I've been teaching my 9 week old little guy "sit" with a clicker and treats for about 5-7 minutes, twice a day for the last few days.

When I have a treat he does great (he actually knows what's going on and will sit before I give the command in anticipation).

If we're outside or there are even the slightest distractions inside, he will simply ignore my commands. I know puppies have very short attention spans, but is this normal? 

Any advice would be really helpful!

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Yes, it's normal.

To encourage him to start sitting without the aid of the treat, you need to wean him off "luring" him into good behaviour. When you brandish a treat under his nose, or above his head, he has no choice but to pay attention to it. And instead of making the link of you *asking* for the behaviour (whether it's sit or lie down or whatever) and performing it, he makes the link of "see treat" => "do action". Start pretending to have the treat in your hand when you ask him. The typical pinched-fingers position will probably trick him. For future reference, as soon as he's done the behaviour a couple of times with you luring him into position, try immediately to ask for it without the aid of a visible treat. You should reward him, and certainly always when you click it, but you do not need to waft it in front of his face for him to comply.

Puppies at that tender age are babies and you're lucky if he pays attention for 30 seconds let alone 60. Make it a fun game, but most importantly, a short one!

Thanks, great advice. I think he has started associating training with treats rather than behavior.

During the day (when I can get him to listen) I can get him to sit without a treat (instead I give him a long pet on his back).

At 9 weeks, 5 minutes is too long. He should get treats every time. Don't start introducing even minor distractions til he's a bit older. He's a baby so keep it short and fun. :-)

Perfectly normal.  All you want to really teach him at this age is that it is rewarding for him to figure out what you want him to do and he gets a treat or praise or some type of reward for doing that.  Distractions come into it only when behaviors are well established.  Always gauge by the success you have, always set your pup up to succeed.  Keep it fun for both of you.

Very normal. I'd recommend a puppy class.


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