In training: What does “sit” mean to you?

3-19-14 SittingI know you’re not supposed to give a command more than one meaning, and we try our darndest not to, but sometimes it’s hard.

When I say sit, I mean:

Sit your butt, on the ground, right where you are.
Also, put down your toy.
Also, stay facing me.
No, don’t hover two inches above the ground.
Wait, don’t sit for half a second and leave!
Don’t sit, change your mind, get up and walk over to me, then sit 5 feet away!
No, don’t stand on my foot, then sit.
No, wait, come BACK!


What Huffle hears:
I have a treat that you want. And if I take too long to give it to you, nose my hand really hard. Or dance. We like it when you dance. (Actually, we do, it’s really cute. But that’s not the point!)
Put your toy on my foot, then sit.
Hold your toy against my leg until I take the hint and the toy, then sit.
Feel free to headbutt my knee first.

Does your dog actually know what sit means? Are we the only hapless souls struggling with this most basic command?


Coordination: we got it

We’re working on having HufflePup wait with me at the door when we head out for a walk. His normal modus operandi is to start prancing like a stallion as soon as we walk out the front door, leaving me with one arm to shut and lock the door while he darts and plunges excitedly.

This excitement may be cute to watch, but not so much when he catches me off guard and I trip over him. So now we’re practicing a new thing: he’s asked to sit next to me while I shut and lock the door. If he does this, he gets a Buddy Biscuit. If he doesn’t, well I ask him to sit again. He doesn’t get to go running down the hall until after I turn to him and say “Ready? Go!”

Now he’s got it in his head he needs to hold my foot down in case I leave without him.

Hufflepup won’t be hustled


HufflePup’s not usually one to give up a delicious treat, but apparently I’ve used this trick one too many times and he’s associated the savory bone & towel combination firmly with pedicures.

Honestly, this time I wasn’t up to no good, I’d just cleaned up his treats boxes and bags, and decided to let him finish this up instead of hoarding it for the next nail trim. It sat out for hours,  and he wasn’t having ANY of it.

The timing on Bren’s post on desensitizing was perfect.  We’re going to leave that rejected knuckle out until he works on it and I’ll let him have it in peace.   🙂

Clearly, you can set yourself up for taking a few steps backward if you don’t plan carefully. I ought to have let him have the big, delicious savory treats in between nail trims!

Easter Eggs aren’t just for kids, or devs, anymore

We’re working on the slow process of training HufflePup to be a civilized dog that understands more than simple hand signals or body language, and I think we all know what that means …

TREATS. Good ones.

We’ve been lucky enough to win a few treats in giveaways and prize packs, and his Aunt Katie sent an abundance of his overwhelming favorites: Cloud Star goodies.



We all love the wee little gingerbread man looking treats, but I’m not a fan of the piles of crumbs that the Original biscuits leave in my pockets, or the slightly greasy crumbs from the Soft and Chewys. I don’t have any fancy treat carrying device. Until now!  

Enter, the Easter Egg!



We had these left over from a while back and instead of throwing them out, I tucked some treats in there. Huffle’s now figured out the sound of an opening Easter Egg.  He might not be learning the things we want him to learn but at least he’s paying attention!

Training Days: Peering around a corner

Training Day

It turns out, Huffle is really only in it for the treats.

Today we’re working on “Come” and as much training advice says, you should work on short distances at first, in the house, without distractions. And of course, patience. Lots of it. We’re trying to teach a real old dog new things and it takes time (and good treats).

Our favorite treats today are Cloud Star’s Original Buddy Biscuits, the Roasted Chicken flavor. When we first bought these, Huffle shunned them. I think it was because they were crunchy. He had fallen hard for their soft and chewy mini Buddy Biscuits and he seemed almost offended we’d deprive him like this. So the Originals were shelved.

He’s come around on the subject in the past few weeks so I’ve got a pocketful of the original biscuits ready to call him.

The first time, he couldn’t even be bothered to make a noise when I called his name. I had to hunt him down, make eye contact and imply there were treats.

Over the next hour, I’d call to him randomly, coaxing him to come all the way to me and sitting for a treat.

Eventually, he started lurking around the door, waiting to see if I’d give him another treat. Kinda like training him to sit on command, this is going to be interesting!

*It occurs to me I shouldn’t combine all the commands into one series. I should focus on “come” and rewarding him when he arrives.