Canine Learning Theory Method:
You need to have a training clicker for this method and a lot of treats.
Start out conditioning the puppy to the sound of the clicker. Do this by holding the puppy in your lap. Feed it treats and click after each treat is given. Do this one after another for five minutes. Take a break and do five more minutes of click and treat. Three sessions should be enough to create an association in the pups mind between the reward and the click.
Now comes the hard part because it takes a lot of patience. Have your clicker ready and some treats. Put your puppy in a smaller room or fenced in area. Wait until the pup sits on its own. When it does click and treat. Be sure to click as the puppy sits not after it sits. Each time the puppy sits on its own click and treat. Once the pup figures out it gets a reward for sitting, it will sit and sit and sit. Now introduce the ‘sit” command.
Give the sit command, click as it sits. Treat when the dog sits. If it doesn’t sit immediately wait until it does to click and treat. Say “sit” as the pup rear heads for the floor. You are building associations in the dogs mind between the command, the action, the click, and the treat. Keep repeating the process of command, click, and treat.
The idea is to strongly condition the pup to the positive association between the command and the treat that a high level of compliance is created. Also that retraining won’t be necessary in the future. Sometimes using “old school methods” of training combined with a long layoff from required compliance results in a need for retraining.
Once the dog will reliably sit on command move on the next step. The next step is to teach stay. Using canine learning theory methods requires stay to be taught as a separate exercise.
Again you will need a clicker a lot of treats, and patience. Give the sit command and click but don’t treat every time. In this phase just randomly treat. Do this for a few sessions. Dogs tend to try harder to please when randomly rewarded. They can’t be sure when the reward is coming, just that it is coming so they stay more focused on getting the reward.
Next give the sit command and click, wait a couple of seconds give the stay command, click and treat. But only if the pup remained sitting before the click and treat. Extend out the time the dog has to stay sitting, before it’s rewarded with a click and treat. Anytime the pup gets up before being released command “sit” and click.
Eventually the pup will get the picture that it must stay sitting to get the second click, and most importantly the treat. It can be a tedious process but one that can pay off. It forces the dog to think about what behavior gets it the reward. Once the dog makes the connection between the behavior and the reward, its learned the command. Continue with some short reinforcing lessons and randomly treat to cement the connection.
I really like the concept of using the canine learning theory methods to teach basic obedience. However for me the Old School method is more practical. This is because I have a job that requires long hours and a family. So the training time is limited and I have to get the fastest results possible. So what I have done is combine the two methods together to teach sit/stay. The bottom line: always modify and use the methods so they work best for you!