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Before Poodles were house pets, they were working dogs! These pooches' pretty curly hair helped them in their job as hunting water dogs, as their hair dried easily and did not become waterlogged. Your poodle would be just as at home following commands to hunt and retrieve waterfowl as he is curled up on your sofa. This means that your poodle is smart, trainable and cute as a button.
Poodles are not just divas! They are considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and because they are people oriented and eager to please, training obedience commands like 'sit' should not be too difficult. Remember to keep training sessions for your poodle puppy a reasonable length so your puppy does not lose focus or get tired and keep things interesting by making training fun and incorporating play so your fun-loving poodle puppy will learn all the faster.
Poodle puppies can be sensitive little souls, they respond best to reward based training or positive reinforcement, not punishment or negative reinforcement. That does not mean you cannot be firm with or correct your Poodle when needed, but methods of training that involve encouragement, praise and consistency are your best choice when training your Poodle puppy.
Remember that puppies have limited attention spans, so keep training sessions short for best results. Teaching your curly cutie to sit is an important obedience command to keep control of your dog in social situations, when handling him, or when he could potentially be in danger if he bounces around or runs off. Your poodle should immediately sit on his bottom in response to the “sit” command, which is a standard, widely used obedience command. Hand signals can also be used to accompany or in place of verbal commands.
Always work with your puppy when you are in a positive mood and have time to focus on your dog. If you are distracted or unfocused you will not be consistent, and your Poodle will pick up on your mood. This can result in a confused and upset puppy. Treats work well to reinforce commands like 'sit', but for a puppy so do toys, play, and attention, so use these as well for rewards--you don’t want a pudgy puppy.
The Capture Sit Method
Wait for a 'sit'
Stand in front of your poodle puppy with a treat in your hand. Your Poodle will smell or see the treat and want to get it, he may circle around and look at you, just ignore him.
When your poodle randomly sits down, usually while circling you to get the treat, immediately say “yes” or use a clicker and provide the treat.
Repeat the previous steps several times a day, for short periods of time, for a few days. When your Poodle puppy comes and sits, reinforce this.
Start adding the command “sit” when your puppy sits. You can also add a hand signal to command 'sit'.
Phase out marker
As your puppy begins to respond to the verbal signal or hand signal for 'sit', start phasing out marking the behavior and replace the treat with praise, affection and play.
The Lure to Sit Method
Stand in front of your poodle puppy, show your puppy that you are holding a treat in your hand above his head.
Move treat overhead
Slowly move your hand with the treat back above your puppy's head, so your puppy tracks your hand with his eyes.
As you move the treat back, your puppy’s backside will naturally lower, and touch the floor. When your puppy is in the sitting position say “sit” and provide the treat.
Repeat several times a day, a few times each session, for several days.
Gradually start saying "sit" and waiting to see if your puppy sits before producing the treat. Once your puppy starts sitting in response to the 'sit' command, start replacing the treat with praise and play.
The Guide and Reinforce Method
Get down to eye level
Get down to floor level, which will encourage your puppy to stay down at your level, and call your Poodle over to you.
Put pressure on bottom
Place your hand on your Poodle’s backside and say “sit” while gently putting pressure on your puppy's bottom.
When your puppy sits, say “yes” and provide a treat or a toy to play with your puppy.
Repeat in several short sessions a day. Successfully perform two or three 'sits' at each session, for several days.
Gradually reduce using hand pressure, provide the 'sit' command while you are standing up and reduce use of treat and toy. Replace with affection and praise.
By Laurie Haggart
Published: 03/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021