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Brandon McMillan’s 7 Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Sit

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jul 30, 2020 • 3 min read

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Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training

You don’t need to be a professional animal trainer or expert dog behaviorist to teach your dog basic obedience training. Dog training helps keep your furry friend sharp, obedient, and focused. There are two times when it is most effective to train a dog: when the dog’s energy is right (they’re not too fired up or too tired) and when they’re hungry (they’ll be extra focused on your treats). The morning or right before dinner is ideal. Focus on teaching your dog one trick at a time, holding short 10- to 15-minute training sessions three times a day.

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Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog TrainingBrandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training

Expert animal trainer Brandon McMillan teaches you his simple, effective training system to build trust and control with your dog.

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A Brief Introduction to Brandon McMillan

Brandon McMillan is a renowned animal trainer who has spent most of his life working with domesticated and wild animals. The Emmy Award-winning host of the critically acclaimed CBS series Lucky Dogs comes from a family of wild animal trainers—Brandon began helping raise tigers by the age of four. The animals he’s trained have appeared in countless television commercials and motion pictures, including the comedy blockbuster, The Hangover (2009). In 2016, Brandon released his first book, Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. After spending a year training a service dog for an injured combat veteran, Brandon realized his calling was in training dogs to change people’s lives. To further his goals, Brandon co-founded the Argus Service Dog Foundation, an organization that trains service dogs to assist veterans with disabilities.

Brandon McMillian’s Tips for Teaching the Sit Command

Brandon McMillan’s 7 Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Sit

There’s no set order for training commands, but renowned dog trainer Brandon McMillan thinks the sit command is a good starting point. The sitting position provides a strong foundation and offers a natural transition to the other common commands. With every command you teach, you’re going to employ both a verbal command and a hand signal. You’ll want to teach both at the same time. To teach your new puppy or older dog this basic command, check out Brandon’s training tips:

  1. Gain control. Before attempting this dog training command, make sure your dog is leashed and you have control.
  2. Step on the leash. Stand in front of your dog and step on the leash to prevent them from jumping up. Make sure you’re giving enough lead to prevent choking, but not so much that they can jump up on you.
  3. Position the treat. Hold a dog treat between your first two fingers and place your hand palm-side up at a 45-degree angle above your dog’s head, about six inches from their snout. The placement of the treat above the head is key—your goal is to hold the treat just outside of your dog’s peripheral view because they can’t bend their neck to look up any higher. The only possible way to see the treat is for them to enter the sit position, which brings the treat into their line of sight.
  4. Provide a verbal cue. When your dog or puppy sits, say “sit,” making sure to enunciate. Say it with emphasis. Make it a command, not a request.
  5. Use positive reinforcement. As soon as your dog sits, reward them with the treat and heavy praise, like saying “good dog” or a few moments of petting.
  6. Repeat the training. Repeat the process for up to 15 minutes, always making sure to reset your dog so they are under control and attentive before you begin the command.
  7. Trust. As your dog gets better and better at the technique and stops jumping up for the treat, remove your foot from the leash.
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Want to Learn More About Training the Goodest Boy or Girl?

Your dream of having a dog who understands words like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and—crucially—”no” is just a MasterClass All-Access Pass away. The only things you’ll need to train up a well-behaved pup are your laptop, a big bag of treats, and our exclusive instructional videos from superstar animal trainer Brandon McMillan.

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