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Teaching Your Labrador Retriever to Sit

Black Lab SittingThe sit command, in obedience training, means that the dog should sit at the handler's left side, the dog's shoulder square to the handler's knee. The dog should sit facing straight ahead. In fact, truly well-trained dogs learn to heel by their handler's side and then to automatically sit as soon as motion is stopped, such as when coming to a street corner.

Start by heeling the dog at your side. When you stop, give the command "Sit!" and place your left hand on the animal's rear to guide it into a sitting position while your right hand uses the lead to hold the head up. With hands positioned, make the dog remain sitting for a moment; then give the heel command and start walking once more. Again stop, give the command to sit, guide the dog into position and have it stay seated a little longer.

Gradually, as your dog catches on, you can quit giving the command, and then the lead and hand correction. The dog will sit automatically when you come to a stop, just as you' ve taught it to do, and wait for you to either start moving again or for its release through an established release command, such as "Okay!"

Finally, when your dog has learned the full meaning of sit, and learned to sit when you stop walking, you are ready to teach the sit from any position. Put the training collar and lead on, and give the dog the "Sit!" command, guiding it into position as before. Concentrate on this phase, continuing the pure sit training until your dog will sit on command without the need for corrections. When this is accomplished, you can begin to introduce the stay command.