The Rip Van Wrinkler, XXIV, Issue 4, November 2020

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Training Conversation

Lots of sits in Rally. S K-M photo


2. New AKC Virtual Home Manners Program.

3. Westminster moved to Lyndhurst in June.

How many of you have seen your basenjis sit just like this? (Model is Wi-Fi Ronchi.)

When, where, and how do dogs sit?
by Turid Rugaas -

Sit is usually the first people teach their puppies, without thinking about the consequences or why they do it.

We wanted to know more about the sit, so many years ago we started the sit study among my dog trainer students, and it has been an ongoing study for 20 years now, with amazing results. Several thousand dogs have been observed, and we learnt many things we did not know before.

First, we learnt that if dogs have the choice, they do not sit very often. They stand, lie down, and sit in some particular situations.

Photo by Brenda Phillips

It is partly related to breed, age, structure, and physical health, so can vary from dog to dog, but in general all dogs sit much less by choice than we ask them to. It is not the preferable thing for them to do, and we need to listen to them. Nature knows best.

Looking at the reasons for that, we could clearly see what it was about.

It takes a lot of muscles and power to sit down and get up. It takes a long time for babies to get muscles and strength enough to do it. Also for puppies. They simply have not muscles enough to do all the sitting we ask of them, and they will get pain, and jeopardize the joints by doing it too often and too long. Therefore, they sit crookedly, stretching legs forward, and lie down quickly. It gets too painfull. - During training sessions they are sometimes asked to sit 10-20 and up to 60 times. Imagine how those muscles might ache and bother the puppy. Try to do it yourself!
The same will happen when they get old and lose muscles again. Never ask an old dog to sit! It might very well cause him great pain. - Some dogs have a structure that is not good for sitting - like hounds, with their long thighs.

When puppies are born, they are not complete, and X-rays show that joints are not connected to the sockets yet, they actually float around. They will slowly grow to connect, but it takes many months. Making them sit means they might pop out of position because there are not muscles enough either to keep them in place. That can cause damages for life.

My students observed dogs sitting when they wanted to, and the results were overwhelming:
Hounds in most cases never sat. They lied down directly. Dogs with health problems the same. Old dogs too. Healthy strong adult dogs sat, but far from as much as we ask them to. One dog sat once in a 3 month period.

Studies like that tell us much about what is natural and right for dogs, and we should respect that.

Reasons for sitting:
First and foremost, they sat down when they needed to look at something at a distance. Then they have to raise their heads and curve the neck to be able to do it, because of the position of the eyes. The neck gets painful after just seconds, so they sit down to straighten out the curve of the neck. - This was the overwhelmingly highest number of why they would sit down.
Secondly, they sat as a mid-station between lying and standing.
Then far down on the list came sitting as a calming signal, trying to calm someone down.
We also had learnt behaviour, so if you ask your dog to sit when getting food, going out the door and so on very often, they will do it by habit. But that does not mean it is good for them.

Should you ask your dog to sit?
I advise you to observe your dog first.
Does he sit down easily, or does it look a bit hard, doing it slow, not willingly? Then you should not.
Do you know that your dog has a physical problem, is old or very young and therefore does not have developed muscles yet? Then you should not.
Do you have a hound or dog with hound shape you should not.
Do you have a very heavy breed he will need so much more power to sit and get up that you should not ask him either. And absolutely never a puppy from a heavy dog breed.

Observe your dog sitting:
Does he sit down straight when he sits by himself, or does he sit with one or two hind legs stretched forward, sit on one «ham», or in other awkward way? Then I would not ask my dog to sit ever. He should choose to do it by himself.

Studies by some Veterinary high schools showed that:
Sitting for more than a couple of minutes disturbed the blood circulation so much that the occular pressure could make a dog get sight problems or even get blind if they had to do it often.

You can ask your dog to sit if he is not a very young dog, an old dog, has physical problems or has a hound structure, or being big and heavy.
Even adult, healthy, muscular dogs should not sit often and for long, so keep it to a minimum.
Let dogs choose if they want to sit, lie down, or stand. That is their right to do so.
After having made all kinds of dogs sit in training and competitions for 30 years, I started to notice the above mentioned things, and started to question the need for that exercise, so therefore

I stopped asking dogs to sit 22 years ago, and just told myself that if I ever needed to teach a dog to sit, I could do it without any problems. I have never felt I needed it. Dogs do all I want them to, without any sit commands.

If you yourself want to sit, sit!
If you want your dog to sit, think twice!

Basenjis very often do this. (Fern is the model)

We have always run a little different training on our trips, ever since Mila was unleashed in the woods as a little puppy. This jumping up on stumps has ended up that she automatically jumps up to the nearest stump. So the reason I'm still doing this is that I think she's SO cute when she "sits Teddy bear " on the world's stumps. Anka Grønli

AKC new virtual home manners program

If you have trained your puppy or adult dog at home and would like to earn the AKC’s Virtual Home Manners titles to demonstrate your accomplishments, this is the place for you!

What is Virtual Home Manners?

Virtual Home Manners (VHM) is the answer when you want to train your dog at home. When you get a puppy or new adult dog, Virtual Home Manners can get you started on practical skills before you attend a training class.

The evaluation of a dog’s ability to perform ten home manners skills will be done by a video recording. Two levels of Home Manners will be offered – Virtual Home Manners Puppy (VHMP) and Virtual Home Manners Adult (VHMA). Dogs that pass the tests will be awarded these titles.

The Virtual Home Manners tests assess ten skills that well-mannered pet dogs need in the home setting. The skills relate to the dog owner having control over the dog, being able to walk the dog (which is one of the most frequently cited activities that owners want to do with their dogs) and developing a bond with the dog during playtime.

The Virtual Home Manners tests are evaluated online by CGC Evaluators in the same manner that is currently used for Virtual Tricks. There is not an in-person VHM testing process. Virtual Home Manners is natural lead-in for AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and Canine Good Citizen (CGC) in-person training.

WESTMINSTER in Westchester. . ..

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 11:07am
Westminster In Westchester
Westminster announces move to Lyndhurst Mansion in June 2021


New Breeds Barbet, Belgian Laekenois, and Dogo Argentino Join America’s Dog Show

New York, NY – The 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be held at Lyndhurst, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in Tarrytown, New York on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13, 2021, with live coverage across FOX Sports networks. Due to the ever-changing government restrictions during the pandemic a move to a springtime, outdoor dog show was necessary to uphold Westminster’s strong commitment to the health and safety of everyone who attends our show.

Westminster Weekend will kick-off with the Masters Agility Championship on Friday, June 11, 2021 followed by the Masters Obedience Championship on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Junior Showmanship, Breed, Group, and Best in Show judging will be June 12 - 13, 2021. For the first time, the Best in Show competition will be televised live on FOX.

“We are excited to host the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Lyndhurst, a unique icon of American culture with its park-like landscape and majestic castle overlooking the Hudson River,” said Westminster Kennel Club President Charlton Reynders III. “The wide-open outdoor space at this extraordinary venue allows us to hold a dog show safely while following current social distancing guidelines and public health regulations.”

Lyndhurst — A National Trust for Historic Preservation Property

Lyndhurst—home to America’s Finest Gothic Revival mansion just 25 miles north of New York City—is a 67-acre estate on Route 9 in Tarrytown, New York. The property was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded not-for-profit, in 1961. The estate was designed in 1838 by renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis. Noteworthy occupants include former New York City mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould.

Gould’s youngest son, Frank Jay Gould, was an avid owner, breeder, and exhibitor of rough- and smooth-coated St. Bernards at Westminster in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The family offered many trophies to St. Bernard winners including the silver Gould Challenge Cup.

Lyndhurst is no stranger to dog shows having hosted them for more than three decades. In 1983, the legendary New York Times dog show reporter Walter Fletcher called Lyndhurst, “one of the most beautiful show sites in the country.”

For more information visit

FOX Sports Television Schedule

Saturday, June 12, 2021

· FS2 – Select daytime breed judging, junior showmanship preliminaries, and obedience highlights will be televised live from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (EDT)

· FOX - The Masters Agility Championship will be televised from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (EDT)

· FS1 - Pre-show at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) televised live

· FS1 - Groups from 7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (EDT) televised live

Sunday June 13, 2021

· FS2 – Select daytime breed judging and junior showmanship preliminaries will be televised live from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (EDT)

· FOX - Pre-show at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) televised live

· FOX - Groups and Best in Show from 7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (EDT) televised live


Here is what we know so far:

For 2021 this trial will be open to dogs that have obtained both of their Master titles MX & MXJ or

if entering in preferred the equivalent Master Preferred titles MXP & MJP.

The dog MUST have both titles in the entered title track when we receive your entry.

This trial will be held outside under a very large clear span structured tent.

· Both rings will run on the same turf surface that has been used in the past.

· Finals will be televised on Fox from 4-6pm on Saturday June 12, 2021.

· The tentative opening date for agility is 3/31/21 (mailing address for entries is NOT our normal mailing address)

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