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You have brought a Labrador puppy into your home and life is getting exciting. Bringing a new puppy home is fun, rewarding, entertaining, and exhausting. But as soon as you bring your puppy home, you will want to start some basic obedience training. A great trick to start with is to teach your Labrador puppy to sit. Training your puppy to sit will be simple. Because it's such an easy trick, your Lab will be eager because he will be rewarded quickly.
This high energy and reward-based training will set up all of your future training sessions with your puppy on a positive note. Training your Labrador puppy to sit starts the foundation for basic obedience training. You will ask your Lab to sit more times in his life than probably anything else. Much of his future training will start in a 'sit' position.
Training your Labrador puppy to sit only requires that you have his attention for a few minutes. His attention span is going to be short. So, keep your training sessions short but schedule them several times throughout the day. Training your Labrador puppy to sit often becomes a battle of wills and patience. As you patiently wait, your Labrador puppy will get bored and eventually sit down. This is the action you will mark with a reward and positive reinforcement. Because this training is rewards based with positive behaviors marked, your puppy will be motivated and want to do well. Each time you ask him to sit and he does so, be prepared to reward him. Work on getting 'sit' down before moving on to any other training.
To train your Labrador puppy to sit all you're going to need are treats, patience, and some scheduled time for training. Set aside some of this training time without distractions. You want to have your Lab puppy’s full attention early on. Because he's a puppy, you will only get so much of his attention at a time, so keep these obedience training sessions short but repeat them often.
The Trick for Treat Method
Start with play
Play a bit with your Labrador puppy. He is high energy and loves playtime, especially if he gets to play with you. Be sure to give him some tasty treats while you are playing together.
Follow the treat
While you have your puppy’s attention, hold a treat up over his nose. Hold his attention by keeping the treat still. Your puppy should be looking at the treat. If you move it left or right, his nose should follow.
Move the treat
Still holding the treat up high above his head, get your Labrador to follow the treat as you move it above his head but back slowly toward the back of his head.
Follow to sit
As your puppy moves his head to follow the treat, he will likely have his chin pointed high up and won’t take the risk of falling over, so he will automatically sit on his bottom.
As soon as your puppy sits in an effort to follow the treat moving over his head, say the word "sit" and give him the treat.
Keep repeating this until your Lab can sit without the lure of the treat but rather just by command.
Be sure to reward your puppy each time he is successful and sits when you ask him to. Practice this every day, several times a day. Even as you get into more difficult training, your Labrador should know to sit before any other command given.
The Sit and Click Method
If you plan to clicker train your Labrador puppy, you should know it is an effective positive behavior reward-based training. Be prepared to click train your Labrador puppy to sit on command with a clicker and high-value treats. These treats should be small and rewarding.
Show a treat
Show your Labrador puppy a treat to get his attention. You’ll want to be in a distraction-free environment to do this training.
Sniff the treat
Let your puppy sniff the treat by holding it in your hand in front of his nose. If you have an eager Lab pup, he might try to eat the treat. If he tries this, keep it in your closed hand.
Hold the treat up over your Labrador’s nose and slowly move it over the back of his head. Your pup should follow the treat with his nose up and back as well. As the treat gets above his head he’ll back up and sit down.
Once your puppy is in a sitting position, say the word "sit" and click and treat.
Practice this several times. Over time, you should just say the command "sit" and expect your Labrador puppy to sit. Be sure you are rewarding his positive behaviors with a click and treat each time he sits.
The Hand Signal Method
Stand in front of your Lab puppy. Show him a treat. This will hold his attention and prepare him to earn the treat.
Hold your hand up over his head palm facing up. This is the hand signal for sit.
Move your hand
Your puppy might sit just while waiting for your hand to do some trick of its own, but it’s more likely he will stand and watch your hand. Slowly move your hand behind your Labrador puppy’s head.
As your puppy’s eyes follow your hand, say the command "sit" and watch your puppy sit down.
As soon as his bottom touches the floor, give him a "good boy" and a treat. Immediately repeat and practice several times. Over time, he will be conditioned to sitting when you give him the hand signal.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 02/20/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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