Brown Veterinary Service

Training: Sit for Petting

Step-by-step demonstration of teaching a dog to sit politely for petting, as taught in our manners and CGC classes.

Before starting this exercise, your dog should know how to sit on cue and stay for at least a few seconds at a time. You can use a treat in front of his nose to help him stay at first, if needed 🙂

Step 1: Ask your dog to sit and stay at your side, while an assistant (playing the role of a ‘stranger’ that your dog will eventually greet) walks by. At first, make sure he doesn’t pass too close to your dog – keep the assistant at a distance where your dog can be successful.


Step 2: Once the dog is confidently doing a sit-stay at your side while your assistant passes by, you can begin to reduce the distance. Work up to having him walk right past your dog, while your dog holds his stay and maintains focus on you.

Step 3: Have your assistant briefly touch the dog as he passes. Make sure to reward with a treat when your dog holds his stay successfully!

Step 4: Finally, you can work up to having your dog hold his stay while the assistant talks to him, pets him, etc. – just like a real greeting. Once you’ve mastered this step, you’re ready to try your new “meet and greet” behavior with other people.

End result: The last clip (below) shows how this skill translates to a more realistic, informal greeting situation. Remy is allowed to approach our helper to say hello in a more natural way, but he is paying attention to me and under verbal control the entire time – he does not get overly excited or attempt to jump up, and he sits readily when I ask him to.

Remember – the more you and your dog practice this skill, the easier it will become for both of you!