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  • Writer's pictureBrienne Carey

Beyond the Sit: The Science Behind the Name

Sit. One of the first and most commonly taught cues to dogs everywhere. But...should it be? More and more dog trainers are opting out of teaching sit for very, very good reasons.

First, sit requires a great deal of flexibility and muscle control. Puppies and older dogs especially are unable to form a proper sit. Puppies are still developing all the muscles required and their joints are not yet connected. Seniors are often dealing with arthritis and hind end weakness. Certain breeds, such as many of the hounds, are not built to sit and find it uncomfortable. No dog should be required to perform a sit when they find it uncomfortable or painful to do so.

Teddy Sits at the Morton Arboretum

Second, sit often becomes the go-to request for everything. Giving your dog a treat? We ask them to sit first. Planning to go for a walk and need to put their leash on? We ask them to sit first. Want them to greet someone without jumping up? We ask them to sit. Once a dog learns a sit gets them the good stuff, it becomes their default maneuver and we often have to "unstick" them before teaching them anything new.

Third, why sit? Often a stand or a lie down can serve the same purpose and with less possible harm. Let your dog choose what works for them.

This is not to say that sit doesn't have its place in dog training. It does. It is an excellent fitness exercise! Once a dog is 2 or 3 years old, and is in a good health and condition, sit can be taught with extra attention given to proper form to help keep them in optimal shape. Use sit wisely and safely!

These are the reasons you will not find me teaching sit to puppies. Or seniors. In fact, you won't see a whole lot of "basic obedience." We go beyond the sit. And why not? Our dogs are capable of So. Much. More. They can understand entire concepts and apply them properly! Boundaries. Proximity. Flexibility. Optimism. Independence. The list goes on. So join me and tap into your dog's full potential!


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