How to Teach a German Shepherd to Sit and Stay

Are you ready to teach your German Shepherd Dog how to sit?

Teaching a German Shepherd Dog of any age to sit can be fun, but may also be challenging. German Shepherds are so darn smart they sometimes think they know what we want them to do before we say anything. Their big brains can also make them a little stubborn.

These are some tips and tricks to help you make training your dog easier and a more fun experience for both of you!

How to Teach Your German Shepherd to Sit

First things first, choose the method you’d like to use for training (ie. clicker, voice commands, whistle, etc). Try them all until you find the sound that attracts your dog’s attention the most, then use it every time you give a command.

Now for the first lesson in putting your puppy or older dog in a sit position.

  1. Put your dog’s collar on and head to the training area that you’ve chosen.
  2. Stand behind your dog and put one hand lightly on his collar.
  3. Place your other hand lightly right at the top of the tail area.
  4. Give your chosen command (I say “sit”) and ease the dog into a sitting position.
  5. Keep the dog in the sit position and calmly rub his chest from behind. Stay calm and keep him in the sit for a few seconds until he relaxes. Then say your release command (“Good Boy” or “Okay”).
  6. Move next to the dog and he will most likely stand up, if not, coax him a little.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 until the dog sits and relaxes immediately without coaxing. This should only take a couple of times.
  8. Now stand to the side of the dog and give the sit command. Say or do it one time, looking down at the dog, help him sit if he does not respond within a second or two.
  9. As your dog recognizes the command better, move slightly further away and give it.
  10. Remember to give lots of praise after each good sit. Don’t over excite your pet, just a quick pat and a “good dog”.

Things to Remember

~ Show your German Shepherd what you want her to do first
~ Give voice commands in an even natural tone (no excitement in your voice)
~ Always give the same command each time you practice
~ Don’t over excite your dog when praising her
~ Do this exercise for no more than about 10 minutes at a time several times a day

If you follow and repeat these simple steps for teaching your GSD how to sit you should have a pleasant bonding experience. Continue to do this exercise until your dog sits immediately no matter where you are when giving the command.

Now Let’s Teach Your Dog to Stay!

When I train a dog I like to use both voice commands and hand signals at the same time. This way if you are on the phone or can’t give a voice command for some other reason you can throw up a hand motion to your dog.

For “sit” I use a solid fist. High or low, it doesn’t matter, but do it the same every single time. For the “stay” command, I drop my hand straight down in front of the dog’s face. I keep it down as I slowly step away from her, repeating the command.

First, put your German Shepherd in the sit position with your “sit” command. Do not praise her yet. If you are using hand signals too do it now, and take one step forward. The normal reaction is for the dog to get up and start to follow you. That’s okay. Put her back in the sit position with the command and start again.

As your dog starts to understand the “stay” command, start to take a few more steps away. Look at the dog and repeat the command as you take steps. When you get a few feet away, stand in front of the dog and give your release command, like “okay!” Then praise the dog.

Practice the “stay” command from further and further away. Repeat the training process for about 10 minutes at a time to keep the dog from becoming bored with it. Do it throughout the day. Have some play time after the training sessions so your German Shepherd knows you are done for now.

Final Tips for the “Sit” and “Stay” Commands

~ For the extra headstrong German Shepherd try using a meaty tiny treat. I try not to train with treats for weight purposes, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep your dog’s attention.

~ Always use the same voice tone and/or hand signals when training your dog.

~ Always use the same training collar and leash so your dog is ready. Try to choose a separate training area at first.

~ Teach everyone in the household how to use the same commands and release words/signals. Also teach them how to praise the dog without exciting him.

I know that’s a lot to read and it looks like a lot of work and time. It really doesn’t take that long since German Shepherds are such smart dogs. If you work at it consistently for a few days you should have a dog that knows the “sit” and “stay” commands.

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