02 17 05 722 W - + 106 - 119

SIT MEANS SIT You may think sit meas sit, but my guess is that it really doesnít to your dog.

I can discuss this subject because in many respects, I am an expert. By expert, I mean that my dogs are known offenders (one having broken in two different trial in the fourth series where we were on the leader board) and I am, in no small measure, to blame.

First, some background. My dogs are professionally trained by Cherylon Loveland. She does not run trials, I do. In the off-season, I train every weekend. In season, I train Thursday, then jump in my dog truck.

Second, it doesnít matter what you do, the dogs know a field trial (or hunt test). I donít care what you do, you cannot replicate battle conditions, only approximate. At a FT, there is no collar. There are lots more people, dogs, and truck. The dogs sit around longer. There are more guns at the flyer station. They get a shot duck or pheasant - not a pigeon. So, if you have a high powered dog, he is going to be jacked up. That is a given.

Third, if you have a young, jacked up dog, your obedience problems can be exacerbated. One partial solution is to wear the dogs out. When my dogs were 3 and I was running in the AA stakes, I would run blinds in the morning before the set up dog ran, run blinds after the setup dog ran, run blinds after the marks, run blinds after the blinds, etc., etc. etc. I found that when I was able to do this (not always possible because of grounds near FT, running numbers, etc.) I MIGHT have a chance of keeping the dogs RELATIVELY mellow. They would still race out after the birds, but be more considered about it. If I didnít run the blinds, I was doomed. The dogs were just too pumped to be a FT. If they had to sit in the truck and wait, they would be running all over Godís country in the first series. Things got somewhat better at age 4, but they still needed the blinds to blow some of the steam out of them.

Last Spring, my two 4 year old littermates each had a win and each needed two points to qualify for the National. So, I pushed hard ... I ran too many trials in a row ... and got nothing. Whatís worse, the dogs line manners got worse. So, Cherylon and I dissected what was going wrong. There were some things that we could not address or did not want to address. Neither Cherylon nor I wanted to take the drive out of the dogs. It is too big a part of what we enjoy about the game. We thought (and this year may tell us so) that age would probably take care of some of the problem.

Then we started to work on me. And we discovered sit did not mean sit to the dogs when I was running them. They knew that the standard was different for me than for Cherylon.

Ok, so what do I mean when I say sit means sit.

It means in training (and of course at a FT)
It means that you donít get out of the dog box until I say so.
It means you donít move after you get out of the dog box until I say so.
It means that when I am walking to the holding blind (and I use a very short lead - a 6" climbing rope with no loop attached to a choke chain, which makes it easy for me to identify surging by the dog - and which can remain on the dog for land marks), the dog must sit when I stop.

It means that when I call for the birds, ANY movement calls for correction (either 6" lead or stick).

It means when the dog returns with the bird, repositions, and sits, ANY movement without my direction calls for correction.

It means that after the dog gives me the bird, ANY movement without my direction calls for correction.

My guess is that if you videotape yourself, you will find that sit really does not mean to the dog what you think it means.

Ted, I really appreciate this article. I did not realize how much “sit means sit” until I took a video camera and set it up at a training session. I had been blaming my dogs when it was my fault they were bouncing around. Again thanks for the article. GREAT website by the way!!!!
Otey Brabston (Email) - 17 02 05 - 12:03

As a newbie, I didn’t realize just how important sit was until we tried to progress. After re-establishing sit, everything started coming together nicely. Now EVERYTHING we do starts and ends with a sit, which makes a fragment. Each fragment contains pieces of information for the dog. It is amazing how fast they disect a fragment and learn.
Kevin Rice (Email) - 22 03 05 - 10:20

Ted – overall, your site has been one of the best I’ve happened on, including many pro sites, because of the vantage point as an amateur handler/breeder/owner that you offer.

And most especially, I appreciate your openness about sharing your mistakes. I’ve watched many of the ‘big Pro’ videos/DVDs you reference. But for me, what you offer is a road map that I, as a complete rank amateur with very few local resources, can ues directly in my training.

Great work on this website. And thanks for your candor.

3blackdogs (Email) - 01 05 05 - 20:26

Remember personal info?

Comment: / Textile

  ( Register your username / Log in )

Notify: Yes, send me email when someone replies.  

Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.