewards to teach a dog to sit and stay. The dog is first taught to associate the clicker with a reward. You click and then reward. The click is used immediately the dog performs or approximates the required action. This removes any confusion in the dog's mind about why he is being rewarded.

Step 1: Lure Your Dog Into Position

Step 1 Lure Your Dog Into Position

The first step in the training is to lure the dog into position. If you hold the treat above his head he is likely to lower his butt and move his head up. As soon as he does this click the clicker and give him a treat.

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Step 2: When The Dog Is In The Sit Position Click And Reward Repeatedly

Step 2: When The Dog Is In The Sit Position Click And Reward Repeatedly

When the dog is in the position repeatedly click and treat as fast as you can while he stays there.

This is known as marking the behavior. As your dog starts to do well you can increase the time between giving the treats.

If your dog gets up, lure him back into position and then reward.

Step 3: Use A Microword Such As Yes When The Butt Goes Down

Step 3: Use A Microword Such As Yes When The Butt Goes Down

The dog will begin to associate the clicker with getting a reward. Because you can sound the clicker immediately when the dog performs or approximates the required action he knows exactly what he is being rewarded for.

If you don't have a clicker you can use a short word such as "yes".

Step 4: Teach Your Dog A Release Cue

Step 4: Teach Your Dog A Release Cue

Once the dog can stay in position for 5-10 seconds you can add your release cue. Use a word such as “release” as your cue. If he does not get up immediately take a step back and pat your leg to encourage him get up.

When he gets up reward him. The plan is to teach him to stay in the sit position until he is told he can move.​

Step 5: Do Not Give The Release Command And Move At The Same Time

Step 5: Do Not Give The Release Command And Move At The Same Time

Don't use the release cue and move at the same time. This is teaching him that the movement is the cue to get up rather than the command word.

Step 6: Remove The Lure And Add A Hand Signal For Sit

Step 6: Remove The Lure And Add A Hand Signal For Sit

The next step is to replace the lure with a hand signal. Pretend to offer him a treat and show him a hand signal. Reward him with a click and a treat when he sits. This is to teach him to sit without having the food in your hand. You can gradually have your hand further from your dog's face.

Step 7: If Your Dog Finds It Difficult Go Back A Step

Step 7: If Your Dog Finds It Difficult Go Back A Step

If your dog gets stuck go back a step and make it easier.

Step 8: Proof The Release Cue

Step 8: Proof The Release Cue

Proofing the release cue is the most important part of teaching the sit/stay behavior. You have to make it clear to the dog that the only word that means they can get up is your chosen release cue. They have to ignore all other words and stimuli. If you don't proof for it, the dog will get up when there are other distractions or when he has been sitting too long or if you move too far away.

Step 9: Add A Variety Of Different Distractions

Step 9: Add A Variety Of Different Distractions

You introduce a distraction and click as the distraction is being presented. Your can slowly increase the time between the distraction being presented and the click. Add a variety of distractions. The more proofing you do, the more reliable your sit/stay will be.

Step 10: Don't Always Make The Training More And More Difficult

Step 10: Don't Always Make The Training More And More Difficult

Don't always make the training more difficult. If you were teaching your dog to stay as you move away, vary the distance - longer and shorter. Your dog shouldn't know when the treat is coming. So you could take 10 steps, click and reinforce. Then take 3 steps and click and reinforce and so on.

Step 11: Introduce Different Types Of Movement

Step 11: Introduce Different Types Of Movement

When your dog is doing really well you can start adding different types of movement. By proofing the release cue it is easier to add duration to a stay than trying to add duration first.

Check out this YouTube video by kikopup to see this training method in more detail.

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Teach Your Dog The Sit Stay Command - A Step By Step Guide
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Teach Your Dog The Sit Stay Command - A Step By Step Guide
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A step by step guide using images and video to teach your dog to sit and stay.
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A step by step guide using images and video to teach your dog to sit and stay.
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