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Your Labrador Retriever is exceptionally eager to please. This makes training him easy, fun, and rewarding for you both. Your little guy is friendly and outgoing, and though he will grow to be much larger than he was as a puppy, he loves to play with other dogs, children, and adults. Training your Labrador Retriever to sit is the beginning of the foundation for basic obedience training and will carry your pup through multiple tasks and tricks as he continues to learn more each day. Training your dog as a puppy sets expectations and goals early on. Your little guy will probably hear the command to sit more often than any other command. You can have your fuzzy friend sit when you get home from work, so he's not jumping, and you can have him sit before a stranger is allowed to pet him
Asking your Labrador Retriever to sit will start with an enticing treat and end with your pup waiting for his reward. This sets your dog up for commands later which may have him waiting patiently before he is rewarded. This includes anything he would like to have such as food, a meal, or even a walk. Reward-based training incorporates high-value treats for performing a trick or obedience commands. When you train your dog, who is incredibly smart to begin with, that he can earn high-value treats by working, you set the foundation for praise and redirection. Your Labrador Retriever will connect pretty quickly the reward he gets with the action of sitting. Puppies are easy to train, but you can train your adult dog to sit as well. The 'sit' command is a great command to start with before any other training.
You will need some high-value treats such as dried liver, jerky, or cheese. In order to get your fluffball’s attention, you might want to consider scheduling some distraction-free time for training. If you have a puppy, don’t expect to hold his attention for long. Keep the training engaging and filled with rewards and praise.
The Simply Sit Method
Sit in front of your Labrador Retriever and get his attention by giving him a treat. You will be conditioning your bud to sit with you by command.
If your dog sits with you as soon as you sit down, immediately give the command "sit" and give him a treat. If he does not, be patient, he will.
As your buddy waits for you to decide what you’re doing next, he will likely sit. Dogs are curious and won’t stand around waiting for long without sitting. Watch carefully though, because he just might lie down instead of sitting.
Catch your Lab sitting when he loses patience waiting. Say the command and give him a treat.
You may need to scootch to another position and get your dog to follow you on foot. You also might need to get up and sit elsewhere to get him to move and come to you. When he does, it might take a moment, but he will sit if you are watching him closely. When he does, say the "sit" command and give him a treat.
Repeat this several times. This repetitive training is slowly shaping him to recognize the word "sit" and his reward with the action of sitting and the command you give.
Keep it up
Keep challenging your bud to keep moving and sitting with you while earning rewards. But to really challenge him when you get into a new position, stop waiting for him to sit and instead say the command right away. If he’s heard it enough and is making those connections, he should sit right away.
Stand up and face your dog. Use the command to sit. He should sit right away. Be sure to give him that treat. Walk to a new position and use the command again. Keep practicing, challenging your dog to sit from various positions using the command. Give him a treat each time he does it. This is an easy conditioning trick, but be patient as your dog connects actions with commands.
The Click and Signal Method
Stand with treat
Stand in front of your Labrador Retriever with a treat in your hand. Let him see and sniff the treat.
Hold a treat up over your Lab's nose and raise it a bit higher, forcing him to look up.
Slowly move the treat back towards the back of your Labrador's head. As you do this your dog's chin will lift up, and he will probably sit to avoid falling over or backward.
As soon as your dog is sitting after following the treat over his head, click to mark the positive behavior and give him the treat for the reward.
Continue to repeat these actions, only over time add a hand signal to your command. You can say the word "sit" and, with the hand that is not holding the clicker, hold your hand flat palm facing up to indicate to your Labrador Retriever you would like him to sit.
As you are doing the hand signal for your dog and he is practicing sitting, don't forget to reward him with a tasty treat each time he succeeds. Be sure you are using the hand signal and the command "sit" so he can connect the action with the command and the signal.
Click and treat
Make sure you are marking the behavior with a rewarding click and a tasty treat.
The 'Sit' Command Method
Get your Labrador Retriever’s attention by standing in front of him and holding a treat.
Hold the treat to your dog’s nose but don’t let him have it. Slowly move it up over his nose.
Your furry friend’s head should begin to point up following the scent of the treat.
As his head moves, his bottom will lower to a sitting position. If you need to move the treat higher or back toward his head to get this motion from him, feel free to do so. As he slowly moves to that sitting position you want to see, give the command to 'sit'.
Once you say the command and he is sitting, give him the treat and tell him he is a good boy.
Keep practicing together but quickly move to the point where you are not holding the treat above his head but rather only saying the word "sit". Your pup will quickly connect the command with the action of sitting. Be sure he gets a treat each time he sits after you give him the command.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 03/07/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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