Teaching your puppy to sit is one of the easier things you’ll do as a Boxer owner.
All that’s required to train a Boxer puppy to sit on cue is to first name the behavior whenever it happens … and then reward your puppy once she starts offering a sit in response to the command.
There are a few different ways to go about teaching your Boxer puppy to sit, and a combination approach usually works best.
Step-By-Step Instructions For Training A Boxer Pup To Sit
The four techniques outlined here are all really part of the same equation.
You will probably start with the first technique but then use all of them, depending on the situation.
They will each reinforce your pup’s understanding of the “Sit” command.
Technique 1 — Capturing The Behavior
The easiest and most natural way to start teaching “sit” is to require one before every meal.
You can start by not putting down the bowl until your puppy plants her butt on the ground.
Generally, making a show of holding anything up high, out of reach, will elicit a sit reaction in a dog, even a young pup.
This technique works because it:
- “captures” a behavior your puppy is naturally performing — capturing is a term used in dog training for when you put a name to an action your dog does, so that she learns the word for it
- harnesses the natural response of a dog to sit when she wants something
- is convenient i.e. it gets practiced several times a day, without fail, as part of the normal routine
- takes advantage of those times when your dog is hungry and therefore highly motivated by the desire to be fed and will focus
- associates the sit in your dog’s mind with a huge reward: dinner!
You can also extend “sitting for dinner” to other situations.
You can teach your pup, for instance, to sit before going out the front or back door, or through gates.
In this way, the sit becomes a way of asking permission to do anything.
Think of the sit as your dog’s way of saying “Please”.
Technique 2 — Practice
Several times a day, have a short training session with your puppy to reinforce the sit she is delivering at mealtimes.
Keep it playful and make sure it feels like a game for both of you.
It might go something like this:
- Have treats handy (dehydrated liver is a good option).
- Say to your pup in an upbeat but firm tone, “Sit!”
- If your pup has been sitting for mealtimes as above, she may well already know what “Sit” means and give you one. If she’s not quite there yet, you can show her that you have the treat and then hold it up high and say “Sit”. She will likely naturally sit as a way of asking for the treat. Help her connect the action of putting her rear end on the ground with the word “Sit” by saying the word at the exact moment she performs the action.
- Exclaim “Yes!” as soon as your puppy produces the sit, praise and give the treat as reward.
- Keep it super short. Just a couple of minutes with maybe three repeats is enough.
Alternatively, you can use play itself as the reward, instead of food.
If your pup is fun-motivated, as many Boxers are, this may be all the incentive you need provide.
To use play, do all the steps as described but use a toy instead of the treat.
So, instead of giving the treat, throw the ball or the soft toy or have a little run around with your pup and a pull on a tug toy.
Technique 3 — Luring
If your pup is not sitting in response to you holding the treat high, you can use a more definite method known as luring.
To teach sit by the luring method:
- Let your pup smell the treat in your hand.
- Keeping the treat close to your pup’s face, move it back over her head towards her back.
- In order to follow the treat, she will lift her head which will have the effect of lowering her backside, usually all the way into a sit.
- The moment her butt hits the ground, say “Sit!” in a bright, pleased tone and give her the treat.
Technique 4 — Upward Pressure On Leash
You can also work on the “sit” command when your puppy is on leash.
The leash gives you an extra level of control and another way to communicate with your pup — but use it gently.
While on leash during a walk (even if it’s just a tiny training walk in the back yard) ask your dog for a sit before crossing a road or before releasing her off leash .. or just because.
If she obeys, great! Praise and reward.
If she doesn’t, you can use the leash to gently tug upward.
This physical cue will work whether your pup is wearing a harness or a collar.
Take care to avoid yanking the lead if it’s a collar as this can damage your Boxer’s neck.
When To Teach A Boxer Puppy The “Sit” Command
Begin training your Boxer puppy as soon as she comes home.
Most pups leave the litter at eight to ten weeks and this is the perfect age for learning.
Your puppy will be a sponge, ready to soak up whatever you can teach her.
The really great thing about this age is that your Boxer puppy will be eager to please you.
Stubbornness and even a little defiance can come later in a Boxer, but right now it’s all sweetness.
Seize the moment!
How Long Will It Take For a Boxer Puppy To Learn To Sit?
“Sit” comes naturally to most pups, including Boxers.
It’s usually the very first obedience command a puppy masters, almost easier than learning her own name.
Your Boxer will probably know how to sit on cue within a week of coming home from the breeder if you start right away.
Useful Equipment For Teaching Your Boxer Puppy To Sit
Depending on which method you’re using to teach your pup to sit, you may want to have on hand some training aids, including:
- high value treats (to provide motivation and reward)
- a tug toy (tugs are great for building engagement between you and your dog, and will work if you’re using a short play session instead of food as reward)
- clicker (in clicker training, a click is used to help “mark” the exact moment when the desired behavior is performed, even if there’s a delay before the treat is dispensed)
How Not To Teach Your Boxer Puppy To Sit
- physically pushing your Boxer into the sit position (Boxer’s will willingly comply when they’re engaged and having fun, but will tend to resist and shut down when forced)
- punishing your pup in any way for failing to understand
- long training sessions (stop before you get frustrated and always finish on a high)
- yanking or jerking your dog’s collar or leash (a gentle tug as guidance is okay)
- going too fast and expecting too much (you’re going at the right pace if your pup is succeeding most of the time)
What To Teach Your Boxer Puppy After “Sit”
The next natural progression after your Boxer knows how to “Sit” is to learn how to lie down on command.
Learning to sit will not be a problem for your Boxer puppy.
It’s a great starting point, one that you can use as a building block for more challenging obedience commands.
Before you know it, you and your Boxer will be on to “Drop”, “Stay” and the all-important recall or “Come”.
Boxers are great learners and will pick it all up, no sweat.
Just remember to keep all training fun!