How To Train Your Dog To Sit

Learn how to train your dog to sit with our step-by-step guide. These simple puppy training tips will help you teach your Cocker Spaniel some good manners. When you've finished this one, move on to the next at the bottom of the page!

How To Train Your Dog To Sit 

Before you begin training your puppy, find somewhere quiet, away from distractions. If there are distractions, your puppy won't concentrate on the training, and you'll achieve nothing.

Beautiful blue roan cocker spaniel undergoing puppy obedience training.I'm sitting mum! Do I get a treat?
  • Say your puppy's name and when he comes over to you, use the 'Watch Me!' instruction to get his full attention.

  • Take a treat and hold it between your finger and thumb so that your puppy can see it.

  • Move your hand towards your puppy's nose, treat between your fingers, palm facing towards him.

  • As your Cocker moves to sniff the treat, lift your hand higher and slightly back above his head and towards his tail.

  • As your hand moves over your puppy's head, his nose should follow the treat. He will lift his head upwards and slightly backwards.

    In doing so, his bottom will automatically move towards the floor, and he will naturally end up in a sitting position.

  • Timing is the key here. Just as your puppy's bottom touches the floor, say the command word, 'Sit', and let your puppy have the treat.

  • Praise your little boy with the words, 'Sit, good boy, sit!' (This will help your puppy to associate his action (sitting) with a reward (your praise and a treat).

The movement of your hand towards your puppy's nose will eventually serve as your visual 'sit' request during subsequent puppy training sessions.

Repeat this training exercise between 5 and 10 times each day for a week until he's sitting the instant you use the command word.

Train Your Dog To Sit: Troubleshooting

My Puppy Turns Around!

Your puppy may try to turn around to get at the treat in your hand. This often happens when you've lifted your hand too far over your pup's head.

Try again, but this time, stop when your hand is about 7 cm above your puppy's head.

My Puppy Jumps Up!

If your little boy tries to jump up at you, or begs for the treat it's usually because you've lifted your hand too high over his head and he's trying to reach it, which is stopping him from sitting.

Try again, but this time keep your hand lower.

My Puppy Isn't Interested!

If your puppy isn't hungry, he may have no interest in the treat, and therefore no interest in the training. You're not going to get anywhere fast just now.

Wait until just before his next feed before trying again. You'll probably find he's a lot more cooperative when he's hungry!

Puppy Training Tips To Help You Get It Right! 

Timing is Key

When training a puppy, remember that any reward, whether it's praise or a treat, should be given very quickly so that your pup can form a link between his actions and the reward.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice puppy obedience training exercises whenever you get the opportunity, for example, before:

  • feeding him,
  • answering the door,
  • petting him,
  • giving him his favourite toy,
  • before putting your puppy on his lead.

This extra practice will help to reinforce your puppy's obedience training, embedding it into his mind.

Teach Your Puppy Both Verbal and Visual Commands

When you feel your Cocker Spaniel has mastered the 'Sit' obedience request, try using the verbal and visual commands separately to see if he understands.

Don't worry if he doesn't get it right. Just keep trying. If he continues to get it wrong, leave it for a little while and try again later. Stay upbeat, and don't let him see you're disappointed.

Begin To Remove Food Treats

As you train your dog to sit, don't offer your puppy a food treat every time he gets it right. If you do, it will teach him to follow commands only when food is proffered to him.

Instead, mix it up by rewarding him with extra praise and a stroke, a gentle scratch under the chin, or a bit of playtime.

Eventually, you will need to remove treats altogether. If you don't, you'll end up with an overweight dog. The reward will need to come in the form of praise and affection only.

Don't worry, your love towards him will be enough of a reward for your puppy.

Take Your Time; Don't Rush!

When you train your dog to sit, don't be tempted to move on too quickly.

Wait until you're sure that your Cocker Spaniel has thoroughly learned each lesson.

Your puppy should be able to follow either verbal or visual commands without the presence of a treat.

That's your goal!

Give Your Instruction Only Once

Once your Cocker Spaniel learns an instruction but then decides not to follow it (as they sometimes do) don't repeat the command word over and over again.

If you do, it will only serve to teach your puppy that he doesn't need to act on the first request. He'll learn that it's okay to sit on the third or fourth, or even the fifth instruction!

If you'd like to read more puppy training tips or learn more about puppy obedience, follow the links.

Training A Puppy To 'Stand'

Don't forget to continue to reinforce all puppy obedience training lessons at every opportunity!

When your puppy has mastered the 'Sit' request, you can be assured he's ready to advance his training and move on to training your puppy to 'Stand'.

Golden cocker spaniel puppy being trained to 'Stand' on command.

You might like these

Photo Credits for train your dog to sit:
1. Kerioak at