Teach Your Dog To Sit

teach your dog to sit

The Sit Command

Difficulty: Easy

Equipment: A handful of training treats, a clicker (optional)

Prerequisites: Watch Me! (optional)

Training Sessions: 5-10 minutes a day 2-3 times a day




Teaching your dog to “sit" is always fun because it’s (usually) easy! It’ll likely be one of the very first things you teach your new pup. Successfully teaching “sit” will give you and your dog a win to celebrate and it will introduce her to the whole concept of training. 


The sit command sets the groundwork for other commands like “stay" and “down" and it’ll also be your go-to command when your dog is acting up. Dog jumping up on the mailman? Sit. Dog nosing you and asking you for food? Sit. Dog sees a scary skateboard while you’re out on a walk? Sit. Your dog is going to be a sitting machine in no time! 

Since this is typically the very first thing we teach our dogs, I’d recommend you head over and check out positive reinforcement training 101 before you start. This'll give you some important background how dogs learn and how we can set them (and ourselves) up for success. 

I’ll wait. 

Okay ready? Let’s do this!


What Does Sit Look Like?

When your dog is in the proper sitting position, her entire butt will be planted on the ground. Some dogs like to cheat and hover (which actually seems harder than just sitting… dogs are weird) so make sure you see a full, confirmed “sit” before you reward your dog.  Some breeds, like dachshunds, are so low to the ground that you can barely tell they are sitting, which is just adorable. Keep an eagle eye out though, because you want to mark the action and then reward it as soon as your dog sits.

Get Ready

Whenever you teach your pup something new, be sure to start in a quiet, familiar place - like your living room or kitchen. Try to minimize distractions as best you can. Before you begin, make sure you have a handful of delicious “high value" training treats to offer your dog. These treats should be soft and small. Break ‘em up into small pieces because we’re going to use a lot of them.

Step 1: Lure


  1. Get Bella's attention and show her that you’re holding a treat with your right hand. If she’s not focused on you, let her smell the treat between your fingers.
  2. Crouch down and hold the treat just above her nose (not too high or she might jump and grab it).
  3. When Bella is looking at it, slowly move the treat back towards her ears, right above her head. Bella will track the treat with her gaze and will likely fall into a sit position as you’re moving the treat out of view.
  4. As soon as her butt lands on the ground, click! or say "yes!” to mark the behavior and give Bella the treat with excited praise, “Good girl!" Repeat this sequence at least 12 times until your pup sits at the sight of the treat above of her nose. Good dog!



Step 2: Signal

After your dog has successfully done step one at least 12 times, you’re ready to introduce the hand signal.

1. Grab a treat with your left hand now and hide it behind your back. Show Bella that you don’t have a treat with your right hand, but continue to do the exact same motion with your right hand that you were doing before. Take your hand in a fist and slowly raise it above your puppy's head. 

2. When she sits, click! or say “yes!” to mark the behavior, then praise your dog and pull the treat out from behind your back to give to her. Try this for a few more times to solidify the behavior. Note that we haven’t said the word “sit” yet.

3. Now try it with the “sit” hand signal, which is an open palm facing toward you, elbow bent. Practice in the same way - treat behind your back with your left hand, giving the hand signal for “sit.” When she sits, click! or “yes!” and be extra excited when you give her the treat. She’s learning! 

Step 3: Add The Verbal Cue

  1. Now you’re ready to add the cue word to the command. You’re going to repeat the exact sequence, but now when you do the hand motion, you’ll also say “sit!” Since she’s already learned the motion and the hand signal, when you introduce the word, it’ll be easier for her to make the connection.

  2. Repeat several times, using the word "sit" each time you do the hand signal. Make sure you continue to mark the action “yes!” or a click as soon as she sits and then enthusiastically praise your dog and give her the treat.

  3. Once you’ve done this at least 12 times, set up for the trick like normal - left hand behind your back - but now just say the word “sit!” once and look at Bella. It will likely take her a few seconds to think about what she should do, but hopefully at this point she sits. Mark the behavior “yes!” and give her a few treats with enthusiastic praise! Her neurons are firing!

If you try to say just the verbal cue and she doesn’t sit automatically, don’t worry about it! She’s just not quite ready yet. Go one step back and practice doing the motion with the verbal cue several more times before trying again. 

You could be stuck on this stage for days. This is all totally normal! Stay patient and continue to practice until she gets it.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Once your dog knows how to sit on cue in a quiet spot in your house, work on training the sit command in various locations with varying levels of distractions. In the dog training world, this is called “generalizing” and it ensures that Bella doesn’t think she only has to sit when you are in your living room, next to your couch. 

Keep in mind that every time you change things up for your dog, she might regress just a little bit. Sitting on command outside is much harder than sitting in your quiet kitchen. You won’t lose your patience because you’ll be prepared for this. If Bella doesn’t listen to “sit” when you go outside, simply take away some of the distractions, start back with step one, and lure her into a sit a few times. This time, she’ll get it faster, because she’s already been through this process. She will begin to learn that “sit” means “sit” wherever she is!

Incorporate the “sit" command with daily tasks so you continually reinforce it. Ask Bella to sit before you open any door, before you put down her food bowl, or before you cross the street on a walk. (These are all things she wants, so she is learning to that sitting brings good things.) This will solidify the command and have the bonus effect of teaching her good manners.

Once your dog becomes an expert at sitting, you won't have to give her a treat every time. But it is nice to give her some treats occasionally so she never knows if they coming or not. Rewarding with excited praise and a chest scratch is always a good idea.

Tips & Common Problems

If you can’t get your pup to sit, don’t get frustrated! First, make sure your training sessions are short and upbeat, in various locations around your house and outdoors. Be patient and consistent.

If your dog does not sit on her own after several tries, keep trying to lure her with the treat and make sure she can smell how yummy it is. If she really doesn’t seem to care, try to use higher value treats, like cubes of cheese, boiled chicken, or hot dog pieces. If she still doesn’t care, do this in the morning after she potties and before you feed her so you know she’s hungry.

Keep in mind that dogs lose their appetite when they are scared or nervous, so make sure you start practicing in a quiet, safe space and then work up to distractions.

Do not yell at your dog or force her to sit with your hands. Yelling will teach her to be afraid of you and forcing her to sit won’t teach her anything either. You want your dog to gain confidence and start making decisions on her own.

If you are still having trouble getting your dog to sit with upgraded treats, try catching the behavior and then marking it that way. Grab some treats and watch your dog. Anytime she naturally sits, say the word “sit” and then praise and reward her. You can also use your clicker to mark her action when you see her starting to sit and then praise her. Once she connects the action with the reward, she’ll catch on. ;)

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Teach Your Dog To Lie Down

teach your puppy down






teach your dog to lie down


“Down" is an essential command for your pup to know. It’ll come in handy when you want your pup to relax or be low key when you have friends over. You’ll use it when you go to cafes with your dog or bring him to the office with you. “Down" is also the first step to several dog tricks, like play dead or roll over.

What Does Down Look Like?

When your dog is in the proper down position, his chest, elbows, and lower legs will all be in contact with the ground. Watch for the fake out hover that some dogs like to do and only reward your dog when he is truly lying down and in contact with the floor. 

Note: “Down” is easier to teach if your dog already knows “sit” so you’ll want to make sure your dog has that one down before you tackle this one. If you’re not there yet, back up a step and work on that first.  

Training Your Dog to Lie Down

As always, you’ll want to start your training in a quiet area that is free of distractions. Put the toys away, lock your roommate or your kids out of the room (sorry!), and shut the door if possible. You’ll only work on this for 10 minutes at a time and everyone will be fine without your attention for that long. It’s time to focus on training.

Make sure you have plenty of small, tasty training treats to offer your dog. If you’re using a clicker, grab that too. 

Okay, let’s go!

Step 1: Lure

  1. Get Charlie's attention and show him that you have a treat in your hand. Let him smell it.

  2. Ask him to “sit” and praise him when he does, but don’t give him the treat yet. This will let Charlie know that he’s not done yet and will keep his attention on you.

  3. Bring the treat up to Charlie's nose and slowly move it down toward the ground, close to his body. Once you reach the floor, slowly pull it away from him, along the floor.

    Charlie should be following the treat with his nose and in an ideal world, he will eventually fall into a “down” position. Mark it with a “yes!” and praise him when he does!

*This is going to take some patience. Your puppy is not likely to magically fall into “down” on his first try - he has no idea what you want from him yet! Just keep repeating the luring motion.

If your pup stands up out of his sit, say “oops!”, which will be your way of telling him that he did not earn a treat, ask him to sit again, and then try to lure him down with the treat. He’s not going to get that treat until he is in a “down” position, no matter how cute he is. Be strong!

Resist the urge to push your dog down into position. Not only will this stir up fear in your dog (imagine if someone did that to you!), but it will also make this process take longer. You want your pup to be able to freely move his body, think about what you’re asking, and make decisions on his own. 

As soon as your dog is fully in a “down” position, mark it with a “yes!” and give him a treat. You know what? Give him lots of treats! Pile on the praise and be very excited for Charlie. He’s learning!

After this initial hurdle, things will get easier for you both.

Repeat this lure step at least 12 times. I know, It’s a lot. Just keep doing it! Note that we aren’t saying “down” yet. We’re just luring and rewarding. 

teach your puppy down


Step 2: Signal

After your dog has successfully completed step one at least 12 times, you’re ready to introduce the hand signal.

Grab a treat with your left hand now and hold it behind your back. Show Charlie that you don’t have a treat with your right hand, but continue to do the exact same motion with your right hand that you were doing before. Take your hand in a fist and slowly lower it to the ground. 

Did your dog lie down? I bet he did! (If he didn’t, go back to step one.)

Repeat this action for a few times and then start to introduce the hand signal for “down,” which is an open palm, fingers pointing toward the floor, palm facing toward you.  

Repeat the hand signal now 12 times, making sure you mark the correct behavior every time with a “yes!” followed by a treat and praise. If Charlie doesn’t lie down when you ask him to, say “oops” and reset him by asking him to “sit."

Step 3: Ask

Now you’re ready to add in the cue word. You’re going to repeat what you were doing before, but now when you do the hand motion, you’ll also say “down.” Since Charlie has already learned the motion and the hand signal, when you introduce the word, it’ll be easier for him to understand what it means. 

Repeat this several times, using the word "down" each time you do the hand signal. Make sure you continue to mark the action “yes!” as soon as he sits and then enthusiastically offer praise and a treat. Good boy!

Once you’ve done this at least 12 times, set up for the trick like normal - left hand behind your back - but now just say the word “down!” once and look at Charlie. It will likely take him a few seconds to think about what he should do, but hopefully at this point he lies down. Mark the behavior “yes!” and give him a few treats with enthusiastic praise! This is a big moment!

If you try to say just the verbal cue and your pup isn’t getting it, don’t worry about it! He's just not quite ready yet. Go one step back and practice doing the motion with the verbal cue several more times before trying again. 

Step 4: Practice

Once your dog responds quickly to the down cue while you are in a quiet place, gradually add distractions and work on training the command in various locations. Remember that asking for a “down” outside is way harder than asking for one inside, so be patient. You can always back up all the way to step one if your pup isn’t getting it.

Once your dog becomes an expert at lying down, you will no longer have to lure him with treats or reward him with treats. You can start to introduce “life rewards,” like going out for a walk, jumping up on the couch with you, or playing with his favorite toy. Ask him to “sit” and then “down” before he gets to do any of these fun things and he’ll soon learn that listening to you always pays off.


Training Tips & Common Problems

  • Make sure your training sessions are short and upbeat. If you can sense that your pup is starting to lose interest, ask him for one last “sit” and then give him the treat so you can end on a win. 

  • If your dog is slow to catch on, avoid pushing him down into position or yelling at him. This won’t help your training (and it won’t be any fun for you or your dog.) Try higher value treats (hot dog pieces, anyone?) and remember to be patient.

  • It can take longer for smaller dogs to offer a “down” using this method because they are already so close to the ground. If you aren’t getting anywhere, try this: sit on the ground with your legs in front of you, knees bent. Ask you dog to sit on one side of you facing your legs, drag the treat to the floor, and then pull it along the floor under your legs. You dog will have to crawl under your legs to get the treat and will inadvertently give you the “down” you are looking for!

  • If you are still having trouble getting your dog to lie down with treats, try catching the behavior and marking it that way. Grab some treats and watch your dog. Anytime he lies down, say the word “down” and then praise and reward him. You can also use your clicker to mark his action when you see him starting to lie down and then praise him. Next time he naturally lies down, say “down,” then praise and reward him. Try this every time you catch him lying down. 

how to train down puppy

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Teach Your Dog To Stay

Teach Your Dog To Stay






train your dog to stay



"Stay" is another basic command that you’re definitely going to want your dog to know. It’s pretty easy to teach the basics, but you’ll want to build on this one slowly and practice it often to set your pup up for success.

You’ll use “stay", usually paired with “sit” or “down”, in all sorts of real world situations. There will be plenty of things that want your dog to stay away from - a rattlesnake on the trail, a tempting plate of chocolate brownies, a skunk cruising through your yard. You’ll need a solid “stay” command to protect your dog. Stay also opens up the world of fun indoor games, like “find it."

What Does Stay Look Like?

When you ask your dog to “stay", you want him to stay in the position where you left him, whether that be sitting, standing, or lying down. This is why we usually ask our pup to “sit” or “down” before we ask him to “stay", it’s just more realistic that your pup will continue in those positions and resist the urge to walk away. 

“Stay” should always be used with a release command, like “all done” or “okay” so your dog knows that there is a start and end to the command. If you never tell your pup the command is over, he will get up on his own at some point and then he will start to think that he only has to hold his position for a little while or until you stop watching him. We don’t want that!

The Three D's

When we teach pups to stay, we always keep the 3 D’s in mind: distance, duration, and distraction. These are like the good, cheap, and fast of the dog training world - you can’t ask for all three at the same time, especially in the beginning. 

When one of the D’s is tough, the others should be easy. We’ll work up to asking our dog to “stay” for a minute at a time (long duration), but when we do this, we’ll stand right in front of him (short distance) in a quiet room (little distractions). When we ask Max to stay from across the room (long distance), we’ll do it in a quiet room (little distractions), and we’ll only expect a few seconds at first (short duration). When we do this outside for the first time (mega distractions), we’ll stand right in front of him (short distance), and only ask for a few seconds (short duration). Got it? We’ll go into more detail below, I just want you to be familiar with this concept first.

When we first start off, we’re going to tackle duration first and we’ll start with just 1-2 seconds because you gotta start somewhere. Then we’ll bring in those other two Ds. Plan to set aside 10 minutes a day, 2-3 times a day to work on this after your dog has mastered “sit” and “down.” Bonus: every time you practice stay, you’re also practicing those commands!

How to Train Your Dog to Stay

Step 1: Starting Out

  1. Find a quiet area that is free from distractions. Stand right in front of Max and ask him to sit. Praise him when he sits, but don’t give him the treat yet.

  2. Say “stay” while holding one hand up, palm out, in a “talk to the hand” type of motion. 

  3. Wait 2 seconds. Yes, just 2. If Max does not move, mark the behavior with a click or a “yes!” Give him a treat and praise. 

  4. Release Max from the command by saying “all done” or “okay" and walking a step or two off to the side or backwards. Encourage him to move by saying his name, clapping your hands, or tapping the floor with your fingers. 

  5. When Max is up from his sitting position, ask him to sit again. 

Repeat steps 2-4 at least 10 times. Remember that you are only asking for 2 second “stays” at a time. 

Step 2: Add a Tiny Bit of Distance

  1. Ask Max to sit again and praise him when he does.

  2. Say "stay" again with the hand motion while taking one step back, keeping your hand signal up. You’re still looking for that 2 second stay.

If he stays: mark the action with a “yes!” and step forward, back in front of your dog, treat, and praise. Then say “all done” and encourage him to move from the stay position. Good dog!

If he moves: say “oops!” and simply start the sequence over - just ask him to sit again without giving him a treat. Be patient here. If he’s not getting it, you may want to start over with step 1 and keep practicing there.

Repeat this process 10 more times, taking one step back while you ask for a “stay” and then one step forward to reward your dog. If your dog gets up before you can reward him, say “oops!” and start again without giving him the treat. Make sure you remember to release the command every time.

Make It Harder

Once your dog can reliably stay while you take one step back, you are going to repeat the same process, gradually taking more steps back and increasing the time period between “stay” and “all done.”

As you add distance, remember to walk all the way back to your dog to treat and reward him every time. You’ll be moving around a lot and ideally your pup will be staying put. If your praise is distracting, just quietly mark the behavior from a distance “yes!” and quickly walk back to your dog before loudly praising and treating him.

Step 3: Add Distractions

  1. Once your dog can stay for 10 seconds or more, you can start to add distractions. 

  2. Set your dog up for a “stay” by asking him to “sit” and then “stay.”

  3. Turn your back to your pup and take one step away from him.

  4. Did he stay? Great! mark it and give him a treat and some love! Staying while your back is turned is hard, but so, so important!

  5. If you pup got up as soon as you turned your back, make it a little easier. Try just turning your body slightly and work up to it. 

Eventually you can add in more distractions, like taking a few steps away and doing a little dance or some jumping jacks (that one is tough!), or taking a few steps away and turning a corner. As you get more advanced, you can bring out some of his toys and ask him to “sit” and “stay” right next to them. Practice when someone else is in the room. Take it outside and do it in your front yard and then practice in a park (on a leash!) when there are other things going on. 

If at any point your pup gets up and breaks the stay, say “oops!” and reset him into a sit. His punishment here is that he did not get the treat or praise from you.

Step 4: Practice in the Real World

Like other commands, you should continue to practice “stay" by incorporating the cue into your daily routine. Asking your dog to “sit” and then “stay” before every meal is an easy way to strengthen the command (and strengthen your relationship). If your dog forgets to stay and lunges for his food bowl, pick it up before he gets to it. Ask your dog to “sit” and then “stay” again. He is only allowed to eat after you release the command by saying “all done!”

You can also practice this in front of an open door that leads to your yard or outdoors. Put him on a leash, ask him to “sit” then “stay” and then open the door. If he starts to move, shut the door immediately and say “oops!” if he stays for several seconds, give him your release cue and allow him to exit the door. Exiting the door, in this case, is his real world reward for a job well done.

Training Tips & Common Problems

Keep sessions short and remain upbeat. While your dog is getting the hang of “stay” remember to celebrate each time he holds his position, even if it’s just for a few seconds. 

Speaking of a few seconds, don’t ask for too much from your dog when you are just starting! If you can see that he’s about to get up from his “stay” because he’s fidgeting or looking around, quickly mark it “yes!” before he gets up. You want to give your pup as many wins as possible!

When you are building up duration, vary the length a bit. Don’t just continuously make it longer and harder! Your pup may think he failed at something if it keeps getting harder and harder. When your pup holds his first 10 second stay, only ask for 3 seconds the next time, and then go for another 10 after that. 

If your dog isn’t getting it, go back to the last sequence that he was able to do and practice that. Build on his skills slowly. Continue to practice short distances and short durations until your dog has this command down cold. Repeat the same sequence many, many times before you add anything or make it harder.

Once your dog becomes an expert at staying, you don’t need to give him a treat every single time, but be generous with the treats in his first year of training. And continue to always praise your dog for a job well done.

how to train your dog to stay
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Train Your Dog To Come

how to train dog to come






This method is magical, but any consistent "come" behavior takes months (even up to a year!) of practice. 

how to train puppy to come


Do you have dreams of hiking alongside your dog, calling her back to you with a single word, and holding your arms outstretched as she comes back running? 

She’s going to need to know how to come when called. 

Even if you have more modest dreams, like being able to go to the dog park or traveling with your dog someday… she’s going to need to know how to come when called.

Once your dog masters this, you can keep her under control, protect her from potentially dangerous situations, and give her the off-leash freedom she deserves.

It’s a very important command!

You can teach a young puppy to come when called (also called “recall”) as soon as she learns her name and how to sit. The actual training part is easy (and this is the best method I’ve seen for quick, consistent recall), but us humans have a way of undermining ourselves.

Where People Typically Go Wrong:

Most dog owners have the best intentions, but they fail to follow this simple rule and they end up having a hard time training their dog to come. 

The rule is: never punish your dog for coming to you! 

Well of course, you may be thinking, why would you do that?

Consider this: anything that your dog doesn’t want to do is a form of punishment. Leaving the dog park, taking a bath, dropping your shoe from her mouth - these are all things your dog does not want to do.

So if you ask Luna to “come!” and then you immediately leash her up, make her leave the dog park, or punish her, well… guess who’s not coming next time you call her.

So you never want to say “come!” if you aren’t certain that your dog is going to come to you.

In the meantime, try to get creative and use other strategies to get Luna to come to you without actually saying the word “come.” 

Pick up her favorite squeaky toy and start running the opposite direction. Bounce a ball. Put a treat on the ground in front of her. If necessary, calmly walk up to where she is playing and take hold of her collar. 

Just don’t use the word “come” in these circumstances!

You want her to think that coming to you is the best thing in the world and that good things always happen when she comes to you.

So while we’re in training, save the word “come!” for only positive, upbeat experiences. Got it?

What Does Recall Look Like?


A successful “come” occurs when your dog hears her name and comes running to you.

You want her to come quickly and you want her to come in close (preferably ending in a “sit”) so you can grab her collar or clip on a leash.

You also want her to come every single time you call her, even if there's a squirrel crossing the street or a stray chicken bone on the ground.

Let’s Get Started

We’re going to start this exercise inside. Pick a location that’s free of distractions - an area where your pup already spends a lot of time (so it isn’t new and exciting), like an exercise pen, the kitchen, or your living room.

If you’re in a small room, you can do this without a leash. 

If you think there’s a chance your dog could walk away and lose interest, attach a leash. 

Then we’re going to pick treats - this is so important that it gets its own step. :)

Step 1: Pick the Right Treats

Grab the absolute best treat that you can get your hands on.

For most dogs this means human food - pieces of soft cheese, bits of bacon, boiled chicken, etc. Maybe your dog likes french fries or cheerios. If she does, grab some of those.

Pick something surprising that your dog doesn’t usually get to have.


Our first task is to build a super positive association with the word “come." We want to teach Luna that “come!” is a crazy ✨magical✨ word and that absolutely wonderful and unexpected things happens when her human says it.

Step 2: Touch

Stand right next to Luna, holding your special treats behind your back in one hand. Place your other (empty) hand in front of her nose.

When she sniffs or licks your hand, mark it with a click or a “yes!” and give her a magical treat from behind your back.

Do this a few times until she is purposefully bumping your hand with her nose and waiting for her treat.

train your dog to come


Step 3: Make “Come” a Magical Word

Continue with Step 1, but now simply say “Come” in an upbeat tone while you stick out your hand and wait for the nose bump.

When she bumps it, say “yes!” or click and give her a treat.

Remember, you're working at a close distance. She doesn’t really have to “come” for this part because she’s already right next to you. She’s just hanging with you, listening to the magic word, bumping your hand, and eating treats. 

Soon she’ll start expecting treats when she hears the word. That’s what you want.










Repeat this many times, until Luna gets visibly excited when she hears the word. 

Step 4: Add Some Movement

When you’ve done the magical exercise several times, you should have Luna’s full attention. 

If she seems bored or distracted, stop the game here and pick it up another time. Remember, we never want to say "come" if she’s not going to listen. 

But if you’re using something like bacon, you probably still have her attention. :)

Now start walking with Luna by your side. Make sure you have her attention - you can reach over and let her smell your treats at this point if she’s looking away. 

When she’s right next to you, say “Come!” loudly, in a cheerful tone of voice, and run away fast. 

Once she takes steps to run next to you, say “yes!” or click and run a few more steps. You and Luna should be running together in the same direction.

Run 5-10 feet. 

When you stop, stick out your hand, let her bump it with her nose, and give her one of your magical treats and a ton of praise. Be really, over-the-top excited!

Repeat this several times and make sure you stop before she loses interest.

Stay on this step for a few days before you move on.

Step 5: Use Treats As A Small Distraction

Once Luna is getting really good at Step 4, we can start to add in a small distraction so she’ll get used to turning away from something to run and come to you.

To do this, drop a few yummy treats on the ground by your feet and slowly walk a few feet away while she’s eating them.

Once she’s finished the last treat, say “Come!” and run away. 

Run for 10-15 feet, stop, put out your hand, say “yes!” when she bumps it and give her more treats and praise.

Step 6: Add A Finishing Move

“Come” isn’t over until you add your finishing move, which is going to be a nice sit, right in front of you. The reason why you'd want your dog to sit close to you after you ask for her to “come” is a practical one: it makes it easier to reach down and grab her collar or clip on her leash. 

To add in your finished move, resume your practice and ask Luna to “come!”

Mark the behavior when she does with a “yes!” and immediately do the hand gesture for “sit.

Only give her the treat after she sits in front of you.  

Repeat this several times, only giving her the treat after she comes and then sits.

After many repetitions, ask Luna to come, say “yes!” and then wait with both hands behind your back until she sits. You’re phasing the hand gesture out, but since she’s practiced sitting so many times, she should know what to do. After she sits, you can give her the treat.

Now when you work on “come,” only give Luna the treat after she also sits. It may take her a few seconds to figure it out. Just wait and look at the floor and she should catch on.

Step 7: Practice, Practice, Practice

Now you’ve taught Luna how to "come!” when you are inside your house or in your own yard. Continue to practice this skill in different places and at different levels of distraction. You can try some of these variations

Come! from one room to another

Come! in a local park, on a long leash

Come! through an open doorway

Come! when a favorite toy is in sight.


Tips & Common Problems

  • Make sure you have your pup’s attention before you call her. Try this: say her name first and wait for her to look at you before you say the cue.

  • If this exercise makes your puppy bitey and overly excited, do not continue to run when you ask for a “come.” You should briskly walk instead. 

  • If your dog doesn't come to you at first, do not immediately repeat the command. Instead, decrease the distance between you and your dog, say her name first to get her attention, and then try again.

  • Be the most interesting thing in the room. Be upbeat! Make some noise! Get really good treats and make sure there are minimal distractions.

  • You may need to make the reward even more valuable if your dog isn’t responding enthusiastically.

  • Consider using a squeaky toy if your dog isn’t food motivated.

  • If your dog tries to run away from you, never run after her! Try turning the game around by calling out to her and running the opposite direction. She may then chase you in play. If so, reward her with praise when she gets to you.

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Teach Your Dog To Leave It

train your dog to leave it






train your dog to leave it

"Leave It!” is a fun command to teach because your dog totally won’t get it at first and then he just… will.

When I say that training is a great bonding experience, this is what I mean - when your pup finally gets this, you’ll feel so proud of him. Show it with enthusiasm! 

Your pup will be proud of himself too and happy that he can do something that makes you so happy.

You’ll use the “leave it!” command when you want your dog to ignore something tempting… which happens a lot! especially if your dog is still a puppy. 

Imagine the following scenarios: you’re on a walk and that one neighborhood dog is yapping his head off at your pup through the fence; your friend’s toddler is over and she’s waving cheese sticks in front of your dog’s face; you’re out on a hike and you come upon a dead bird or (yikes) a live snake on the trail. 

Leave it, leave it, leave it! 

For your sanity and your dog’s safety, this is a great skill to know.

What Does Leave It Look Like?



A successful “leave it” happens when your dog sees something tempting - a toy, food, a disgusting chicken carcass; listens to you as you say “leave it;” and chooses to ignore it and look at you instead. 

You’ll say “leave it” before your pup dives for a coveted prize. It’s preventative. 

If you come upon him and he's already happily chomping away at a ball of used tissue, the cue is “drop it."

Old school training methods require that you shout “no!” or “bad!” or “uh uh!” if your dog is approaching something you don’t want him to put in his mouth. 

This works to intimidate your dog. He might avoid the object out of fear, but he won’t learn the behavior that you’d like him to do instead. Positive reinforcement is way more effective here.

You're going to stay calm and positive and show your dog exactly what you want him to do. You’ll empower him to make his own decisions, not intimate him into avoiding certain actions. 

While we’re training, we’re going to stack the game in his favor and make it easy for him to do the right thing. Once he sees the rewards for doing the right thing, he’ll choose it every time.

Get Ready

We'll work our way up to asking our dog to ignore an irresistible prizes, like an unguarded plate of steak. For now, we’ll make it relatively easy.

You’ll want to do this exercise with something your dog likes, like good training treats, pieces of cheese, or chicken.

As usual, we’ll start this exercise inside where there are fewer distractions.

Step 1: Hand to the Nose

Put a few treats in both of your hands.

Put one hand behind your back. (Hold your clicker in this hand if you’re using one.)

Bring your other hand up to Rico’s nose and let him smell it, making sure the treats are fully covered by your fingers.

Rico will naturally sniff, mouth, and paw your hand, trying to get at the treat. Allow him to do whatever he wants without correcting him, but don’t let him get to the treats.

The second he looks away from your hand, click! or say “yes!” and give him a treat from the hand that’s behind your back. 

Repeat this exercise several times, until he is starting to look away from the treat consistently. 

Mark it every time with a click! or “yes!” and give him a treat from behind your back.

*Note that we haven’t said “leave it!” yet.

Once he’s getting it, switch hands and practice several more times.

train your dog leave it

Step 2: Hand to the Floor

Set up for the exercise again, with treats in both hands and one hand behind your back. 

With your free hand, bring the treats to Rico’s nose and then move your hand down to the ground (where temptations usually hang out.)

Wait for Rico to sniff, lick, and paw at your hand. If Rico gets distracted, you can briefly show him the treats in your hand and then re-cover them. 

As soon as he looks away, click! or yes! and then give him a treat from behind your back. Good dog!

Set yourself back up and repeat this at least 10 times. Make sure you switch hands and practice that way too.

Only move to the next step when Rico is quickly ignoring the food on the ground.

Step 3: Uncovered Treats

When Rico is getting it, you’re ready to raise the stakes! 

Repeat Step 2, but this time place the treats on the floor and cover them with your hand. If he doesn’t immediately go for them, practice uncovering the treats for 1-2 seconds. If he resists and decides to look away, click! or say “yes!” and give him a treat.

He’s learning!

If he goes for the treats, simply cover them back up with your hand. You’ll probably want to go back to step 2 for a few more rounds before you try this again.

Step 4: Wait for Eye Contact

Set up for the exercise again, but this time only click! or say "yes!" when Rico looks away from the treat and up at you

You may have to be patient here.

Once he looks up at you and makes eye contact, mark the behavior and give him lots of praise!

Repeat this step several times.

Step 5: Add in the Verbal Cue

Now that he’s getting really good, we’re ready to add in the words “Leave it!”

You’ll say the command one time in an upbeat voice after you’ve presented the distraction and before he looks up at you. 

He should look up at you as soon as you say “Leave It!”

If he doesn’t, go back a few steps and save the verbal command until the behavior is stronger. 

Step 6: Continue Practicing

As your dog gets better, continue to make it harder. Practice with really good, uncovered treats, like uncovered bacon or cheese.

Cater the exercise to your dog and practice with specific things that he likes to chew on. 

If he likes to chew on socks, practice your “leave its” with socks on the ground. Practice with sticks, plastic water bottles, tissues - anything!

Training Tips & Tricks

  • To avoid the behavior chain of sniff-look up-treat, be sure to throw in extra rewards when your dog doesn't sniff your hand at all. If he ignores your hand when you put it out, reward that!

  • Remember to only say the command once. You don’t want to teach your dog not to listen to you!

  • If your pup is having a tough time, start with something a little less delicious, like dry kibble

  • If your pup isn’t interested, practice before a mealtime when he’s hungry and make sure you let him smell the treats first

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