Sit Commands for Your Puppy

Other than their name, the sit command is the first thing a puppy learns. “Jelly”, the subject of this video, began learning what sit meant at seven weeks old. He also learned what here meant shortly thereafter.   As important as the here command is, sit is still the most important and most versatile command a pup ever learns.

Once the puppy knows and responds reliably to the sit command, we begin to use it countless times in our everyday lives together. Before we go outside we have the puppy sit. Before we come back inside we have the puppy sit. Before we feed the pup, it has to sit. When the puppy is getting too rambunctious, we make the puppy sit. There is no command that we ever use as much as sit. There is no command that can be as versatile as sit in developing and controlling a puppy’s behavior. This lesson is all about how we expand the power of the sit command.

Jelly was introduced to the routine of sitting before going in or out of our cabin as a baby. Because he was so young, there was never a correction for not sitting. If he didn’t sit, I wouldn’t open the door. Because he wanted to go outside and play, he learned that he had to sit in order for the door to open. Likewise, after he had aired and had some playtime, he wanted to go back inside where the big dogs were. And guess what? The door only opens after he sits. Once we have him used to sitting before he comes in, we make him wait until we say his name. If he tries to go inside before we say his name, we simply close the door.

After awhile, he learns that a smart puppy will hold the sit until he hears his name.

After he’s doing this well, we put an older dog out there with him and say the older dog’s name first. If the pup tries to go inside as the older dog does, we close the door. Again, the puppy learns that he can only leave the sit position and go inside when his name is spoken.

We gradually make the wait longer and add a second dog that goes before he does. In the video, after Snatch and Drifter are released, you hear me say Snatch’s name again and Jelly starts to leave, realizes that I didn’t say his name and stops. He is then rewarded for his obedience and goes inside the cabin. This is a great training drill for any dog, especially for a hunting lab. If we run him in field trials or hunt tests, he will have to honor another dog working in front of him. Jelly is only five months old and clearly understands this. Whether you plan on hunting your lab or not, this is a wonderful training drill to teach your dog the value of self discipline and it will make your pup so much more confident in its ability to be rewarded for correct behavior.

Call Woody and Judi Thurman at (910) 462-3246 for more information.