Is it possible for a Greyhound to sit?
Since adopting my greyhound - Tipps, I often hear the question: is it possible for a greyhound to sit? It was not something I had thought about before. Now, after living with Tipps for many years, and watching his ungraceful attempts at sitting, my answer is Yes - it is possible but it looks somewhat uncomfortable for him.
Due to the Greyhound's impressive aerodynamic shape, the sit position is not physically easy to adopt. Most prefer the sphinx position or just to simply lie down.
Their long spines and tight muscular hind quarters prevent a full sit. If a greyhound does sit, it is quite noticeable that their butts do not actually touch the floor. It will hover a few inches above as the rear end is not capable of completely touching the ground.
Can you train a Greyhound to sit?
Anyone who tries to teach a greyhound to sit will know it can be a challenge, but contrary to popular belief greyhounds can sit. They can learn the command with patience and encouragement like other dogs.
Some greyhounds are more capable of this position than others. Retired racing greyhounds tend to find it easier a few months into retirement, as their hind leg muscles start to loosen up.
The trick is the way in which you teach the technique. In almost all cases, when teaching a dog the sit command, a treat is raised above their head until they lean back and eventually adopt the sit position.
Once the bum touches the floor, the treat is given. The trainer will repeat this until the dog understands that their bum on the floor = a tasty treat. Trainers will then add the word sit and the dog associates the vocal command with the movement.
However, as mentioned earlier, due to the physiology of a greyhound, when raising a treat above their head they tend to just stretch their long graceful necks. The sit position is not naturally adopted by their bodies as it is with other dogs.
So how do we train a greyhound to sit? The most successful technique I have come across is to teach from the sphinx down position up to the sit position.
The video below is a great demonstration of this technique at work.
Watch this space...
Over the next few weeks, I will be working with Tipps to see if this sit command technique really works. My greyhound is a bright boy and food orientated so I have not doubt he will get it.
However, I am throwing in a caveat here. Tipps is coming into his 10th year and as much as he still loves to chase his ball and enjoys a training session, he is showing signs of getting older. If he looks uncomfortable or is struggling to adopt this unnatural position, I will cease the training.
In all instances of training an owner should listen to their dog and be sensitive to their needs and/or any discomfort.