Train your dog to sit on cue, promptly and reliably, in any situation

And your dog will always be in control and easy to include in all aspects of your life

It's truly amazing how many dog behavior problems you can resolve with a simple Sit-Stay. Jumping up, Pulling on leash, Running away, Chasing, Humping, the list goes on...

If you can tell your dog to SIt-Stay and they do so promptly and reliably, without the need for any food lures or other training aids, then your dog is always in control and they will be welcome almost anywhere they go.

Teaching your dog to Sit on cue is the easy part. Teaching them to do so reliably and promptly in the face of distractions and exciting environments is where the real work comes in. But when you make training fun, it's not really work, it's play. This document outlines all the steps you would take to teach your dog a Super Sit.

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Or you can download the PDF version here: Step by Step to a Super Sit.pdf

You are welcome to share this document with anyone. If you'd like to learn more about how to teach your dog a Super Sit, you should keep reading and then enroll in our free course; Six Simple Steps to Solve Your Dog's Behavior Problems.

Or, join the Top Dog Academy to get access to ALL of our online courses, plus our private support community, for just $20/month.

Getting reliable responses in the face of distractions takes practice, but the good news is, every step you take on this journey will make it easier and more enjoyable to live with your dog. We make training fun so the journey is as worthwhile as the destination!

If you can't get your dog's attention with a food lure, the first step is simply waiting until you can. Work in a small confined room with as few distractions as possible and wait until your dog comes to you. Once they do, you can start luring. Or you can wait until they Sit all by themselves, and then reward them.


Lure Reward Training is usually the fastest and easiest way to teach your dog to perform a behavior on cue. There are four steps: 1) Give your dog the cue (Say "Sit"). 2) Use a lure (move a food treat from in front of your dog's nose, up and back over their head) so that the dog 3) Performs the desired behavior (your dog's nose goes up until their butt hits the ground) and then 4) Give your dog a reward to reinforce the desired behavior.


Food is a wonderful tool for luring dogs because dogs like to sniff food, so when you move the food, your dog's nose usually follows. However, you want to end up with a dog that will listen to you when you don't have a food lure so start luring your dog with an empty hand and when they do what you've asked, give them a big reward to teach them that empty hands are worth following!


Dogs naturally pay attention to body language. They will learn to watch the movement of your body and they will quickly learn that when you hold and move your hand a certain way, it means that, if they Sit, they will get a reward. You can gradually modify the movement from the original motion you used when luring, into a Hand Signal. For Sit we suggest you hold one hand in front of you, palm up, and then lift your hand up and towards your body as you bend your elbow.


This one can be tricky because dogs do not naturally pay attention to spoken language. To get your dog to pay attention to the words you say, you'll first want to teach them that they should pay attention to any word that comes after their name, as it could be an instruction. Then, to teach them the word Sit you must remain perfectly still as you say "Sit" then wait half a second and then perform the hand signal they are familiar with. Do this enough times and they will learn to anticipate the hand signal when you say "Sit" and they will Sit before you perform the hand signal. When they do this, give them a BIG reward.


You shouldn't reward your dog every time they Sit when you ask. It might seem counterintuitive but you will actually improve their motivation if you only reward some of the time. Start asking your dog to perform several behaviors in a row before giving them a treat, or ask your dog to remain in Sit-Stay for a longer period of time before giving the treat. If you always reward your dog with a treat for every sit right away, they will come to expect and depend on that, and it will be difficult to get your dog to do anything without a treat on hand.

You should never stop rewarding your dog. Yes, you should phase out the NEED for a food reward after every successful Sit, but  you should continue to reward your dog for good behavior for the rest of their life, using rewards intelligently to maximize motivation. First of all, you should use Differential Rewards. This means give better rewards for better performances. Don't give a single food treat for every Sit, instead, most Sits get a simple "Good Dog" but impressive Sits get several food treats and the best Sits get a bunch of high-value treats fed one at a time with heartfelt praise. Second of all, use Life Rewards. These are anything you can use as a reward in training that isn't food. You can use anything your dog likes as a reward, if you can control your dog's access to it. You can use praise, petting, toys, games, play, freedom, or any activity your dog enjoys. Often, these end up being far more powerful than food for most dogs.

Formal Name

You don't actually need your dog to listen to you all of the time. You just need your dog to listen to you when it's really important. By using a Formal Name, you can tell your dog when it's important, and when you need them to listen to you. If you use their regular, informal name, and they ignore you, you can let it slide. But when you use their Formal Name, it means you will follow up with them until they do what you ask, so they might as well do it now so they can get on with whatever it is they want to do.

Follow Up

If you use your dog's Formal Name to ask them to do something and they don't do it, you can't just let it slide, or your dog will learn that they can ignore you. Instead, you must Follow Up until they do what you asked. Following Up means going backwards along this journey, using the tools that you've been phasing out, like hand-signals and food lures. It often means moving towards your dog until you're standing directly in front of them. You don't need to get angry, but you can't give up. Stand in front of your dog with a food lure trying to get them to Sit for as long as you have to until they do. Once they do, tell them Good Dog, then take one step backwards and ask them to Come and Sit. If they do it right the first time, you can release and/or reward them. 

Proof Distance

The further you are away from your dog, the less likely they are to do what you ask. If you want your dog to listen to you when they are far away, you need to gradually build this ability. Use their Formal Name and ask them to Sit when they are at a small distance. If they don't Sit, Follow Up. First, use a hand signal, then move closer. Keep at it until they Sit. As your dog gets better at Sitting at a distance, make sure to give them extra high value rewards for when they do particularly well.

Proof Duration

It's very useful if you can get your dog to Sit and have them remain in that Sitting position for a little while. The longer you ask your dog to do a Sit-Stay, the more likely they will be to break from their Sit. Ask your dog to Sit-Stay and watch them. They will usually look away before they move away so pay attention to where they're looking and refocus them on you if their eyes begin to wander. 

Proof Distractions

The more interesting and exciting the environment is, the harder it will be to get your dog to Sit or Stay. Practice in the presence of progressively more challenging distractions. It will be easier if you work around distractions that you can control. For example, if you work with a friend of yours who is trying to entice your dog with a toy as a distraction while you are training your dog, then they can stop enticing your dog if you are having trouble getting your dog's attention, and they can adjust the excitement level to match the level of training your dog currently has, so that you're always working with a food amount of challenge.

Mix it Up

Proof your dog's Sit and Stay skills at a distance, for longer durations, and around distractions in all sorts of different combinations. Use their Formal Name and Follow Up as necessary. The more scenarios you practice the more likely it will be that your dog will Sit when you really need them to.


If you'd like to learn more about how to how to teach your dog a Super Sit, you should enroll in our free course; Six Simple Steps to Solve Your Dog's Behavior Problems.

Or, join the Top Dog Academy to get access to ALL of our online courses, plus our private support community, for just $20/month.

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