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Sitting on Retrieve

We have a 3 year old female GSP, Daisy. My husband has trouble with her sitting down when she retrieves a bird or dummy to him. When he tells her whoa to get her to stand still she just sits down. We cannot figure this out since she was never taught to sit. (We had been told that you should never teach a bird dog to sit) She is a timid dog and shys when you raise your voice too much with her. Otherwise she is a very good hunting dog. She is always willing to do anything to get the bird when down and she has never had a problem with retrieving. Her sitting down is very frustrating to my husband. She is our second GSP. The first, Rusty was a male and he was not the least bit timid. He was my husbands first dog that he trained himself and he was so proud of him. I wonder if he is just expecting too much from Daisy and expecting her to react like Rusty would have? If you have any suggestions we would appreciate them very much. Thanks so much for your time.

It just sounds like the dog is a non-dominant type and sitting by your side is just a sign of being non-dominant. We teach all of our dogs to sit because it is a part of obediance for the dog and our versatile dogs must be obediant. The only time that this can present a problem is if the dog sits while on point or honoring, this is not acceptable for poining dogs. Sitting is not a problem when the dog is at your side delivering game to hand, only if the dog lays over in front of you. If she is sitting when you give her a 'whoa' command in the field (not retrieving something), then you may have a problem which may lead to her sitting on point next. We correct this by just doing a lot of yard work being close to the dog and giving the 'whoa' command. When the dog sits down, we pick the back end up and repeat it, being persistant but not overly harsh, until the dog understands what we ask for. Then we take the dog into the field and repeat the same procedure but farther and farther away from the dog making sure to correct the dog right away if they sit on the 'whoa' command. If she is only sitting down when she comes within a couple of feet away from you, I would not worry about this unless it interferes with getting game to hand.

Steve Harmeyer
Krystal Creek Kennels

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