5. Sit & Wait (Sit-Stay)

Exercise 5.2 - Sit, Down & Puppy Push-Ups

In Exercise 5.2 we're going to look at teaching Sit and Down, these are pre-requisites for teaching stays. 


The first thing we're going to do is establish Sit (from a Stand and from a Down) to a hand gesture first, even if you've already trained sit on a verbal cue.  This is really important and a step that a lot of people miss out. 


I like to practice this exercise on a mat or towel which we’re going to need for the stay exercises so use we can introduce it in this exercise.


To teach sit with a hand gesture (dog standing up):

  • Hold some food in both hands slightly over your dog's head so that he has to crane his neck straight up to sniff at the food. (Be careful not to hold it so high that he jumps).
  • If you see his back end go down into a partial or full sit say “Yes!” and reward immediately.
  • Keep practicing until you and your dog are finding this really easy.

To go from a Sit to a Down:

  • Be ready with some treats in both hands and use your hands like a magnet to draw your dog’s nose down towards the floor. 
  • If your dog follows your hands down with his nose and stays in his sitting position or bends his elbows slightly, say yes and reward with a treat.
  • Your dog may take a couple of sessions to get the hang of this so just be patient are keep practicing and reward any effort on his part to bend towards the down position without getting up.
  • If he does get up just start from a Sit and have another go.

Once he does go right down be ready to reward with several treats fed on the floor and while he’s chewing the last one say “Okay” and then present a hand target to get him on his feet.  “Okay” in this context is called a ‘release cue’ – it’s a special word that tells your dog it’s OK to get up.


Practice a little bit every day and your goal is to be able to easily move your dog from a Sit to a Down and back up again into a Sit which is what we call a Puppy PushUp!