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PETS > Teaching Your Old Dog New Tricks - Lesson 1: Sit


PETS > Teaching Your Old Dog New Tricks – Lesson 1: Sit


LESSON 1 - "Sit!!"
How To Teach Your Old Dog To Sit

Series: How To Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks

Do you have an older dog that is giving you and or your family a hard time?
Then its time to train that pooch some manners! 

In this FDN Life exclusive pet training series, we will be featuring 5 lessons over the course of the next 5 issues to train your old dog anything from how to sit, playing fetch, pooping manners and how to socialise with other dogs without trying to bite them. 

Lesson 1 – Teach Your Old Dog How to Sit

“Sit Bulla . . . sit!”
Teaching Bulla how to sit.  But oh, boy! Will she get it?


Lesson 2 – Teach Your Old Dog How to Fetch

Playing Fetch
This week Bulla is playing the game of fetch.  She doesn’t look very interested at first, but a biscuit always helps . . . 🙂


Lesson 3 – ‘Potty Train’ Your Old Dog

Pooping Manners
“What’s that smell,” the guests ask.  “Bulla!!!”

PETS > Teaching Your Old Dog New Tricks - Lesson 1: Sit 1Lesson 4 – Healthy Food For Your Old Dog

Healthy Meals – Healthy Bones
Bulla loves her sweets, biscuits, and porridge probably more than most humans. But it’s not good for her. Time to upgrade her diet to a healthier one.


Lesson 5 – Training An Old Dog Social Skills

It’s Party Time!!!

Bulla’s birthday is around the corner, and she’s decided she deserves a big birthday bash. Hoot-hoot! Bulla’s theme: “Spongebob – Doggie Pants.”

Week 1 – Lesson 1:  “Please Bulla, Sit!”

“Come on!  Be a good girl now and sit!?”  Says Sarah, rubbing the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand. 

The sun is hot. Bulla, Susan’s 8-year old African Boerboel weighing close to 62 kg, just looks at her with big eyes – her head turned to the side. She doesn’t give in an inch.

Susan sighs and tries again.  “You can do it. Come on . . .”


“I’ll give you a biscuit . . .” 


They start gaining an audience.  Park-folk seems to be getting more and more interested in Susan’s stubborn dog.

“Bulla has a mind of her own,” Susan’s father, Patrick, always says.  “She’s too old to learn new tricks.”


A couple with a small Chihuahua stops, staring at Susan and Bulla. Susan looks at the perfection with which the Chihuahua prances about in dismay. ‘That perfect little critter probably never places a foot wrong. My Bulla, on the other hand, is the reason I’m out here trying to train her some manners so the neighbors will stop complaining.’

”If you want to teach her how to sit just tell her you’ll give her a biscuit,” the couple suggests. They didn’t even finish the word biscuit, and ‘plunk,’ Bulla flops her large ass down on cue.

“Well, I’ll be damned . . .”

The couple smiles smugly, and the crowd bursts out laughing.

“I’ve tried that myself a couple times, but it seems you must have the magic touch,” Sarah says, a red blush creeping all the way to behind her ears. She glances at Bulla from the corner of her eye.  Bulla doesn’t blink. Simply sits there with a glance in her eyes Susan knows all to well. ‘If dogs could talk . . .’

“Thank you,” Susan musters a smile – trying her best to sound sincere. 

“No problem,” the couple says while waving goodbye. Their little princess prances on tiptoes in front of them, tail in the air.

“Really, Bulla! Humiliating me like that in front of everyone?” 

On the way home Susan gives Bulle the lecture of all lectures., but Bulla, her usual, stubborn self, only looks at Susan coyly. She is not in the least concerned at her recent antics in the park.


To avoid their next training session turning into another spectacle, Susan consults the RSPCA’s Free Guide before heading out.

“Ok, Bulla. So, this is how things are going to be from now on.  I’m going to give you a biscuit every time you sit, ok?”

Bulla’s ears shoot upwards while simultaneously wiggling her tail at an ever-increasing rate. Slime is already dripping to the grass below. For an elder dog, Bulla learns quickly as soon as she realizes her favorite treat is part of the package deal.

Susan shows off Bulla’s skills with pride the next time they meet couple-Chihuahua.

“Oh, wow.  An old dog certainly can learn new tricks, after all?” Says Barbara and Brad.

Susan smiles with pride.  “Yes, they certainly can!”




STEP 1 –   Give a Verbal Cue

Say, “Sit.”


STEP 2 –   Have a Treat in Hand

Hold the treat in your hand and keep it 1 inch above your dog’s nose. Don’t let her snick it.

STEP 3 –  Move the Treat Upwards

Dogs mostly follow things with their eyes. Move the treat to the top of your dog’s head, then upwards. She will bring up her nose and put her bum on the floor. (Most of the time :-)


STEP 4 –   Show your Appreciation

Say “Yes,” or whichever other word you use to praise your dog as soon as they sit

STEP 5 –  Reward

Give your dog the treat.


STEP 6 –   Repeat

Repeat the steps several times until your dog catches on.  It usually takes a couple of tries.


STEP 7 –  Advanced Steps

For a list of more advanced steps, consult the RSPCA’s guide on teaching your dog how to sit.






In the next lesson, we will teach our old dog how to fetch. See you then!

FDN LIFE article >


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