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Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby gunguy » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:10 am

What are some opinions on teaching pointing dogs to sit? I have always been told not to teach a pointing dog to sit, but every dog I have ever met sits. I have also see many videos of professional trainers teaching their Vizslas or GSPs to sit. Its sort of been my opinion that the dog has enough mental capacity to know the difference between whoa and sit. I have heard the argument that if you teach a pointing dog to sit they will sit instead of point in a high stress situation. Is there any truth to this? Has anyone taught their pointing dogs to sit? If so when do you do this?
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby rkappes » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:46 am

The past 20+ years we've taught our Britts to sit and they have never sat down when pointing a bird.

Myself and my pops are far from professional trainers but figured I'd share.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby gonehuntin' » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:40 pm

I've never had a problem with it but to prevent problems, I teach the dog all other commands first, then sit last.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby RoostersMom » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:22 pm

I have had that problem. Taught my first Pointer to sit. When she would get into "stressful" bird situations, she'd revert to sitting on point. She was super high prey drive and a really good birddog, but obviously I did something wrong. I have not had that problem since then because I have not taught any others to "sit" until totally whoa broke. The "whoa" is now the first command I teach (with "here"). Not had any issues with this method.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby mrelite » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:36 pm

I think the issue would be that when you say sit it often gets followed up with a whoa and that would be the conflict, the only way to work it would be to teach sit followed with stay and not ever use whoa after saying sit. LOL if that makes any sense.
I have yet to teach sit and my boy is 1 year old, my plan is to wait until this first season is finished before sit is taught.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby polmaise » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:53 pm

Does anyone teach 'Stand' ? :lol:
I don't mean 'whoa' ..Just stand .
If the dog is lying down can you teach it to stand on command or does it just get up .
So, if your dog understands sit ,then I'm sure it understands don't sit ? :roll:
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby gunguy » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:35 pm

So I have a Lab that knows the difference between sit and whoa. When I say whoa he knows he needs to stop on all fours. I have also taught him sit with the word and a hand signal. My problem is I have a 10 week old Vizsla that I am working on whoa with. He has naturally sat from the day I picked him up, not by command just because he wanted to. My wife and family haven't helped the situation by reinforcing sit with treats when this happens. I have told him to whoa a few times and he sat, but he will also point a wing on a string with the whoa command, and I make him whoa before I feed him. More often than not I say whoa and he sits so I have to pick his hind end up and tell him whoa. He doesn't get to eat until I get a solid whoa.I know he is observing the behavior of my lab and taking notes when he sees him get rewarded for sitting. Do I need to make sure I don't tell the lab to sit around the pup? How do I avoid the "stress sit" on a whoa command. Is it too late?
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby Steve007 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:15 pm

polmaise wrote:Does anyone teach 'Stand' ? :lol:
I don't mean 'whoa' ..Just stand .
If the dog is lying down can you teach it to stand on command or does it just get up .
So, if your dog understands sit ,then I'm sure it understands don't sit ? :roll:


Of course. Teaching the three commands separately (stand, sit and down) and to execute each independently is required in obedience competition. In advanced work, they do so with only hand signals. If people can teach their French Bulldogs and Papillons (or my GWP) the difference, your dog can likely figure it out ,too.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby Trekmoor » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:14 am

I never teach "Whoa" to a pointing dog but I do teach sit to every one of them. No dog I have ever owned has sat while on point, it just does not happen and yet my dogs are trained to sit to whistle, to voice, to hand signal, to flush and to shot....but they still did not sit while on point. ( please remember that on this side of the pond, the dog does the flushing not the handler.)

I used to take training classes for pointing dogs of all breeds. Only twice did I see any of those dogs sit while on point. The cause of this was the same for both dogs. The dogs had been "punished" for moving while on point or for not standing in the "approved pointing manner."

A dogs owner may not consider being faffed about with (styling the dog) while on point to be a punishment but what he/she thinks really does not matter .....it's what the dog perceives to be a punishment that matters . Or perhaps a dog that is being faffed about with perceives this as a reward and thinks sitting may please it's owner ???

I don't use checkcords and I don't train whoa but my dogs do point well . They do it naturally with the bird itself being the reward . Correcting/punishing or praising by voice or by touch while a dog is on point can all have side effects that we really do not want. The birds scent going up the dog's nose is reward enough.

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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby cjhills » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:19 am

Trekmoor pretty much nailed it. We need to understand that what we consider pressure may not be the same has what the dog considers pressure.
I have a problem understanding why we would think training a dog to sit on command would make him sit when we did not give the command.
I have seen trainers pick the dog up by the collar and tail to set him back. The trainer tells us the dog sits because his owner taught him to sit and he is not putting on pressure..................... Cj
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby ezzy333 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:20 am

gunguy wrote:So I have a Lab that knows the difference between sit and whoa. When I say whoa he knows he needs to stop on all fours. I have also taught him sit with the word and a hand signal. My problem is I have a 10 week old Vizsla that I am working on whoa with. He has naturally sat from the day I picked him up, not by command just because he wanted to. My wife and family haven't helped the situation by reinforcing sit with treats when this happens. I have told him to whoa a few times and he sat, but he will also point a wing on a string with the whoa command, and I make him whoa before I feed him. More often than not I say whoa and he sits so I have to pick his hind end up and tell him whoa. He doesn't get to eat until I get a solid whoa.I know he is observing the behavior of my lab and taking notes when he sees him get rewarded for sitting. Do I need to make sure I don't tell the lab to sit around the pup? How do I avoid the "stress sit" on a whoa command. Is it too late?

You are trying to teach whoa about 6 to 12 months too soon. Puppies have a thousand other things to learn before whoa. T
here is no point in beating you or your pup up at that age and I think you will find that is what will happen. Hard to teach a teenager whoa let alone a toddler and a ten week old puppy is just a toddler in my opinion.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby polmaise » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:05 pm

pretty much every one has it nailed.
Sit is sit , and whoa is whoa'.
How the guys think that this is different is beyond the dog . (But you can like your own) ..{Now that was good Sharon! :mrgreen:
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby setterpoint » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:12 pm

when you teach your dog to sit and the dog sits you praise the dog with a pat and good dog then when the dog dont comply with a command in training it gets some form of diss. most times its from a ecollar the dog dont like being stim. with the collar so it dose something it knows it will get that good dog that it liked . so i would wait and teach the sit after all the other training is done most times i dont think its a big deal and most dogs would have no problem but iv seen dogs sit when you come down on them and mayby thats there way of getting out of trouble
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby DonF » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:10 am

I teach all my dog's to sit and to whoa at the same time. Whoa does not sound like sit! When you have a dog sit on a point, it's confused, not really sure what to do so it sit's, safe position! Your dog sit's on a point and it's your fault. Probably touching the dog to much, maybe talking to much or fooling around trying to get the pup to break point when flushing so you can stop it and return it to where it was and start over! Confused pup.

Pat attention to what your teaching!
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby gunguy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:05 pm

Thank you all for the input and different perspectives on this.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby JONOV » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:26 am

I was at a NAVHDA test, UT test, and a breeder/handler said "I never teach sit, don't want them sitting on point, and I was taught by old school setter and pointer guys, but the dog will sit on his own accord whether or not I teach it as a command, and I've had to pick dogs up from lying/sitting before on point or when backing although not often, so i don't know if it made a difference." This was in a broader context of the dog being steady by blind, he commented that he'd give the dog the "wait" command and it would be sitting when he came back.

Practically speaking, I live in a neighborhood. I have a wife, who might love the dog more than she loves me. She takes him to work. She's passed the therapy dog tests with him. That dog better know sit and down and a host of other things.

I run him off leash in forest preserves/parks, where I technically am not supposed to. "Whoa" when he comes to a corner, bridge, passing group of people, whatever, is extremely important. "Down" impresses everyone. "Down" is also nice for duck hunting. I have ran into problems with "Whoa" turning into "Down" but its easily correctible, just run up and stand him back up. Like most training, there's an initial hump to get over then ongoing maintenance. No big deal.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby Featherfinder » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:57 am

Many years ago, I would have said, "Never teach a pointing dog to sit!" In fact, dogs can whoa, sit, stay, down, come, etc. if YOU are prepared to do the training. Dogs are capable of this and more if you are prepared to invest in those attributes.
Here is an interesting dynamic to consider. How many of us aspire to have our pointing dogs rip, bump then subsequently chase birds? On-the-other-hand, how many of us invest in keeping our dogs steady be it to the flush, shot or until released? In my experience, I fall under the second example. So.....if your dog finds a bird and REALLY wants that bird, is sitting down not like backing up for a head start? Dogs typically sit because they are trying to deal with that ambiguous conflict that says, "I REALLY want to get this bird BUT....I might get in trouble. As stress or ambiguity builds, a dog might sit - a default of sorts that says, "Look....I'm a good dog, right?"
Many will criticize by saying, "You're putting too much pressure on that dog around birds!" They might be right however most of us know by now that not all dogs are created equal.
In summary, if you want your dog to sit, or your wife/children need your dog to sit....teach your dog to sit. I doubt he will sit on point simply because it introduces a barrier between what they really want - that bird! The sit default can be resolved. Don't look too hard at the dog in this case. The fix is in you. Sometimes the fix is to do nothing and let the dog work it out, IF you can normalize rather than elevate the stress levels.
Last edited by Featherfinder on Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby setterpoint » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:52 pm

of course a dog can learn all of this there smart you can even teach them differant things at the same time but you can confuss a dog with to much or trying to go to fast if you want to teach the dog to sit i see nothing wrong with that its your dog
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby gonehuntin' » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:20 am

Not to further muddy the water, but think of a Versatile and not a pointer or setter. A versatile dog learns Here, Whoa, Sit, Down, Heel, Tracking, Hand Signals (right-left-back) and running short blinds (dead bird, back), steady to w-s-f and working from a duck blind and all by the time they're two or so. And, they don't sit when pointing or honoring.

So, is a V dog that much smarter than an EP or Setter?

I don't think so.
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Re: Pointing Dogs and Sitting

Postby Featherfinder » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:26 am

Your 100% correct Gonehuntin'. No, it isn't necessarily smarter. :lol:
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