This is a simple but important exercise. Previously, you have always had a piece of food in your hand when you asked your dog to sit. Now you are going to ask your dog to sit without having the food in your hand, although you will still use food as a reward. To understand the significance of this step, you need to understand the difference between a lure and a reward. When food is used as a lure, it is shown to the dog before the dog responds. When food is used as a reward, it is not shown to the dog until after the dog responds.
You may have trouble making the transition between using the food as a lure and using it as a reward because your dog may not respond at first if he thinks the food is unavailable. Be patient. The first time you ask your dog to sit without the food in your hand, make the exact same hand motion as you did when you had food. This then becomes your sit hand signal. When your dog sits, reach into your pocket or a nearby container to reward your dog with a piece of food.
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