• Crystal

Dog Training at Home: How to Teach a Dog to Sit, Lay Down, and Stay for Photos

Whether you are pausing your walk to snap a quick photo of your dog with your phone, or you have an elaborate setup with props and costumes at home, your dog's knowledge of a few easy commands can turn a potentially frustrating situation with blurry photos into a successful photo session with lots of beautiful, clear pictures to choose from.


I find that an understanding of (1) sit, (2) down, and (3) stay are vital for stress-free photography sessions.


Can I Train My Dog Myself?


The answer is yes! Sit, down, and stay are foundational commands that can be taught at home at any time whether you have a young puppy or senior dog. No expensive dog training class required! In fact, your home is the best environment to teach your dogs as this is where they will be expected to apply what they have learned.


Video - Dog Training at Home: Introduction


Dog Training Methods


There are many ways to train a dog to follow commands. I have tried physically assisting the dog, using treats as lures, hand signals, verbal commands, and clickers.


Over the years I have settled on a positive reinforcement dog training method that includes verbal commands, hand signals, and treats.


Video - Dog Training at Home: Methods


Length of Dog Training Session and Using Dog Treats as Lures


How Long Should a Dog Training Session Be? When starting out, training classes should only be for a few minutes. For my dogs, I started out with very short sessions - five minutes before playtime or dinner. As they got more comfortable with a learning environment and began picking up more commands, the length of the training sessions increased.


How Many Dog Treats Can I Give My Dog? It depends on the size of your dog. You can use any kind of food that your dog sees as a special treat for a lure, but I recommend either buying bite sized dog training treats or breaking a larger treat into small bites. To determine how much to give your dog, read the back of the package's label. It is important that the training treat is small enough so that the dog does not fill up quickly on food or overindulge. Keep the treats handy in a pocket or in a training pouch.


Video - Dog Training at Home: Length of Sessions and Treat Luring


How to Train a Dog to Sit

  1. Take a small treat in your hand and hold it very close to the dog's nose.

  2. Say the command: "Sit".

  3. Holding the treat between your pointer finger and thumb, slowly (very slowly) start to move your hand back towards the dog's bottom. It will take a few tries, but the dog will naturally sit down as it tries to follow the treat with its head.

  4. Once your dog's bottom hits the ground, reward it with praise and the treat.


How to train your dog to sit on command
Hold the dog training treat close to the dog's nose


Video - Dog Training at Home: Train a Dog to Sit


How to Train a Dog to Lay Down