Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sitting pretty - unintended consequences

This 'sit' business, then.

Gail says 'sit'. She shows me a treat. I'm all excited. She says 'sit' again. She tries to push my bum against the cold tiles (the indignity). I execute an ungainly backwards somersault. Perfect control of the back legs is some way off.

After a few more goes, I realise what she's on about. She says 'sit'. I adopt the required posture. I'm given a tasty bit of cheese.


So if I'm sitting down, I get a treat, right?

Well all yesterday, I tried sitting down, unbidded, at random intervals. Sat there looking hopefully at Gail with my cute little face. But NO TREAT!

Someone please tell me what's gone wrong?

Oh, I know where to look for advice. Gail tells me I have two wise Aunties, Martha and Bailey, the Bonnie Basset Babes. Let's visit their blog.

Martha and Bailey are telling everyone to relax this weekend. I hadn't realised there were modes of existence (Gail, I hope you're impressed that I'm using big words, just like Hamish did) other than 'all action' and 'fast asleep' but apparently this 'relaxation' is what you're supposed to do on Saturdays and Sundays.

So I thought I'd give it a go.


  1. Hi. Thanks for your comment. Strangely knowing that other people understand is comforting. I'm not a great one for anthropomorphizing our canine companions but you're right saying goodbye does hurt. In the scheme of things the two fly-halves and the winger are an order of magnitude different but at the time of the robbery little Digby acted like a lion.Despite being kicked and hit with fire irons he carried on trying to defend 'the font'- real devotion. People think that dogs are just animals?

  2. Little Bertie, hang in there. Humans can be very confusing at times. We think your sitting is great for such a little fellow.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  3. Dear Bertie,
    We can see u are beginning to realise the follies and eccentricities of the Hoomans.
    do not worry. we all went through that stage called puppyhood. enjoy it to the fullest.
    with time u will realise that hoomans,inspite of their eccentricities,love us Dawgs a lot and need us to be their Best Friends

    wags, Buddy and Ginger

  4. Hey there Bertie!
    You are doing really well! Sitting gets you places (How ironic!)
    It's nice that you play lap-guard dog whilst Gail catches up on her mentals..:)
    You go, buddy

  5. Dearest little Bertie,
    You are a very smart youngster, you have already worked out a lot of things for one so young.
    We were impressed that you found your way through that doggie flap and very impressed you have worked out the 'sit' at such a tender age!

    Bertie humans are not like us dogs - you have to humour them.
    The secret is making Gail feel that she has succeeded so you sitting pretty all on your own is not going to secure a treat.
    You see humans need positive reinforcement.
    Gail will feel happy if she says 'sit' and you 'sit'.
    She will be thrilled if she says 'come' and you 'come'.
    Of course you should only obey if Gail has a suitable treat as a reward.

    Now we will do most things for cheese!
    Even your Auntie Bailey will get in the car for cheese - she is not fussed on this modern transport you know.
    Now little Bertie you are looking delightful in your relaxed pose - don't try to figure all of life out at once.
    Remember to play with your toys and have fun - be naughty - you are a puppy, that's your job!

    your adoring Aunties, Martha & Bailey xxxx

  6. What we have learned is that a good sit accompanied by a soulful stare often brings unexpected rewards. Perhaps not cheese or peanut butter every time -- but scritches, the toss of a toy -- something special.

    Just remember: You're a puppy. And by definition a puppy is irresistible!!!

    Wirey love,

    Jake and Just Harry

  7. Relaxing is a good idea indeed!
    Martha and Bailey are such clever girls.
    I hope you sort out that sit business! i don't get treats anymore either.

    Love, Bella.

  8. Well we are glad to see that you are teaching your PL a few things.Really the indignity of putting your tushy on a cold floor. Getting her to buy you your own rug was fabulous.Listen keep trying the sit thing about a thousand differant times and places a day. Eventually she will "melt" and think you are brilliant and the cutest and come up with the goods. You could try to up the ante by doing it only for cheese( our favorite) and nothing else.... sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't... We are glad to see you relaxing too and crossing your legs..humans have NO idea how taxing it is to eat treats while sitting...Love and kisses A+A PS be prepared for her go on to another "trick" HOLD out for something really good before you pretend to learn it even though we know you already know it.It is ALL about training them without them knowing it...

  9. Hi Bertie,

    We're so glad to see you are already pontificating at such a young age. Hamish would be most proud.

    Following in his footsteps, we are sure you will learn wonderful techniques of relaxation.

    Have a Super Sunday,
    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  10. bertie,
    your mama's lap is one of the best places to relax. it's good that you fit in hers, too. i kinda got too big, but i still try my hardest. heehee.
    the booker man

  11. Young Bewtie,
    You awe making such amazing stwides in youw teaching of Gail..I think Hamish must be whispewing into those bootiful little eaws of youws. You have the welaxation pose down to a tee. and I'm so vewy glad to see that you don't have to sit on a cold floow anymowe
    smoochie kisses

  12. I can't quite believe how much Bertie seesm to eb growing before our eyes! Steve

  13. Oh little will learn momma is the one with the treats. BOL
    Benny & Lily

  14. Woooos Bertie! Woo are learning the art of training woo Mom. It is a long a difficult process. They use words and actions we do not understand because we do not speak human. The fact that woo figured out the human word fur sit means putting woo little bottom on the ground is a great breakthrough. Too bad humans are so inconsistent and difficult to train. But don't worry, woo are young and cute. Woo will get the hang of things soon.
    ~Husky kisses~
    -Kira The BeaWootiful

  15. Gosh Bertie, I think yuo are doing real well already..You have learned 2 important things sit and most relax! Good Dog!!! Hugs and wags, Mistaya

  16. Bertie you are so precious. I love this picture. Congrats on the the 'sitting' command. We especially enjoyed your video discovering the doggie door.
    Madi and Mom

  17. Baby Bertie. You aren't a baby any more! We can already see changes in your face and your posture. You are growing up so fast! And learning so much. So quickly. It looks like you are getting Gail well trained. "Sit" means, "Relax, read and hold me on your lap." You both look so content and comfortable.

    We're popping in and out ... life is a bit busy right now ... know we're loving watching you grow up and discover your new world.

    Jake and Fergi xxoo

  18.'re learning to SIT???!!!

    It's easy, Bertie...when ya look up at the treat, the heavier end of ya goes South...

    You know, Newton, gravity and the like?

    And ya don't get a treat unless the hooman TELLS ya to do it...then out it comes...

    Mumsie used to do this fab thing called Catch the Dog Doing Something Good...

    She'd see us sit on our own...and she'd say...GOOD PUPPY...GOOD SIT!

    And we'd get a treat...she'd do the same when we were calm...


    Ah...those were the days...treats for nothing...

    You are ridiculously cute...

    When can you date?


  19. The humans are quite unpredictable. They tell you to do something and you do it but then don't seem as happy when you do it all on your own. Get used to it, pal.


  20. Brtie my boy your dear little face has changed in a week!More grown and mmmm ..I would woof that it's definately knowing!

    Wicked you've trained Gail to give you cheese as treats. It's my favourite too. And that sitting your doing when not expected ...wooohoo!! Smart. It'll get you extra treats sometimes for being so clever. Now get yourself a clicker. Really makes those leggeds catch on quicker. But I'm amazed you've managed the doga pose already,paws up pal!

    Wiry love Eric xx

  21. Dawling Bewtie, I saw that you had a new post, but can't seem to see it..hmmmm, I hope you'we having a gwand week. I would love to see you anytime, now ow when you've gwowed up mowe too
    smoochie kisses
    pee ess how is the poo lesson going?

  22. Bertie,
    Training is hard, so you doing well. Humans give us treats just for sitting. Your training your Mommy well.
    Sally Ann

  23. Hi Bertie - nice to meet you and welcome to Blogland!! I was a great fan of your predecessor, Hamish (now that's a big word for me! Hee! Hee!) - and I hope we can be good cyber friends too.

    Great to see that your human is getting you into this training thing early - looks like you're a fast learner! When I was a pup, I had to always have my bum on the ground for ANY attention - eye contact, patting, food, treats, toy, front door opening, humans says "Sit" is the doggie equivalent of saying please and if I learn to sit for anything I want, it helps to stop me learning to jump up - something that's really dangerous when you're as big as I am! :-)

    Honey the Great Dane