How to Train a Dog to Sit Without Treats and Phase Out Treats When Dog Training?

When you want to train a dog to sit without treats, you can employ things like exercises, leash, teaching him cue words, touching him. All of these are ways to control his behavior and also rewards.

The use of leash and exercise makes sure he is exhausted and is under control. The use of cue words and touch is an alternative reward for him instead of treats.

Your dog should obey you even when you don’t dispense food to them. Although treats are an excellent way of appreciating your furry friends, relying on them so much can prevent your relationship from growing to a deep and meaningful level.

My dog and I share an intense relationship. That’s because I embraced other ways of connecting with Sally apart from food. For instance, I noticed play and affection strengthened our relationship.

Dog owners need to train their pet’s behavior using a more holistic manner. It’s essential that your puppy looks forward to pleasing you and not just because you’ll reward him with food. I do get asked a lot about how to phase out treats when dog training?

Don’t just focus on treats while you can try other training techniques such as verbal praise which will leap your relationship to a new, more intimate level. Food treats may seem like the easiest way to train your dog, but they may not work out for every dog and situation.

This is so true when you want to train a dog without a food drive. Even without food, you can still train your dog to obey you. Here are some basic commands to help you teach your dog how to behave.

Should You Really Teach Dog to Sit?

Sit is among the first commands that most dog trainers teach their puppies. It’s essential that you train your dog how to sit because:

  1. It gives you and your pet a common language. Since it’s one of those words that you’ll utter first, it’ll lay out a foundation of a universal language between you and your pet. Eventually, your dog will learn the importance of the words you say to him.
  2. It teaches him how to beg for his needs. He’ll understand that if he wants something done, he must sit nicely.
  3. Since sit is a basic command, mastering it will teach first-time dog owners of valuable dog lessons.

Importance of Training Your Dog to Sit Without Treats

Teaching your puppy how to sit is one of the first commands, there are other many more which you’ll need to learn to help in communication. But, it’s essential that you don’t always lean on treats to lure your pet to obey you.

I always recommend that you save those treats for more complicated commands. This method is also important for training a dog that isn’t food motivated

Also if your dog only obeys you after you treat him, you’ll be forced to be walking around with a bag full of treats everywhere for your puppy to respond to your commands, which can be tedious.

The appropriate time to give food or treats to your dog is after he has learned a new trick or follows a new command.

How to Teach Sit Without Treats and Listen to Your Commands

Hello dog lovers, we are going to teach you how to get your dog to sit on command without the use of treat, tools, force or domination. So I have my dog and we’re going to demonstrate and teach you how to get this command done.

#1 Exercise Before Starting Out

But before we get to that let me explain that before you teach any command to your dog. Before you get into training your dog, you need to provide a decent amount of exercise for your dog. This means that you don’t want to get your dog too tired or you don’t want to just start training your dog without having any exercise.

You want to provide a decent amount of exercise. I would say the maximum half an hour of walking or exercising should be enough. You don’t want your dog to be mentally and physically tired that you can’t implement the strategy to your dog.

You want your dog to be nice and relaxed. When you’re teaching your dog something, that’s rule number one.

#2 Our Only Tools: Leash and Collar/Harness

Many dog owners have asked me how do you train a dog without treats? How do you teach a dog a command? The only tool that we’re going to be using is a leash. I prefer to use a six-foot leash that could be a four-foot leash as well.

A leash and your dog needs to be wearing a collar or harness. So we can use either of those, either the collar or the harness. When you’re going to train your dog. If you’re going to teach something to your dog, you need to have your dog on a leash. You can’t start training your dog off-leash.

You have to first start teaching your dog what you want the dog to learn and once the dog learns then you practice it without a leash.

#3 The Cue Word or Keyword Strategy

First I’m going to teach you how you’re going to teach the command to your dog. So first you’re going to put the dog on the leash in standing and then you’re going to start the training process. Suppose once you’ve told him to sit and he’s not sitting.

So what you’ve told him is “Rover” sit and “Rover” is not sitting. You’re going to say “Rover NO”, there’s the cue for not sitting. Once he starts to sit then you have to praise him.

For the keyword strategy to work, you need to first establish a bond with your dog by spending lots of time with him.

#4 Using the Leash to Your Advantage

If the keyword is not working then we’re going to try a different method or different way of teaching this command to your dog. So now Rover is in stand position and you want him to sit.

You’re going to say Rover Sit, if he doesn’t, you’ll pull the leash up and he’ll put the bum down. When he does sit, you have to immediately praise the dog.

With the leash, you can teach your dog what you want it to do. If you tell him to sit and if he doesn’t sit you’ll have to pull the leash a little bit off, put the bum down and then praise him for sitting. This is just a teaching process, the training process.

Recap: So you can teach your dog who doesn’t know how to sit. When your dog is not sitting, you say no (cue word) and if he doesn’t sit, you’re going to pull the leash up. Put his bum down. Praise him.

Common Problems and Troubleshooting

He Won’t Sit. Instead, He Moves Backwards

When you are training your puppy to sit for the first time, he might instead move back. To fix this, try not to lean on his head as if “towering over” him since doing that, will make him feel threatened and naturally move away. Always keep your body upright and just move your hand over to his head.

Another solution is to position your puppy close to the wall such that when he backs up, he will hit the wall and have no other alternative but to sit.

My Puppy Doesn’t Like to Sit

Some breeds like Greyhound don’t love to be in a sitting position. It is not comfortable for them. If he does that, it’s always advisable not to force him to respond to this command but instead teach your pet down. You can also try using the Shaping dog training method to get him to sit.

Alternative Ways to Train Your Dog without Treats

Play with Him

If you’ve ever trained for an active sport such as flyball, then you know how crucial it is to use toys, games and play in training. These same three things also apply when training your dog. Playing with your puppy helps you connect and build an intimate relationship with your furry friend.

Use Life Rewards

There are things that every dog likes to do in his daily life. For instance, going for a walk or running among others. The Premack Principle can help you harness these things. The principle suggests reinforcing a low probability behavior (that which your dog is not likely to perform) with a high probability behavior (one that he enjoys doing).

For instance, if you are training your dog to sit, you can ask him to do that before allowing him access to the things he likes doing. This type of training is especially beneficial to dogs that need assistance with self-control.

Don’t Forget a Sense of Touch

Touch is a satisfying reward for some dogs although it may be tricky to use. First, you’ll need to figure out the types of touch your pet enjoys and where he likes being touched. For instance, some puppies love a neck scratch and shy away from a head pat.

And others prefer long and low strokes. It’s therefore crucial that you pay attention to what he loves before you touch him.

It’s not always helpful to use treats to manipulate your pet to obey you. You can try these other alternatives we’ve discussed above. Remember that anything your pet finds it valuable is what you should use to reward him.

Learn More With the Help of Videos


So remember once you teach your dog the command itself you can add a game to the praise. Once you’ve gone through about a hundred repetitions of teaching your dog how to sit, it’s time to practice the game. All dogs love to play. You’re going to reward him with play. I hope to see you soon, have fun with your dog.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *