You Had Me At Sit

by Houndstooth on

Since we brought Flattery home, my husband has been working diligently to teach her one thing.  He has been working at getting her to sit on command.  I know that some people think Greyhounds can’t sit, but they can.  Other people think they can’t be taught to sit, or do anything else on command, but this is false.  Greyhounds are just as capable of doing those things as other dogs.  Flattery has a beautiful sit, she just doesn’t do so on command.  Her pretty sit is one of the reasons Mr. Taleteller has been trying to hard to teach her to do it on command.  I haven’t caught any pictures of her in the act, either, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I Sit And You Pass Out Treats -- Tales and Tails

I Sit and You Pass Out Treats

We’ve taught all of our Greyhounds, except Lilac, to sit and do other things on command.  We were concerned that at Lilac’s age, she might not be able to do it comfortably, but ironically, she sat often on her own.  Our delusion that she would have a short lifespan with us was another excuse not to work on it with her.  Every night the Greyhounds used to line up for their treats and my husband would say “Treat, take a bow,” “Hawk, down,” “Blueberry, sit,” and “Lilac, look cute,”  As a matter of fact, all of our other Greyhounds have been through at least basic obedience, and Blueberry had more than that under her collar.   Bunny actually graduated at the top of her class.

Sitting By the Rock -- Tales and Tails

Sitting By the Rock

Going to obedience class isn’t something we rush into with our Greyhounds, though.  We give them a few months to adapt to home life before we start with class.  We do try to get some informal training in on them before formal class happens, though.  However, with Flattery, it’s proving very different.  She is very smart, and very driven, but her drives aren’t like those of other Greyhounds we’ve had.  This means we’re still working on her currency and finding what she will work for, versus something that might be a little too exciting, like a tennis ball.  We’ll figure it out eventually.

All About the Ball -- Tales and Tails

All About the Ball

The other day, my husband was sitting in the chair, catching up on the world at his computer.  He was also eating a bowl of soup.  The soup must have been pretty good, because I noticed that soon the Greyhounds were circling his chair like tiny, elegant sharks doing a ballet to the Jaws theme music.  It’s funny, they never hound me for food, but that’s another blog post.  I noticed that they had taken note of his dinner, but I was a little busy at my desk.

Suddenly, Mr. Taleteller exclaimed with excitement.  Flattery was sitting there beside his chair, dainty as a little statue, hoping to get a bite of that soup.  There sat my husband with nothing to reward her with.  He sang her praises and did an actual happy dance there in the living room while Flattery stared at him in a way that said she still didn’t understand what to expect from humans.  It was an entertaining spectacle that ended with her getting a treat that he fetched from the kitchen.

Dad Shame -- Tales and Tails

Mr. Taleteller Shame

Friends of the internet, I’m pretty sure I just witnessed the birth of something that I saw many, many times with Blueberry.  When Blueberry wanted something we were eating, she walked up and did her prettiest sit.  If she sat, she completely believed that she was entitled to a bite of whatever you were eating.  I have a feeling that her new protegé just learned a valuable and powerful lesson.  Flattery may not sit on command, but I think she will sit when she wants something.  It’s funny how fast they can train us humans when they set their minds to it.

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  • rottrover

    Why do people think greyhounds can’t sit or be trained? I’ve always wondered.

  • When I’m holding a really tasty treat and plead with Beryl to sit she will always bow twice, hoping that will do instead of a sit! She has quite an ugly sit and I’ve never yet seen her sit just because she can. If she wants to scratch an ear she’ll do it lying down 🙂 All 6 of my foster boys are natural, neat sitters. Sometimes I wonder who is the cleverest between me and Beryl …. she’s got me very well trained. Does that mean I’m a quick learner, she’s a good trainer and I suck at training?

    Perhaps soup is Flattery’s currency?

  • Indeed! They can train US with absolutely NO problem!! BOL!!

  • Sue Dyer

    Song rarely sat and when she did she looked very uncomfortable. As Polly is smaller she sits happily and does so on command. She also knows down. Seh use to bow on command, but seems to have forgotten that for now:)

    Is the collar on flattery a MeggieMoo one? I’ve been checking out her site and there is one just like it.

  • ShineJake

    The bathroom must be littered with pie crumbs!

    Flattery is such a cute little thing!

  • Sara Blair

    Good girl Flattery! Maybe they can teach you to sit on cue with licks of soup off a spoon?

  • genjiscorner

    Since I haven’t trained my guys, I’m always surprised when they sit on their own. Usually means I have something yummy they want to eat.

  • Amy Boyer

    Hilarious! Lovely photo with the tennis ball, love how the orange ball complements the orange collar against her jet black fur. Haha she’s just about got Mr. Taleteller trained!

  • Jen

    Elka does this! She’ll sit, and look at you expectantly. Then she’ll lay down. Then she’ll sit again. Then she’ll testify. Then she’ll kind of moan at you like, “Didn’t you see?”

    I think Flattery sounds pretty food motivated….obedience will probably be all right for her when you get there 😉

  • Two French Bulldogs

    Mom laughs cause uncle makes his greys sit before eating. The one looks at him, lays down and pretends she sleeping rather than sitting
    Benny & Lily

  • I love it! I taught Chloe to sit at 7 years old. It was not easy and I had never even seen her sit on her own before. But like you, that’s one thing I require of all my dogs (greyhounds or not) is manners with sit being the foundation 🙂
    Sounds like Flattery may a good hound to do some dog sports (agility, obedience etc) with as she has a lot of drive 🙂

  • Roxy

    It really does seem like the people are the ones getting trained, in our house too.

  • Emma

    We have to train Mom on lots of things like sit too. Lovely photo of Flattery with the tennis ball!

  • jan

    Tiny elegant sharks circling… what a great figure of speech. Yes, dogs are very good at training humans. They read our body language without error.

  • Ryker From Alaska

    I am learning so much about Greyhounds from your posts! They really have their own set of quirks. That photo of Flattery with the orange ball is wonderful!!!

  • Christine Sterling

    Monty does the same thing – he thinks sitting means he gets whatever you have.

    Monty and Harlow

  • I made the mistake of teaching Zappa to sit and lay down just using my eyes. He was rewarded with treats. Once he really caught on, he was sitting up and down and up and down and up and down in front of my chair, all the while keeping his eyes on me and an expression that said, LOOK, I did it! Did you see that mom? Come on mom, look how cute I am. Gimme a treat!

    It was so adorable and so aggravating at the monster I’d created at the same time. 🙂
    I found a way to tone him down a bit, but nobody can say he isn’t persistent.

    BTW…love that collar on Flattery! So beautiful with her fur.

    And yeah, why can’t greyhounds sit? Bone structure? And just what is a “pretty sit” and an “ugly sit?”

  • Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets

    I suspected that Flattery was a smart one! I love when one of my current dogs does something that reminds me of one that is gone. I’ll always say “are you channeling so-and-so?”. I think it just brings a bit of the one we miss back, and that’s a nice thing.

  • Beckett Grey Hound

    BOL, we greyhounds are very smart that way. Maddy sits about 10 times walking up the driveway because mum started getting her to sit at the end of the driveway and giving her a treat…and she gets one EVERY time…luckily they are only 3 calories!

  • Lori – What Remains Now

    Amen to that! I am very well trained.

  • BZ Dogs

    She is so cute with her orange ball. I bet you can’t wait for “Orange” to show up again. 🙂

  • Sierra M. Koester

    The trick is finding something she will work for. I don’t know what kind of training you use with your dogs, but if you aren’t using clicker training, it might be a good thing to try with Flattery. 🙂 Just a thought. I hope you are all well!

  • That’s a great story. And the closing photo is hysterical!

    It’s funny – in our dog class, some greyhound and whippet owners claim that their dogs can’t sit. Our trainer just accommodates them, and lets their dogs do downs when everyone else is sitting…

  • SlimDoggy

    I agree – our dogs absolutely train us. I love reading your stories about Flattery making her way in the world – it’s a good thing.

  • Words With Wieners

    Ha! We know all about being trained. Dachshunds are pretty notorious for knowing how to train their humans and nothing about the other way around.
    But seriously, all of your dogs are so well-trained… I know you’ll manage it with Flattery too – it will just be more of a curve with her. I think every single moment in the Taleteller household is still a thrill to her, an adventure, even if only in her own mind. Only when things become routine and slightly less exciting will she be more receptive to training.
    Still love that picture of her with the orange ball and that collar. The colors just pop and she looks gorgeous.

  • I like sitting and I learnt to do it on command within half a day. I spent the afternoon learning to shake paws! I will sit in the house, in the garden, but nothing Mum can do will convince me to sit at a kerb while we wait to cross a road. I tell her she can’t have everything……

  • KF_in_Georgia

    Have you tried teaching Flattery to sit on a hill? Jen Bachelor has a post on this. http://neversaynevergreyhounds.blogspot.com/2009/08/greyhound-sits-101.html

    It nearly worked on my girl with the gimpy leg, but arthritis kept her from moving her head back enough. I’m not sure I want to keep trying with Silver. Her Achilles tendon on her back right leg is out of position, and she doesn’t put much weight on that leg in the best of circumstances. She’s working on becoming a therapy dog, but she’ll be registered with Therapy Dogs Inc., and they don’t require sits or stays–pretty or otherwise. Just a nice, reasonable “down.” (And their rule is that your dog’s leash never leaves your hand, so there’s no reason to insist on a stay.)

  • KolchakPuggle

    LOL, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does that!

    “Kolchak, Sit! Spin!”
    “Luda, shake! Down!”
    “Felix, be fluffy!”

    Is it weird that I had no idea about the whole greyhound sitting thing? I learned something today.

  • Jodi

    I’m laughing, both at this and at Jodi’s comment. Delilah “Here!” she gets a treat. Sampson just runs up to me and looks at me, “What? You think you get a treat for looking at me? You’re right, you do. ” 🙂