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Rat Terriers are energetic and loving dogs that make great pets for a variety of families. Though they are small, they can be stubborn and not always willing to please, so starting training early will make this process easier. One of the first obedience tasks to attempt is to teach your Rat Terrier is to sit. This common command will prove to be the foundation of your training and one of the most useful tricks in your book.
Rat Terriers are not like many other small dogs. They love to run and hike outside and have the stamina to keep up for miles. They also love to play, so make training a fun exercise for him. If you start early and are consistent, training your Rat terrier to sit will be one of the best investments in his training. When he sits on command, you can teach him more tricks, keep him safe, and make sure he's paying attention to you.
The most important thing to remember is that rat terriers want to have fun. They aren't as interested in pleasing you as other dog breeds, so make sure training is fun and rewarding. Make it part of your daily routine and set aside 15 minutes twice daily to work on training commands like 'sit'. The best time to teach is after the dog has had some time to play and just before he's had food so he'll be more motivated to get treats.
Make sure you get on his level by either sitting or kneeling, or bring him up to your level by placing him on a crate or stool. Use a firm but gentle voice. You are much bigger than he is and a loud, angry voice will intimidate him. You want training to be fun and rewarding for him, so have patience and give him time to try. With time he'll learn that sitting leads to good things like treats and games, and he'll be happy to listen to your command.
'Sit' is a simple command, but you'll still need a few items to make sure you're successful. You can pick these up at a local pet store or use items from around the house.
- Tasty treats for small dogs
- A quiet place to learn
- A leash and collar
- Lots of patience
Below you'll find three methods to teach your Rat Terrier to sit. Read through each one and determine which one will work best for you. With some commitment, your dog will know how to sit on command and will be ready for the next trick.
The Capturing Method
Load the clicker
Mark good behavior using a clicker for better accuracy. Start by loading it. Click the button and immediately give your dog a treat. Do this 10 times so he associates the click with a treat.
Watch for the behavior
Watch your dog closely and each time he sits, click the clicker the second his butt hits the floor and give him a treat.
Give it a name
It won't take your dog long to figure out that sitting down makes you happy and willing to give him a treat. When you see him sitting purposely, start to say "sit" after you click and before you give him a treat.
Test the association
After a week or two of clicking and saying "sit," ask him for a 'sit' verbally. Say "sit" and if he does, give him lots of treats and praise. Make sure to keep practicing.
Up the difficulty of the trick by asking him to sit in more and more distracting areas. Try it with other people in the house, out on a walk, and even at a dog park. Each time he listens to you, give him lots of praise and treats.
The Luring Method
Hold a treat up
While your dog is standing, hold a treat just above his nose.
Slowly move it back
Slowly move the treat behind his head, he should try to follow it by bringing his head back.
Reward a 'sit'
Naturally, he should sit down to try and reach the treat. As soon as his butt hits the ground say "yes" and give him the treat.
Keep practicing until he starts to sit as soon as you move the treat back.
Name the command
Start to say "sit" right when he sits and before you give him a treat.
Remove the treats
When he's sitting as soon as you give him the command, start to slowly treat him less and less.
Sit with distractions
Before you're finished training 'sit', practice the command while outside on walks. Make sure he's on a leash and paying attention. Being back the treats and give him a reward each time he sits instead of getting distracted.
The Modeling Method
Start in quiet spot
Start training in a quiet spot without too many distractions.
Guide the 'sit'
Gently guide his hind end down into a 'sit'. As soon as he is in the position say "sit" and give him a treat.
Keep practicing this until you feel your dog move into a 'sit' as soon as you ask.
Remove the guide
Start to ask for sit before guiding him down. When he sits without your hand guiding him, give him lots of treats and praise.
Take it outside
When your dog is consistently sitting for you in a quiet place, practice outside with distractions. Don't be afraid to gently guide him at first and work your way up until he is confidently sitting at your command.
By Katie Smith
Published: 02/27/2018, edited: 01/08/2021