How to train your Border Collie to Sit

Without doubt Border Collie’s are one of the most intelligent breeds, and it is this that can make training them very frustrating. Border Collies have their own innate quirky behavior and traits. There is an old saying, “Don’t teach a Border Collie a trick you are not prepared to live with for the next 10 to 15 years”.

Teaching your Border Collie puppy to sit is one of the very first commands you will teach it. Consistency is the key to any Border Collie training, and for the Border Collie it is even more important. A Border Collie is so perceptive that if you do not use the same commands every time it just will not understand you. An example of this is that you teach your Border Collie to sit using a hand signal, pointing at it with your index finger, when you tell it to sit. And, you reward it for this behavior....

Subconsciously, one day you use your right hand and point at your Border Collie as you tell it to sit and your Border Collie just stands there. Most Border Collies would still sit. But most Border Collie’s will just look at you or turn its head away trying to work out what you want. The words are the same but the signal changed. This is how perceptive the Border Collie breed is.

This is most frustrating for anyone who is not experienced with Border Collies.

Introducing the Concept of Training

Start introducing your Border Collie puppy to the concept of training using treats. Have a supply of shredded chicken or grated cheese ready and start teaching your Border Collie puppy to respond to words, for example, its name. Every time you say the word, reward it with a little chicken or cheese.

Keep doing this until your Border Collie puppy responds by looking to you for a treat on hearing the word. Once your Border Collie puppy starts to do this it has learnt what you want when you use that word and knows it will get a treat for responding correctly.

Teaching your Border Collie to Sit

Most people start with ‘sit’ as the first command they want to teach their Border Collie. Here is a very simple way to teach your Border Collie to sit. It is called the luring method:

  1. Have some chicken or cheese in your fingers. Let your Border Collie puppy smell it so it knows what you have.
  2. Slowly raise your hand over your Border Collie puppy's head and move the treat backwards towards your Border Collie puppy's tail.
  3. As your Border Collie puppy follows the treat with its eyes, and then its head, the natural movement will put it into a sit position.
  4. As soon as your Border Collie puppy sits use a command word such as ‘sit’ and reward immediately.

Another way to teach your Border Collie to sit is to use the capture method. In this method you capture Border Collie’s natural behaviour:

  1. Keep an eye on your Border Collie puppy at training time and when it sits on its own, use your command word ‘sit’ and reward.
  2. Repeat this a few times and your Border Collie puppy will soon be sitting on its own because it wants its reward.
  3. Now your Border Collie puppy understands what you want it is time to name the behavior. Every time your pup sits for a treat say the command word ‘sit’ and give it a reward.

Repeat this process over several short training sessions and it will not be long before your Border Collie puppy is sitting on command.