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


  1. Your human training proceeds well, dear Clowie.

  2. Oh, the advantages of a dog that doesn’t follow commands…. *giggles*

  3. Sit seems to be very very important Clowie. Having had cats all my life commands of any kind were sort of useless. You know cats.. πŸ™‚ Although all our kitties did come when we called and they did seem to understand alot of our people speak.

    • Yes, it’s very difficult to get into too much mischief while sitting still! Pippin will answer when he’s called – not too sure what he’s saying though!

  4. I kid on some times I don’t know how to sit, once they think you have mastered something the peeps don’t give treats anymore..BOL, We know Leo will find the pawfect Castle and the most obedient staff πŸ™‚ xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

    • I bet their faces are worth seeing when you pretend you’ve forgotten. But you’re right, if we’re reliable on something, they take it for granted. I’m keeping my paws crossed for the kitties.

  5. That is one luck cat. That is a funny picture.
    Missy recently posted.http://www.dawsondogs.com/blog/2013/7/Happy-Birthday-America

  6. Seen that picture before and makes me smile πŸ™‚

  7. What a humourously wonderful photo of those alsations sitting whilst a cat crosses right under their noses!

    • Yes, I love that picture! I think they’re police dogs in training.

      • Hiya
        On a different subject, it has suddenly occurred to me to ask as you are also a Pyr. I just wondered if you could tell me whether you use detangling spray? I have tried Johnson’s Velvet but the stupid can cannot keep its nozzle, and now I have lots of spray but no means to get it out! Is there a good detangler you use that is great for applying before getting out any matts? Or maybe you don’t suffer from matts?

        • We’ve never tried a detangling spray. The really soft hair around the ears tends to tangle so we brush that more often, and we trim a little hair away on the inside of the thigh where it tends to knot. Other than that, it doesn’t matt.

          • Thank you for your advice. I trim too, but Maddi’s hair is so fine, it matts as soon as I think of it! Oh yes, I thought I’d share with you that Zack knows how to sit as soon as he gets to the fridge. In fact, I don’t even ask him to sit. He goes to the fridge and either sits in front of it or lies in front of it so that when I open the fridge, he is there is the right place to receive a treat. The wiles of a dog, eh?

          • We have a Persian cat and his hair is really fine and soft. It matts really quickly, I suppose a detangling spray might help with him sometimes. He doesn’t much like it when there’s a tangle to get out. I was chatting with someone earlier about how intelligent Pyrs are – they know how to get what they want!

          • Aye! Don’t we just know it. Thank you for chatting with me.

          • It was a pleasure!

  8. That ‘sit’ word really does work magic, Clowie! You’re so clever! πŸ™‚

  9. Enjoyed that story Clowie and loved the pic of the cat walking in front of the dogs.
    You should take up Human training classes.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. That picture makes me smile every time I look at it! I think I may start classes for humans – they could pay in treats and hugs!

  10. So SIT will work very nicely when I think you’re in danger of catching chickens faster than me then? Lol πŸ˜‰

  11. Sounds like you have your humans trained very well! Those dogs in the picture are impressive. Rita will ‘sit’ but she’s not so great with the ‘stay’. I’m pretty sure she’d be after that cat! We actually have a trainer coming today to work with her (I’m a terrible trainer) so we’ll see how that goes… (I’m the one who really needs the training!)

    • They’re doing quite well, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. ‘Stay’ is a lot harder than ‘sit’, especially when there are distractions. It took a while to work up from a stay of a few seconds. I hope it goes well with the trainer!

  12. I hope these two beautiful cats find a home soon…

    • Hi Marsa! Yes, I hope they find homes soon. A number of bloggers are trying to get their story out to more people, it just needs the right people to see it. I’m keeping my paws crossed for them.

    • I’ve been trying to wish you a belated happy birthday on your blog, but I can’t seem to leave a comment – I’ve tried a few times.

      • Why? Is there any problem with the comments? Anyway, thank you for your interest.

        • Hi Marsa! I’ve tried again this morning and the same thing is happening. I enter a comment and submit it and it returns the error message:
          “Go back and try again.

          Error: empty answer. []”
          however many times I try, the same thing happens.
          Also, I still can’t get your ‘like’ button to work.

  13. Oh, Clowie, I hope those kitties find great homes. Ma just spent 1 hour on the laptop sharing pictures of dogs that need homes and spreading the news about a lost dog. Sometimes it’s so sad. Every 4-legged should have a happy, safe home.

    As for you, I’m glad you turned that obedience trick to your advantage. The humans can be so stingy with the goodies that knowing how to do ‘sit’ really well often turns their miserly hearts!!! That and ‘I’m starving’ eyes… πŸ˜‰

    Your Poppy Seed

    • Your Ma did a good thing. It’s heartbreaking that animals are homeless, or lost. I really wish all animals could have the homes they deserve.
      It sounds as though you’re doing well with your ‘sit’. Keep working on the facial expressions, they’re quite an important part in getting what you want!

  14. I recognize everything you type … My best sit is , sitting like a Meerkat … Try it and i promise that you can get candy even from totally strangers on your walks … // Yarri πŸ˜‰

  15. I like being a good dog too Clowie but you’re right…sometimes we miss out on some really fun stuff while we’re busy being “good” Momz uses the word “wait” and I know it means to sit where I am but gee sometimes I really want to run Happy Saturday!

    • It is difficult staying there when there’s something interesting going on, Gizmo! I sometimes feel I’m missing out, but other times I know I’ve been taken somewhere nice because they can rely on me to be “good” and I think it’s the same for you. Enjoy your weekend!

  16. That picture is awesome and you Clowie are one smart dog! We aren’t quite as good or as smart as you are! We don’t always sit when our mommy and daddy tell us too. We don’t obey our humans like we should. Hmmmmm….maybe we would get more treats if we did!

    • Thank you, I love that picture. I think you probably would get more treats, but you might miss out on some fun things – it’s a difficult choice!

  17. Good dog, Clowie! And wow, those Alsatians must be really strong-minded!

  18. My sweet Clowie, Thank you, thank you, thank you for your precious help!
    First, the Like button isn’t working and for this reason I’ll remove it. Instead of this, you can vote any post at Star Rating which is at the top of each post.
    Second, I fixed the problem with the comments. So whenever you want you can leave your comment.
    Thank you for letting me know!
    I’m wagging my tail with joy to you!

  19. Every day passes you prove to be a good friend of mine! Thank you…

  20. Oh yes Clowie, follow the hand for the treat always! Have a great Sunday!

  21. Clowie, that last image is one of sheer control. I wish humans were like that.

  22. Yep, ‘sit’ can work both ways and I use it every chance I get. Now if those stinkin’ cats would just learn to sit when I want them to. Hugs and nose kisses Chancy

  23. Hey Clowie

    You’re such a clever doggie!

    Sit was also my first command that Mum taught me too! This morning she actually told dad she thinks it’s my specialty – that’s probably because I sit at the sidewalk every time unlike Cosmo who tries to get away with it and always ends up in twouble, whilst I’m sat there being the pawfect doggie! Tee Hee

    Have fun,

    Your pal Snoopy πŸ™‚

  24. If there are treats involved, we’ll sit any time and anywhere! Woofs from Jeffie, Rudy and Rosie

  25. My sweet Clowie, I’ve fixed the problem with the “Like” button! Now, it works! Eventually!
    I’m wagging my tail with joy to you

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