Imagine crouching in a duck blind, perfectly still with your eyes on the horizon. Your Golden Retriever waits patiently by your side, clearly anticipating the excitement to come. You see a flock of ducks descend onto the pond, and your dog shuffles nervously beside you. You command your Retriever to 'sit' and take aim at a bird. The bird goes down into the water and you release your dog from his position with a "Fetch!". He shoots out like a rocket and plunges excitedly into the cold water, swimming fiercely to retrieve his prize.
In reality, your dog may have no idea what a duck is, and is far more excited about his tennis ball and warm spot on your couch than he is about plunging into cold water to retrieve your bird. But 'sit' can be just as important for your dog as it is for a trained hunting dog.
'Sit' is one of the most important and useful commands that you can teach your dog. You can tell your dog to sit to prevent him from running out into the road. You can tell your dog to sit when you are trying to have a nice conversation with a neighbor. You can tell your dog to sit when he is being rude and needs to earn things in his life in order to learn respect. You can tell your dog to sit to help him learn other tricks, like 'shake'. You can even tell your dog to sit when you want him to greet visitors in your home politely without jumping on them. 'Sit' can be used for so many things. So many that there is not enough space in this article to name all of them.
'Sit' is a fairly easy command to teach, and most dogs can learn it within one to three weeks with frequent practice. Once your dog has learned the command, expect it to take him longer than three weeks to able to perform it in any environment or around any distraction though.
To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats. If you are using the 'Lure' method, you will also need a corner to practice the command in. If you are using the 'Capture' method then you will also need a small Ziploc bag that will fit into your pocket, or a treat pouch. With all of the methods you will need patience, persistence, and a cheerful attitude.