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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR LAB PUPPY TO SIT

So here we are about to teach your lab puppy the sit command. Where I mentioned earlier about how there’s the argument on what command to work on first and most people will say sit and for the simple reason that this command is probably the easiest of them all to teach. After all, your lab puppy already knows how to sit naturally and you already know the best way to a puppies heart is either food or curiosity enticed by play, so now we have to simply connect the dots.

Chocolate lab puppy sitting.
A sitting chocolate lab puppy

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • Food Rewards – Being a puppy, most will still work for simply their kibble which is the healthy choice as it will be healthier for them. With the Labrador Retriever is prone to weight gain, be sure to subtract the kibble used in training from their daily food totals. If your puppy has smartened up to the kibble trick, try a healthy snack like some dehydrated sweet potato slices which almost any dog can not deny. Read all the way to the end of this article for a little secret info to a future project.
  • Collar/Leash – teaching this command is easiest without a collar/leash but if your outside, it’s always best to use a collar/leash for safety.  It’s also best to train with the collar/lead as your puppy WILL have to be able to sit while on a lead.
  • Poop Bags – of course if you are outside these will be a given.

Start with whatever food reward you are using but be sure that your puppy does not see where it came from at first as they can often become fixated on the container or bag which you are keeping them in. 
At first I will also start down at their eye level. As training progresses, you can then be standing up. Puppies tend to understand more when your down at their level.

THE SIT COMMAND

  1. Keep the reward hidden in your hand, I tend to keep it in my finger tips as the scent is greater this way and the hand signal I use for this command incorporates this hand structure. Lower hand to just above their nose to get them to start to raise their nose and cause them to lower down their butt to the floor. 
  2. As you see this motion come into play before to start the audio cue with sit. Only give the cue once you start to see the motion. Do not give the cue until the motion can be seen.
  3. once they are in the sitting position, no matter for how long, the quicker the better at first, give the reward and engage in positive reinforcement and affection. I again will use the “Good Sit!” Once the reward is consumed, your puppy will most likely be in search mode still so go directly into the next attempt at the sit command.
Labrador Retriever sitting
Labrador Retriever sitting pretty

Just like weight training where you do reps/sets,, I will always try to exercise a command in 3 immediate repetitions and do 3 sets of them. This will also help imprint the command and action into their vocabulary and list of actions. Once it seems like the pup almost tries to jump the gun by sitting before the command, do not offer the reward. You only want to be rewarding the correct behavior which is the cue>the action>the completion of the command successfully.

If you have one of the sneaky puppies who’s butt won’t touch the ground, do not try and shove the butt down or press down on the hind quarters as this does the exact opposite, makes them want to stay standing up. I you just keep the hand with the treat on top of the bridge of their nose, they will back up by nature. Use your other hand to act as a wall touching them right on the back where the tail meets the body. If you keep your hand rigid at this location and keep them backing up, they again by nature will sit their butt down, if not even almost go into a laying down position. If your pup jumps up, back away and start again. You want the Cue>Motion>Completion always be the same movement every time. As I stated earlier, this will be one of the easiest, if not the easiest command to get quick and successful results from which will also lead us into the next command, “Down”. 

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