How to Train Your Rescue Dog to Sit

How to Train Your Rescue Dog to Sit
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-3 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Rescue dogs are special guys. If your rescue dog is old enough to have been with any family for an extended period of time, he may already know the word or the command 'sit'. However, you should remember with rescue dogs, your little guy may have been in scary situations, abusive situations, or in homes where he was neglected and never trained. This might mean your rescue dog does not know such a simple command as 'sit'. Some rescue dogs are emotionally traumatized, and though they may have known commands in their past, they need to build trust with their new families and need to be retaught tricks they used to know. But with a lot of patience, love, and understanding and some delicious treats, you can teach your rescue dog not only to sit but also how to be a great pet. Offering your rescue pet a safe and healthy home will create a happy world for him to live where he will want to learn and thrive with you.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

Training your rescue dog to sit is not much different from training a young puppy to sit. However, if you have a rescue dog who has an abusive past, he may be fearful or apprehensive about your hand hovering over his head. Be cautious with rescue dogs, especially those whose past you are not familiar with, when it comes to putting your hands near their heads or faces because they may have come from an abusive past. One method includes gently pushing down on your dog's bottom to put him in a sit position instead of hovering treats over your dog's head. If your dog has been beaten or abused in any way, this may be a better method than one that may include your dog believing he may be struck by your hand. With time, patience, love, and understanding for the nuances that come with the rescue--and some tasty treats--your rescue dog can learn to sit on command.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

All you really need to teach your rescue dog to sit are some delicious treats and a little bit of time for some short training sessions. Keep these sessions brief and watch your movements, so you are not scaring your dog with fast-paced, quick motions.

arrow-up-icon

Top

The Treat Trainng Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Playtime

Make training fun by starting off with a little playtime with your new rescue dog. Play with a treat, toy, or a ball to get him excited. Be sure to offer him a few tasty treats while you are playing together. Starting with this playtime will increase the bond between you two.

2

Treat for command

Hold a treat up above your pup’s nose and move it toward the back of his head between his ears.

3

Movement

Your dog will be curious and may step backward or he may sit. If he sits, let him have the treat with a hug and praise. If he steps backward, pull the treat closer to his nose and try again.

4

Repeat

Continue to repeat using the treat to put your rescue dog into a sit position. Keep at it, your new pup will get the hang of it.

5

Command

Once he’s made it to a 'sit' position a few times, begin to use the command ‘sit.’

6

Practice

Keep practicing, offering your dog a reward each time he pairs the command with the action of sitting.

The Simple Sit Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Start with sit

Sit with your dog face to face.

2

Treat

Hold a treat up near his nose and say the command ‘sit.’

3

Treat up

Move the treat up a bit, holding it over his head.

4

Rear up

Your dog will follow the treat with his body, lowering his backside while lifting his mouth and nose up the the treat.

5

Reward

If your dog even starts to move into position, give him the treat. If he makes it to the sit position, give him love and praise along with the treat.

6

Practice

Keep practicing with your rescue dog. Be sure to take breaks and keep your training sessions short and free of distractions.

The Guide Method

Least Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Least Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Sit

Sit down in front of your rescue dog. Talk with him and give him lots of love and attention.

2

Pet

While offering love and attention, rub your dog’s back, bringing your hand closer to his bottom. Keep one hand on his chest and pet him all over.

3

Command

Say the word 'sit' and gently push on his chest while using your other hand to push gently on his is bottom or against the back of his hind knees.

4

Treat

Keep talking to your rescue pup while gently applying this pressure to get your dog to sit. Once his bottom touches the ground, give him a treat and some extra love.

5

Repeat

Continue to repeat these steps until you only have to say the command without coaxing with the gentle pressure.

6

Reward

Be sure to give your dog a treat each time his bottom touches the ground in the sitting position. If your dog is apprehensive at all, stop training and take a break. Be sure to give your little guy a reward for trying.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 12/07/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

Eli

Dog breed icon

Min. Schnauzer

Dog age icon

8 Years

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

User generated photoUser generated photo

My dog is 8 years old and my best friend. He was 6 weeks old when I got him. I'm 75 and live by myself so hes my baby. Anyway I had to work and never took the time to train him. Hes a good dog, I'm bad. HELP!

Jan. 16, 2021

Eli's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Janet, Check out the two videos below for a visual for how to teach pup to Sit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPNz6reMVXY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENcl04S6tio Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 18, 2021

Dog nametag icon

Apollo

Dog breed icon

Mixed

Dog age icon

1 Year

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

1 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

1 found helpful

User generated photo

We have tried holding the treat at his nose and dragging backwards to sit but he will not and just backs up or turns around and then loses interest. Is there another method to teach how to sit? He is a rescue and a bit timid and anxious as well.

June 20, 2020

Apollo's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kayleigh, First, I suggest practicing the training in a corner, with pup's back against the corner's walls. Second, slow the treat movement down a whole bunch so that pup can lick it the whole time it's being moved. If you don't see improvement doing the above, check out the article linked below. I would move onto the capture method found in the article linked below next, and the pressure method also found there as a last resort - since the capture method will be the least stressful for pup. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 23, 2020


Training assistant
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.