5. Sit & Wait (Sit-Stay) Continued...

Exercise 5.4 - Sit & Keep Sitting Drills

This exercise provides 15 great Sit-Stay drills that you can download below and work through to teach your dog how to remain in place despite distractions and temptations to engage in other behaviours.


The drills are very complimentary to Exercise 6.4 where we are working on good doorbell manners and you can use them to structure your practice sessions with your dog in his/her bed or mat at the designated place you have chosen.


The drills will really help you teach your dog:

  • To begin to sit for longer periods of time.
  • To hold position even with distractions.




  • Keep Sitting is a great alternative to otherwise rowdy behaviours such as jumping up on people or scratching at a door.
  • Over time your dog will develop a rock-solid sit, which he will tend to use more and more when he is not sure what to do - plus it will generally have a calming influence on him.
  • If your dog is nervous or anxious in new settings, Keep Sitting will help your dog to focus on you rather than being concerned about what is happening in the world around him.
  • This exercise is also a pre-requisite for Exercise 8.1 where most importantly, we work on maintaining a sit while people approach.

As you move forward, this exercise should be a part of daily life so your dog learns to offer sits in lots of different situations. Once trained, continue to carry some of your dog’s kibble in your pocket and make training Keep Sitting a frequent and random event. This will encourage your dog to always be ready to offer Sitting.


In Exercise 5.3 we started to really teach our dog to remain in place, rewarding him for sitting for different lengths of time with the distraction of your movement around him and until you released him. Once you have that element in place, you are ready for these drills which progressively add more distractions so he learns to remain steady, even when life is happening around him.


The drills are organised in a set of tasks to be completed each day. You can split the tasks up into several sessions per day or with a more experienced dog work through them in longer sessions.


Example drill:

  • Sit for 10 seconds
  • Sit for 5 seconds
  • Sit for 15 seconds while you clap your hands and hum
  • Sit while you disappear from view, knock or ring the doorbell, say "hello," talk for 10 seconds, and return
  • Sit while you run around the dog
  • Sit while you walk back and forth to the door
  • Sit for 30 seconds while you sit in a chair
  • Sit for 15 seconds while you clap your hands and jog
  • Sit for 5 seconds

Once completed in your easy training place, repeat all tasks in different locations and with different family members. Also, repeat all tasks with only every second or third task being rewarded with a treat (intermittent treat reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training which we’ll talk more about later).


Always remember to work at your dog’s pace and don’t hurry this process, take as many days as your dog needs to be 100% successful. This is a core behaviour for teaching your dog he can remain sitting no matter what is going on around him and it will take time but the results are so worth it!


Exercise 5.4 - Sit and Keep Sitting Drills
Sit and Keep Sitting Drills.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 701.1 KB