Teaching your dog to sit generally requires little effort and rarely the help of a professional trainer. Using your pup’s favorite treats, it’s probably one of the first behaviors you’ll easily teach. Although it seems so basic and boring, “sit” is actually one of the most helpful commands you can train. So even if you think teaching your dog to sit is one of the least impressive of tricks, make sure you don’t overlook its importance.
#1 – Convenience
Teaching your dog to sit is going to make life with your dog much more convenient for you. First, inside your house you will likely need your dog to stay put and out of your way at times. Maybe you’re cooking in the kitchen and don’t want your pup tripping you on accident, or you need to leave the door open without your dog running outside to take out the trash. Whatever the reason, a sitting dog is generally waiting patiently and is in a safe place without you having to worry about what they’re doing or getting into. Sure, there are more advanced training options (such as barrier training) to keep your dog out of an area and from running through doorways and gates, but teaching a simple sit command will generally offer the same benefits. The sit also makes handling multiple dogs much easier, as they will all stay relatively still while you do what you need to do, even if it’s as simple as putting leashes on to go for a walk.
#2 – Safety
You might wonder how teaching your dog to sit works as a precautionary action, but it does. Think of all the times your pup was wanted to walk right into the street without looking both ways (that’s our job, not theirs) or pulling hard on the leash to greet someone that clearly isn’t going to be friendly (like a neighborhood cat or skunk). If your dog is misbehaving, especially in a dangerous situation, using your sit command will be invaluable. Even if your dog is very reactive towards other dogs (or people or skateboards or whatever), having a solid sit command will put them under control without you having to physically struggle with the leash and be “that guy” with the crazy dog. The sit offers an alternative behavior for your dog to perform, taking their mind off the distraction. It will eliminate the risk of you being dragged to the ground and getting injured, and prevent your dog from entering a potentially dangerous situation. Again, consider that the sit command will help handle multiple dogs on a walk as well.
#3 – Civility
Very few people, including many dog lovers, enjoy having dogs jump on them. Dogs jumping up on people is not only rude, it can be dangerous. A lot of dogs are as big, or even bigger, than the people they are jumping on and can easily knock them over. You also don’t want to be the owner of the dog that jumps on counters and tables at restaurants, parks and friendly BBQs. Even if you are greeting someone on the street, at your local pet supply store or your veterinarian’s office, it’s very nice to have a dog that will sit politely for a greeting instead of jumping up and knocking people over or injuring them some other way. Neighbors and friends that are not dog savvy will appreciate this much more, especially if they are afraid of dogs. In short, having your dog sit when greeting people – friend or stranger – is the polite thing to do.