The most useful command to teach your puppy during its first year is the command, “Sit.” As an owner, if your puppy knows how to sit, you will have an easier time teaching your puppy to behave in public, greet guests without jumping on them, and settle down during any exciting situation.
Whenever you are training a puppy, it is important to be consistent with how you command your puppy, both in the tone of your voice and in words you choose. Your tone of voice should be firm. I use a tone that is slightly lower than my usual conversational voice so my puppy knows when I am speaking to him. It is also important to use a consistent word pattern when issuing a command to your puppy. I like to use my puppy’s name followed by a one-word command. “Spot. Sit.” Using my puppy’s name first gives him a couple of seconds to process that I am going to give him an instruction.
Once you have your command established, get a few pieces of your puppy’s favorite treat ready within easy reach to you, but, of course, not within easy reach to your puppy. You don’t want to use full size treats so you can either break up a small dog biscuit or slice up a small piece of meat to use as a treat.
Next, hold a piece of treat in your closed fist and let your puppy smell your hand. Give your command, “Spot. Sit.” Then slowly raise your hand up to where he can barely reach it, allowing your puppy to maintain eye contact with your hand. Say “Spot. Sit.” again and move your raised, clenched hand slightly towards the back of your puppy, when he strains back to look at the treat he should naturally sit. When he does sit, say “Good sit, Spot,” emphasizing the word sit and give him his treat. Continue repeating until all of the treats are gone. Repeat his “sit” training 1-3 times a day until he sits on command, without needing a treat.
To wean your puppy from the treats, occasionally use your clenched fist to teach your puppy to sit, but without a treat inside. When your puppy sits, open your hand and reward him with a “Good sit, Spot,” and a scratch behind his hears instead of the treat.
If your puppy, doesn’t sit when you raise the treat over his head, you may want to gently push down on his back near his tail to help him understand that you want him to sit. Another problem you may encounter is your dog may jump to reach the treat. If that is the case, then you are raising the treat too high; just out of reach is the perfect height for teaching the command “sit.”