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Teaching Your Dog to Sit and Lie Down

Jun 24, 2008
There are many ways to train your dog - and not all of them involve spending money on expensive training classes. While these classes will help teach your dog to do more than sit and lie down, you don't necessarily need to enroll in them to have a well-trained puppy. Teaching your new puppy to sit and lie down is something you can do on your own - all it takes is a little knowledge and a small investment in dog treats.

Dogs - unlike cats and other pets - respond very well to treats. They seem to innately understand the concept of cause and effect, especially when a snack is involved. This means they usually catch on quickly to the concept of "do x and get y." In this case, "x" is either sit or lie down, while the "get y" part involves the dog receiving whatever kind of treat you have.

To start out your dog's training, speak the word "sit" in an authoritative manner. Don't yell it, but firmly state the word. Yelling at your dog won't help it learn - it will only scare the puppy, which isn't an effective method in teaching him or her. Sometimes, using the dog's name in combination with telling it to sit is helpful, especially once the puppy begins to respond to its name.

To get your dog used to sitting, first take your puppy to a quiet area of your house - you don't want any distractions for the first part of the training. Now, hold a small treat up in the air above the puppy's nose. Move the treat backwards over the puppy's head so it will naturally sit and raise its nose in the air. Say the word "sit" as it sits back so that it begins to associate the motion with the command. As soon as the dog sits down, give it the treat as a reward.

Once your puppy sits in a quiet area, slowly get it used to following your command in other rooms of your house, in loud places, and eventually outdoors. As your puppy gets better at sitting, stop offering treats all the time. Don't completely stop, though. The goal here is for your puppy to sit even without a reward so you don't have to carry dog treats with you everywhere. However, a treat every now and then helps reinforce the training.

The lie down command is the next step. You'll want your puppy to be sitting when you tell it to lie down, so you'll need to be fairly well along in the "sit" training before you start teaching him or her to lie down. Once it sits, gently pull the puppy's front legs down until it's lying on the floor. Give the command "down" or "lie down." At first, your dog will get up as soon as you remove your hand, but that's to be expected. However, the longer you withhold the treat and praise, the longer your puppy will stay down.

For both sitting and lying down, repeat the exercise a couple of times a day for about ten minutes or so. You don't want to tire out your puppy or yourself. Doing short training sessions is much more effective than doing one long session each week. By training your puppy every day for short periods of time, you'll cement the training in its mind and be on your way to having a well-trained dog.
About the Author
The author runs websites about dog names and has written many articles about female dog names for http://Names-For-Dogs.co.uk
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