A sit in time saves nine

One of the very first things that one of my bipeds taught me as a puppy was to sit. She held a treat close to my nose and, before I could take it, she lifted her hand slightly and moved it above my head. My nose was following the treat and, as I tilted my head back, I sat. She gave me the treat and told me how clever I was. This was such an easy way to get a treat!

We repeated this quite a few times over the next few days. When she could tell I knew what she was going to do and what I needed to do to get the treat, she added the word ‘sit’. I soon remembered the word because I liked the treats. I then began learning lots of other things, but every training session started and ended with a sit. I was also asked to sit at odd times during the day. I didn’t get a treat every time, sometimes I was given a fuss or we played a game for a few minutes. But I always knew it would be worth my while to do as asked, they seemed to like sit a lot.

I decided I could use this to my advantage. When I wanted something I would sit. They told me I was very good and encouraged me to do this. I soon discovered that when I heard them say ‘sit’ to me I no longer had to consider whether I should comply or not – it was always worth it! It became an automatic response, my bottom would hit the deck before the thought had registered in my brain.

But now I come to the downside of sitting so readily. This is a warning to any puppies reading this – make sure that the rewards are worth it because there will be things it stops you from doing.

If only we hadn't been told to sit! (From guzer.com)

If only we hadn’t been asked to sit!
(From guzer.com)

I told you last week about when I was trying to chase some goats – I was asked to sit and I didn’t get to chase them very far. I’ll give you a few other examples of things I haven’t been able to do because I was asked to sit. If I’ve ever been on my way across the kitchen to investigate what’s on the counter, I hear “Clowie, sit!” before I can get there. It’s the same story when visitors arrive, “Clowie, sit!” – how’s a dog to give bipeds a proper greeting while sitting? It’s impossible to leap all over them and lick their faces! If they’ve left the front door open while they’re bringing in some shopping and it occurs to me it would be nice to pop out and investigate – yes, you’ve guessed, “Clowie, sit!”

One day, just after I’d been asked to sit when there was something exciting to do, I heard one of my bipeds say, “Isn’t ‘sit’ wonderful? There isn’t much mischief a puppy can get into while sitting!”

That was obviously their cunning plan all along! They have used ‘sit’ to modify my behaviour. But I have also worked it to my advantage. I have perfected a really pretty sit that they find very hard to resist. When I hear them open the fridge door, I can get there from anywhere in the house in less than five seconds. I’m usually right behind them, in my pretty sit, before they can close the door again. I don’t always get something, but sometimes I do and there’s never any harm in asking! My lead hangs on a hook and if I sit with my nose touching the lead, I usually get a walk. I think it’s worked out fairly well.

See you next Wednesday!

P.S. If you were wondering about the title, there’s a saying “a stitch in time saves nine” and it means that a timely effort will prevent more work later.

Other news

I want to tell you about two cats that need homes.

Leo has been nursed back to health by Savannah and her family. He now needs a home of his own in the California area. So head on over to Savannah’s Paw Tracks and read about him. He has a special page on Savannah’s blog explaining what he needs from the people who care for him.

Leo, in need of a home

Leo, in need of a home

Basil, in Yorkshire, England, is still looking for a home for a young cat called Mary – more information here.

Mary needs a home

Mary needs a home

128 Comments

  1. I’m so with you Clowie! I think there is some magic to the ‘sit’ command. it is the only command Zac would always obey. He wouldn’t come if he was out, but he could be told to sit and his little bottom would stay down on the ground as His Beloved came closer and captured him!
    I wasn’t quite as good or ‘magicked’ as Zac until we had Raffles! Because it was one of the first commands they taught him and gave him treats for, I came right alongside and continue to show them how well I can sit too πŸ™‚ I get lots of treats that way!

    • Be careful, Zena! It’s beginning to work on you! It’s the only command that I always obey without thinking. They tell me that my recall is rubbish, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to call me when I’m doing something important! But I will sit, even though I know they’re coming to get me.

  2. You’ve got those hoomans right where you want them! Isn’t it funny when they think they’ve got you trained and you are getting your way anyway!

    Silly hoomans

    Happy Wednesday

    xxxx

  3. Sitting definitely has it’s rewards but at times not much fun at all.

  4. Like the picture I can sit and not respond to distractions…although it is sometimes pretty hard.

    • Yes, I know what you mean. To sit when asked is almost a reflex, but remaining there when there’s something interesting going on is difficult.

  5. Wataminute, waitaminute – goats? ‘real’ goats?
    Sitting, what they haven’t guess isn’t always all that comfortable. For those of us who’ve perfected it (you and me) sometimes other hindrances occur (pun intended). Case in point my visit with the vet just yesterday: Momma kept asking me to sit on the COLD aluminum folding chair and I kept getting up. She must have said ‘sit’ 20 times. Typically, I would listen. But as soon as my hindquarters hit that COLD ALUMINUM it would bounce right back. Then she put her wallet there. and though she has me trained to sit on my tail, I just wasn’t in the mood to feel that chair. She was frustrated, I was frustrated. I won. She just let me be. As it should be.

    • Yes, they were real goats and they were loose and up to no good.
      I can see how you wouldn’t like sitting on something cold. I think you should get her to carry a cushion for you! I’m so hairy it’s always like sitting on a fluffy blanket.

  6. My Clowie comes with her very own floofy pillow/blanket thanks to her beautiful coat! YAY! Who needs cushions when you have that ALL the time….as for practicing “sit” – if my Mom said that to me I’d just give her the “are you kidding” look. Cats certainly CAN be trained but we much prefer “letting it all hang out” !! πŸ˜€

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  7. I love that they think they have trained you but you trained them! And thank you so so much for remembering Mary!

  8. LOL silly peeps they don’t quite understand that you are training them. Simple folk! Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  9. Well done, Clowie! You are so smart! Sitting is easy for me when I smell a treat, but when the door is open, I am known to resist, and when visitors come… All bets are off! I need work.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  10. A cute sit is always worth a treat! I think for many of us sit is our best command since we seem to learn it first but you are right. With time, humans just expect it with no reward and most of us do it.

  11. I do the same hahahaha – when I want something I sit like a “teachers pet” immediately. But without a treat (and I notice it immediately when they only pretend they have a treat) they will get no sit – that’s for sure. Mom says I’m a natural-born capitalist (she is crazy – I’m just a Weim).

    • That’s something a Pyr and a Weim have in common then. Most Pyrs think things through to see what’s in it for them. I do with most requests, but they’ve brainwashed me with the sit!

  12. Humans are pretty silly!!

  13. Oh dear, the only thing I can depend on getting a reaction from my cats is the sound of the cat food lid opening. Works every time!

  14. Oh thank you Clowie for highlighting both Leo AND Mary. I am going to post about Mary too and [email protected] on Twitter to tweet about Mary. He is in England and has a ton of twitter followers. And Moms Sibes would also sit but “come”… Well, they always had to think about that her fore deciding to respond!” Paw pats, Savannah

    • I was pleased to do it, Savannah. I’m hoping they’ll both be in a lovely home of their own soon. I think it’s an excellent idea to ask Mr Tibbs to share the story. He has a large following on Facebook as well as Twitter – and they’re probably all cat lovers!
      I’m with the Sibes on “come” – it’s totally unreasonable if I’m busy. That’s probably why they’re so careful about where they let me off lead, ha ha!

    • thank you may pal! I don’t know what i’d do without my blogging mates, you guys are great!!

  15. OMD (oh my dog) we have to sit like that! But I don’t comply (me, Bella) I’m still pretty much a big puppy and use that as an excuse (shhhhhh don’t let my biped hear this) and I’m much better than she is (me, Max) but when she breaks command why should I stay put?

    We tweeted about Leo and hope some of our California friends fall in love with his adorable photo and grab him up. Thanks for helping out both of the furry friends.

    We wuff you,
    Max & Bella (and the only one who does stay sitting, biped mom)

    • It must be at least twice as hard to stay put when there are two of you! You can have twice the mischief!
      Thank you for tweeting about Leo. The more people that see the story the better chance there is of the right person seeing it. I’m keeping my paws crossed they’ll both get a happy home soon.

  16. Love that picture. Can’t believe all those dogs are just sitting there and that the cat walked in front of them. Our doggie that lives here sits very nicely. She never has understood the stay stuff. That is just too hard. Have a great day.

    • I like that picture, I think they’re police dogs in training. But even so, the larger the group of dogs the harder it is for them all to stay!

  17. Much love and best wishes to the Kitties! And Clowie, you are so well behaved. Our biped often tells us to “sit” and we pretend to listen – until bipeds turn their heads, that is ;))

    • Thank you, I hope they find homes soon.
      If they turn their heads, they couldn’t have been that serious about it – so it seems reasonable to go and do as you please!

  18. I’m sure there are many young dogs who will take your advice about the perils of sitting on command. You’re an excellent role model for them.

  19. Sounds like you have ‘sit’ figured out but are powerless against it. πŸ™‚

  20. You seem to have achieved a great thing, Clowie ……… so what does “sit” mean again? πŸ˜‰

    love, Austin xx

  21. Great job Clowie! You’re right, sit is a simple command but so very useful. Pierson is dog aggressive, but after working with him these past few months, he is almost always does an automatic sit when we are out for a walk and we see another dog. He’s still not quite so good at keeping his bottom down after the sit because he really wants to go after that other dog, but he is making great improvements.

    • Thank you! It’s good to hear that Pierson is improving. If he sits, even if he doesn’t plan to stay, it gives you a few seconds that make all the difference. I’m sure he’ll keep improving now.

  22. Clowie sounds like you’ve got the “sit” thing down. I love the part about the refrigerator. Smart dog!! I mean hey, if it gets you an extra treat, there’s nothing wrong with that…right??

  23. Clowie…I think you are on to something here. I am always asked to “sit” and I comply however I find the “sit” as my meal is being served a bit of an irritation. I just want to get to my bowl but no…I have to sit until I hear “good boy, go ahead”. These humans and their commands. Bah!
    *Cairn cuddles*
    Oz

    • Oz, I understand what you mean about waiting to eat. I also have to wait until I’m told I can take it. Sometimes I sigh, but I think I have to wait longer when I do!

  24. I am sure you are very hard to resist when you are sitting pretty, Clowie πŸ˜‰ I hope Leo and Mary find happy homes.

  25. You are such a well behaved boy πŸ™‚ The sit command sure is handy when you need it, but that is quite impressive it would even keep you from the goats!

    • Thank you! I don’t think I would have sat for long, but it was long enough for her to catch up with me – and that makes all the difference!

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