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The best way to train a puppy to sit

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Spaniel training is not difficult and with a little thought and creativity you can make it easier and more enjoyable for your dog to learn new skills.

If you are looking how to get a spaniel to sit, or any other dog, then this is the easiest and the best way.

Training a dog to sit is one of the first activities in any dog training and this method is a failsafe way to get quick success.

The best way to get a puppy to sit is to do it when you feed him at mealtimes. Hold his bowl of food in your hand and tell him to ‘sit’. He will jump around for a while as he tries to get the food, but will soon get fed up, when he will sit down to ‘think about things’. As soon as his bottom touches the floor, tell him to ‘sit’ again and give him his food. Repeat this at every meal.

Where to start

Training a spaniel starts with ‘sit‘ or ‘hup‘.

Whichever word you use is up to you.

I prefer ‘Hup’ as it is easier to say quickly (rather than sit) and, when you are out with your spaniel, walking up game with dog dog hunting in front of you, you may need to ‘spit’ the command out rapidly. So for me it’s ‘hup’. 

It also prevents any confusion for the retrievers that may be around as they are generally told to ‘sit’.

With dog training, as we’ll see in other posts, we are looking at progression, and one lesson and action generally leads onto another.

Just as with children and their development, our spaniel will grow and as he develops the lessons will become more advanced and we’ll see how the basics contribute.

We always take our time and understand that, as with people, not all dogs are equal.

Spaniels have different personalities and we’ll take our time and proceed with care.

So, the basic building block for spaniel training is the command to sit down and from this everything else grows.

spaniel command sit
Nimrod aged about 8 weeks demonstrating how to sit

Easiest way to train a puppy to sit

We introduce this command in conjunction with a hand signal from the very first day that our puppy is with us.  

Don’t worry. It’s easy and we are not going to alarm him.

In the past you’ve probably seen or heard of ‘dog trainers’ pushing a dog’s bottom to the ground or yanking the dog backwards on a lead until his butt touches the deck – all while yelling ‘sit’ or whatever. 

If you think about it, if you say ‘sit’ and then push your dog around he just might think ‘I don’t like that sit word, he pushes me around when he says it’.

So, with that thinking in mind we rarely, if ever, need to get physical with a dog, punishment and force does not work well when training dogs .

So….the secret is this.

It’s really simple and you’ll be successful straight away as we will introduce the command in a pleasurable situation – meal times.

The ‘sit’ command is best introduced at meal times and it’s easy.

This is how we do it:

  1. Hold your puppy’s bowl of food
  2. Tell your puppy to sit
  3. He probably won’t and will jump around trying to get to the food
  4. After a while he will get fed up and will sit down in frustration and to try to figure out what to do
  5. As soon as his bottom touches the floor, repeat the word ‘sit, and put the food down for him
  6. Repeat this process every time you give him his meals or treats
  7. He will soon begin to understand the command and will eventually sit when told

The best way to train a puppy to sit down

Take the puppy’s meal to him, do it by yourself and don’t have other people there, or cats or other dogs – no distractions.

Stand upright in front of your puppy and in a low clear voice command ‘hup’ or ‘sit, whichever you prefer, and, at the same time, raise your other hand, palm facing outwards, towards him.

Now – he won’t have a clue as to what you mean or want him to do. He won’t understand. Don’t panic.

The puppy will probably run around, jump up etc and generally get frustrated at not getting his food.

Just wait a few moments and, I tell you, he’ll sit down to think about it.

The moment his bottom touches the floor, put the dish in front of him so he can eat.

Some ‘trainers’ say that you should make the puppy wait until you tell him to eat – but I ask this, why make it more difficult and what’s the point of doing that?

So. Keep it simple.

You can also use tasty training treats for when you are out and about with your dog.

These tripe treats are loved by dogs and are ideal.

Our objective is getting a spaniel to sit down when told and to finally associate the raised hand signal with the action of sitting.

From now on every time you feed your puppy (or give him a treat ) you will always get him to sit down before he gets the food.

Moving forwards with the sit command

As your puppy becomes better at sitting down when you ask him to, you can gradually extend the time that he waits until he gets his food.

Don’t be excessive with this as you run the risk of him getting fed up and losing trust that you will give him his food or reward.

Eventually this basic command will develop into sitting at a distance, stopping on the whistle and dropping to shot.

So. work on the sit command with your dog.

Final Words

Dogs are intelligent and most dogs and puppies will get the idea quickly and within a few days. 

One word of caution. 

When you are successful with this, it can be tempting to keep telling your spaniel to sit.

Avoid doing this as, every time you give a dog a command you are also giving him the opportunity to ignore you, and, if you overdo any aspect of his training, you can make him bored and more tempted to disobey.

Try to prevent any problems from occurring by not overdoing things.

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Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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