How to teach a Jack Russell to sit
Sit is the most basic dog command there is and is probably one of the first things your Jack Russell will learn other than his name. It is one of the most useful commands and also extremely easy to teach, making it an essential part of Jack Russell training. It is useful for preventing many problem behaviors common to Jack Russells, such as jumping on visitors and running off suddenly for no apparent reason. These are simple step by step instructions for teaching a Jack Russell to sit.
1. Find a treat your dog likes. This can be a food reward, or it can be a toy or game. If you plan on using a toy as a reward, keep in mind that this will likely increase the amount of time you spend training, since it takes more time to play a game than it does to quickly gobble down some dog biscuit. But you should use whatever reward your dog is most responsive to. I find bits of sliced sausage or shredded cheese to be good treats for Jack Russells. Don’t overdo it, though: too many treats can make your dog overweight, and too much cheese can cause constipation. The idea is to feed a very small amount of a food that your dog values highly.
2. Find a quiet place with no distractions to start. Have several pieces of the treat ready to go. Take a small piece of the treat (or a toy, if that’s what you’re using) and hold it in front of your JRT to get its attention. Hold it up to his nose; at this point, he may start licking your fingers. That’s fine, but don’t give him the treat yet.
3. Slowly pull the treat up and back. You should try to move it along an imaginary line from the tip of your dog’s nose to the middle of his forehead. (If your JRT has a white stripe down the middle of its head, draw the food along that line.) Now as you do this the dog will naturally begin to move backwards, his hind legs bending as his head droops. get up, and he will sit down. At this point, mark the action immediately by saying “Good dog” or something similar of your choice, and give the treat immediately.
4. Do not give the treat if the dog’s front legs come off the ground. Sometimes Jack Russells get so excited that they drop their treat leg and try to climb up your hand. In this case, keep the treat close to the ground. Only give the treat when the dog’s front legs are on the ground and his bottom is touching the ground. Use your other hand to gently press him down if necessary, but never use force, especially with a puppy. Just gently guide him to the correct position, praise and reward.
5. After the dog becomes used to the action and can sit regularly when offered a treat, begin to introduce the verbal command “Sit.” The command should be given immediately before the action to create an association, so say “Sit” just as you bring the treat up to your dog’s nose.
6. When the dog fully understands the verbal command and can sit consistently, stop rewarding each Sit and just reward randomly. Every once in a while, give him an extra-large treat to make your dog work harder.
7. If the dog is still too hyper to train properly, try taking him for a walk before training.
8. If the dog is not interested in the treat, try training him when he is hungry, or experiment with new treats and toys until you find something that appeals to him.
Follow these tips and you will find Jack Russell training much easier from now on.