I don’t mind sitting. I do a lot of sitting. I usually go right into lying down and don’t waste my time with the in between step of sitting but sometimes it’s necessary. For instance, there are times when I want to remain responsive in case there is food to be had or children to avoid. Then it pays to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.
There’s also the Sit “command”. Once again, this is like so many other commands they throw at us in the dog world. It’s a suggestion, not a command. These suggestions are considered by the dog and then he determines if it’s worth doing or not. Take the Play Dead command. The first question most dogs ask is Why? Why do you call it play dead when it’s much closer to “fall asleep”. Now there’s a command I can live with!
Fortunately Dad has never gone so far as trying to teach me the Play Dead command and I thank him for that. I would resist it for several days the first day he tried. If he called it the Fall Asleep command, I would be much more receptive to it. I might even obey that command accidentally at times. I can easily fall asleep without being told to.
Anyway, I was talking about the Sit command. I’m good at it because it almost always means I’m getting a treat for sitting. In fact, I don’t know if I would have the patience to sit without getting a treat. Offer a treat and I will sit, bark and shake all at once. You can’t take any chances when it comes to treats and if one of these silly acts will get me a biscuit, I’m down with it.
Here’s how it works on my end. Usually I can smell goodies in the form of dog biscuits or treats of some kind. Right there I’m already ahead in the game. Next, Dad looks at me and I hear words coming out of his mouth. Depending on how seriously they are coming out is how quickly I am likely to respond.
When I’ve already smelled a treat and I hear the command shouted firmly, I might just sit right away to see if I get a treat. Usually I’m rewarded so all is good with the world. If I don’t get a treat right away, I’ll look Dad in the eye and question him with my eyes. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a short woof to see if that’s what he had in mind. I watch his hands. If they have a treat, I can usually get him to give it to me by going through my repertoire of tricks.
I’ll start with Sit because it’s easiest and I normally want to be sitting anyway. Then the woof. I that still doesn’t work I’ll lift a paw in case he wants me to shake hands or give him a high five. Remember, I don’t do these corny tricks because I like to. It’s the biscuit I’m hoping to get. I have perfected the art of catching the treat in my mouth which is a crowd pleaser. Saves me the trouble of having to eat dirt and debris off the ground as well.
The worst trick? It’s the Wait command. How cruel! A tasty treat is often placed a few feet out of reach and I’m told to leave it alone until I get the okay signal, usually the Get It command. Being a dog, waiting for 10 seconds is like waiting for a week. The dog-year conversion algorithm for this is exponentially longer that the actual elapsed time! I start to salivate like a Pavlov’s dog. When the wait is finally over, I snatch the treat as quickly as possible and hope like heck we don’t have to go through that again. Let’s just keep it simple and go back to Sit.