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The Puppy SIt

by Vicki Chaney


          Whenever teaching a puppy any type of a command we need to keep in mind that we are dealing with a puppy and that the attention span is short. It is not unlike dealing with a small child. We need to keep the lessons short and fun.

          This is not to say that the puppy is not intelligent, on the contrary, they are very bright. So, with that in mind remember to only tell the puppy once to do any type of behavior. Now is the time to establish this habit. If you repeat your commands to the puppy, you will be teaching the puppy not to listen or to take your commands seriously. This can lead to a lot of problems as the puppy grows and becomes an adult.

          Beginning with the puppy in front of you, use the puppy's name and command to sit. "Fido, sit." REMEMBER ONLY SAY THIS ONCE. Gently place the puppy in the sit position as shown in class. DO NOT PUSH ON THE PUPPY'S REAR END AT ANY TIME AS YOU CAN CAUSE HARM TO THE PUPPY'S BACK LEGS AND HIPS. Immediately when the puppy sits give praise. "GOOD DOG, FIDO, GOOD DOG". The praise is important to reinforce the behavior you want.

          If you are having difficulty getting the puppy to sit, stop what you are doing (making sure not to acknowledge the puppy's behavior in any way, including a show of frustration). Remember that any body gestures you show are the puppy's first language, body language, and therefore an acknowledgement of the behavior. Take a few moments to relax and then try again using a slightly different approach.

          At this point in time, it should not be expected that the puppy remain in the sit position, nor is it recommended that you make the puppy stay in the sit position. Remember the puppy is just a baby and has a very short attention span. You are merely trying to teach the puppy the meaning of the word so that later on when the puppy is more mature with a longer attention span you can then ask, and expect, the puppy to remain in the sit position.

          Every once in a while you can give a treat to the puppy for sitting. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT GIVE TREATS EVERY TIME. Using treats about 1/4 of the time is just about right. If you give treats each time you ask the puppy to sit, the treats will become boring and the puppy will lose the desire to do things simply to please you. REMEMBER YOUR PRAISE AND ATTENTION IS THE BEST REWARD YOUR PUPPY CAN GET.

          Simple list of do's and don'ts:

  1. BE PATIENT

  2. BE GENTLE

  3. ONLY GIVE THE COMMAND ONCE

  4. PRAISE IMMEDIATELY

  5. USE TREATS SPARINGLY

  6. DON'T EXPECT THE PUPPY TO STAY

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).