No sit, Sherlock?

brown dog sitting on stand


What an adorable face looking up at me… There’s really nothing like that puppy dog look, you know the one. It says, “I know you want to share whatever it is you have with me, just a little bite”. But have you ever looked at the way that puppy (no matter the age) is sitting, I mean really taken a good look? Is it a nice tight tucked “Sit!” or are they off to one side, hip or knee all wonky?

The way a dog sits can tell you so much, whether it be pain or just the way they have “learned” that skill. So, why is it that sit is always the first thing we feel like teaching our dogs? It’s a behavior that, in reality, is not as important as a proper stand or understanding the dog’s body language and responses in different situations.

Sit has become less and less important to me because most dogs don’t actually do it correctly. Many dogs don’t engage the correct muscles, leading to poor body mechanics. Over time, as more humans ask for this behavior, dogs practice it poorly, and we find ourselves wondering: why doesn’t that part matter? Why is it so crucial that the dog just get their butt on the ground?

Why is it the first thing we teach our dogs, and yet we don’t teach them how to stand? In my experience, no dog that has gone to puppy class or obedience class knows how to stand or how to properly sit. As a result, they develop poor posture, similar to humans. Then, we have to unteach and re-teach a skill that, in reality, shouldn’t be the first thing we think puppies should learn.

No Sit, Sherlock? No problem. It’s time to shift our focus to teaching dogs how to perform basic behaviors with the correct form, using the right muscles and body mechanics.

So, my question to you is, why not prioritize teaching dogs how to stand correctly from the beginning? By doing so, we can help them develop good posture, engage the right muscles, and establish proper body mechanics. Let’s move beyond the conventional “Sit!” and empower our furry friends with a foundation that benefits their overall well-being. In the end, it’s not just about sitting pretty; it’s about standing strong and healthy.


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