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Nov 1, 2018
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New England
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Sit Means Sit ~ In a recent poll taken amongst sporting dog enthusiasts, the question was asked; "Do you train STAY and SIT as separate commands"? Opinions varied quite significantly and it seemed to me that there was flaw in the way the question was worded, and that it might vary as a matter of breed specific training methods such as those for pointing dogs vs. those for retrievers.

The dogs I work with consist of retrieving breeds only. I do train both the STAY and SIT commands, and I do so across three separate domains of communication; (1) Verbal Command SIT which is conditioned to mean SIT and remain seated until released or recalled. (2) Gestural Cue ~ my right hand extended frontal with my index finger pointing upward cues the dog to SIT and remain seated until released or recalled. (3) Whistle Signal ~ A single peep on my whistle conveys to the dog to immediately SIT facing toward me and to remain seated until released or recalled.

All three forms of communication convey the same command to the K9 and none of those commands given allow for the option of non-compliance without an immediate correction following fro said infraction.

SIT means SIT regardless of where the dog might be and a well trained and conditioned K9 fully understands that as can be seen in the image of my retriever gun dog TRAD as he responds to a single peep of my whistle and immediately SITS in the river he is wading in.

Both the SIT and STAY commands are highly important relative to the safety of the dog and they should be solidly conditioned into every cherished K9. The SIT command as I teach it also means STAY. I also chain the STAY command with a number of other commands so that the K9 remains in the desired position. An example would be chaining the commands TRAD - DOWN / STAY meaning to get prone and remain in that position until released or recalled.

Basic obedience is the foundation of all intermediate and advanced training work with K9's and cannot be overemphasized.

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