How to Train a Yorkshire Terrier to Sit

Easy
5-10 Weeks
General

Introduction

Imagine that you are checking out at a pet store with your dog beside you. You tell him to sit and he politely sits beside you while you finish up. Now imagine that you are out on a walk with your dog and see a neighbor that you would like to talk to. You tell your dog to sit and he calmly sits down beside you while you enjoy a conversation with your neighbor. Now imagine that you are at home and suddenly realize that someone has left your front door open. You realize that your dog is missing and you quickly run outside, calling his name. You spot him across the street, sniffing a bush. He hears you and turns toward you to come in your direction. You suddenly notice a car driving past. You yell for your dog to sit and sigh in relief as the car drives past and you spot your obedient Yorkshire Terrier sitting on the sidewalk. 

When your dog knows how to sit it is easier to take him places, to enjoy him, and to keep him safe. 'Sit' is an important command that can be used in many situations and provides a foundation for other, more advanced training. 'Sit" is also a fairly simple command, so it is a great command to teach to your dog as a first command.

Defining Tasks

'Sit' is a wonderful command for your dog to know. It is convenient, useful, and often necessary.

Because your Yorkie is small you will need to sit down or squat yourself in order to teach him. Once he understands the command, then you can gradually stand up more and more every time that he succeeds at doing the command, until you are standing up completely. Because dogs do not always generalize well, standing up gradually as you practice 'sit' will help him to become accustomed to listening to your command while you give it from a different position than the one he is used to.

If you choose to use 'The Pressure Method', when you lift your pup's chin and apply pressure to the base of his tail do not force him into the sitting position. Be very gentle with your pressure. Your goal should be to encourage him to move his bottom away from your fingers on his own, due to the pressure he feels. When he moves his bottom away from your fingers that should cause him to sit down.

Getting Started

To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats, a Ziploc bag or treat pouch, and an encouraging, patient attitude. If you are using 'The Lure Method' then you might also need a corner to practice the training in, if your pup tries to back up. If you are using 'The Capture Method' then you will need attentiveness and good timing. If you are using 'The Pressure Method', you will also need persistence and gentleness.

The Lure Method

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Step
1
Get ready
To begin, grab lots of small, tasty treats, and either a small bag or a treat pouch, to place the treats in. Next, call your dog over.
Step
2
Add command
With your dog facing you, show him a treat and place the treat in front of his nose. Tell him "Sit" and slowly move the treat from your dog's nose toward the back of his head, until he sits down in order to follow the treat.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as your dog's bottom touches the ground, then praise him and give him the treat. If your dog does not sit then repeat moving the treat from his nose toward the back of his head, until he does sit. If your dog backs up when you do this then practice this in a corner, with your dog's back to the wall.
Step
4
Repeat
When your dog sits, repeat luring him into the 'sit' position and rewarding him when he sits. Do this until he begins to sit as soon as you say "sit" or you show him the treat, before you have lured him into the position.
Step
5
Phase out lure
When your dog will sit before you lure him all the way into it, then begin to phase out the lure. To phase out the lure, tell your dog to sit and then wait seven seconds before luring him into the position with the treat. If he sits when you tell him to, before you lure him, then praise him enthusiastically and offer him five treats, one at a time. Repeat this until he sits consistently before being lured. Once he can do it consistently then only give him one treat instead of five when he obeys your command.
Step
6
Practice
When your pup will sit when told to, without the lure, then begin to practice in a variety of locations, around many different types of distractions, and from farther away, until your dog is a master of 'sit'.
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The Capture Method

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Step
1
Grab treats
To begin, place treats into a small Ziploc bag that you can place into your pocket, or into a treat pouch that you can keep with you.
Step
2
Watch
Whenever you are around your dog watch him carefully. When you see him begin to sit, tell him "sit", go over to him, and then praise him and give him a treat as soon as his bottom touches the ground.
Step
3
Repeat
Repeat telling your dog to sit every time that you see him sit, and praise him and reward him when his bottom touches the ground. Do this at least twenty-five times over the course of several days or weeks.
Step
4
Give command
After you have caught your dog sitting at least twenty-five times, then test whether or not he knows the command by calling him over and telling him to "Sit" when he is paying attention. If he sits then praise him enthusiastically and offer him five treats, one at a time. Offer him one treat when he sits when told to after that.
Step
5
Repeat again
If Fido does not sit when you tell him to, then watch for opportunities to catch him sitting again. After you have caught him sitting at least ten more times, then try calling him over and telling him "Sit" again. Repeat catching him sitting and rewarding him and then testing whether or not he knows the command, until he sits when told to.
Step
6
Practice
When your dog will sit when told to then practice until he can do it consistently. When he can do it whenever he is told to, then help him improve by practicing the command with him in new locations and around different types of distractions. Great distractions to practice around are people, dogs, smells, and sounds. Congratulations for teaching your dog to sit!
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The Pressure Method

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Step
1
Get set up
To begin, grab some of your dog's favorite treats, or you can use his dog food. Next, call him over to you in a calm location.
Step
2
Desensitize
Next, gently cup him underneath his chin with your hand and then praise him and give him a treat. Do this until he is comfortable being touched there. After he is comfortable being touched there, then place the fingers from your hand on either side of the base of his tail, right where his tail meets his lower back. When you touch him there then praise him and give him a treat. Repeat this until he is comfortable being touched there too. If your dog has ever shown any form of aggression or is likely to bite you if you touch him then do not use this method.
Step
3
Add command
When your dog is comfortable being touched under his chin and at the base of his tail, then tell him "Sit" and lift his chin up, while at the same time pressing the fingers from your other hand into the area at the base of his tail. Press in and downwards just enough to encourage him to lower his bottom to the ground. You are not forcing his bottom to the ground, but simply encouraging him to sit by applying a bit of pressure and lifting his chin up.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as your dog's bottom touches the ground, praise him, remove your hands, and give him a treat. If he does not sit the first time, then simply repeat lifting his chin, applying pressure to the base of his tail, and telling him to sit, until he does sit. When he does then reward him. If needs breaks between attempts, give them to him, and then try again later.
Step
5
Repeat
Repeat gently applying pressure to the base of your pup's tail, lifting his chin, telling him "Sit", and praising and rewarding him when he does. Do this until he beings to sit as soon as you say "Sit" or as soon as you touch him, before you apply any pressure.
Step
6
Remove pressure
When your pup begins to sit before you have applied any pressure, then tell him to sit but wait seven seconds before touching him or applying any pressure. Repeat this until he can consistently sit when told to, without your help.
Step
7
Practice
When Buddy can sit when told to, then practice telling him to sit in other locations, around distractions, and from farther and farther distances. Do this until he has mastered sitting. If he is struggling to sit in a new location, either decrease the amount of distractions to make it easier and then work up to that level of distraction again gradually, or give him a hint by apply gentle pressure again, and praising and rewarding him when he sits. Do that until he can sit in that environment as well.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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