You’re walking your dog and stop to check your phone or talk to someone, and your dog starts sticking his nose into things. Oh, what a delicious pine cone! Hey, is that a beetle? If only your dog would stay still a minute! What if your dog sat beside you every time you stopped walking? That would take a super star dog, right? Actually, any dog can learn to do it!
One time, when some of my humans were little, they were on a walk at the park, and a woman with a Giant Schnauzer came up to talk. Giant Schnauzers weigh anywhere from 75-95 pounds, and such a big dog made the kids a little nervous. The owner, however, immediately asked for a sit once she stopped walking, which the dog happily did. Such a command puts people who aren’t used to such a huge dog at ease, as they see that the owner is clearly under control and that the dog is obedient. This sit-when-you-stop isn’t just for big dogs, though! It’s a good thing to teach small and medium sized dogs too.
How to Teach it
If your dog doesn’t know how to sit on command, teach him that first. It’s very convenient and essential for a well-behaved dog. Now, if it gives you more control, leash your dog and get a baggy of small pieces of lunch meat or hot dog in your pocket. Wrap your fingers around a treat so that your dog can only lick and nibble at it and not gobble it down in own bite. Next, show your dog that you have a delicious treat and give him a little taste. Now that you have your dog’s full attention, lead him around the yard or house as if you were on a walk. Give him a few nibbles of the meat to keep him motivated as you go along. Then, come to a halt and ask your dog for a sit. If he complies, give him a taste of the treat. If he doesn’t, remember to be patient with him! This is a very new thing for your dog, sitting while on a walk, and not something that you can force your dog into. Wait a little bit to let the command fully sink in, and if he doesn’t do it, repeat it. If he still doesn’t obey, you need to go back and work on sit! After your dog sits at your side, he may pop right back up after you give him a nibble of meat. So, work on holding his sits for about five seconds by not giving him a treat until you count silently to five. You can slowly increase the time he has to sit before getting a treat as time goes by. Continue walking around the house/yard with your dog at heel, asking for a sit every five steps or so, waiting a bit, and moving on. When your dog starts sitting immediately when you stop without having to be told a command, you can start implementing this (still with meat treats, though!) on your normal walks around the neighborhood or park.