Sitting Pretty

One of the things that Daddy regrets is that he never taught me the stand command. After sitting, instead of getting back on my four paws, I would just sit pretty (stand on my back two paws).

Daddy, who was an avid gamer, is familiar with the concept of a build order. However, Daddy never had a dog before so he wasn’t sure what the proper order was in terms of teaching me the basic training commands.

Daddy knew that the first command should be sit and he taught me sit right away. It was easy. Daddy placed a treat in front of my face and just kept raising his hand until I couldn’t see the treat anymore without sitting. After I sat, Daddy gave me the treat.


Now if Daddy had read some training books, he would have known that the next trick would be “stand.” You would say “stand” and give me a treat when I got back on my four paws.

Unfortunately, at the time, Daddy was not the studious type, so he didn’t read any training books. Consequently, the next command that I learned wasn’t “stand.” Instead, Daddy taught me the “sit pretty” command.


Daddy remembers that day very well. We were still living in the old house and we were either in the bedroom or the living room. Daddy remembers the carpet. Daddy and I were practicing some basic commands with treats. We weren’t playing ball because Mama wasn’t in the room.

Daddy got me in the sit position. Daddy, facing me, then put the treat behind my ears as I was sitting. In order to get “taller,” I sat pretty. Daddy laughed out loud when he saw me sitting pretty. Daddy, in his high pitch voice, said “hon hon, you have to see P-.”

When Mama arrived, I had to show Mama my nifty trick. When I did it, Mama got really excited and flooded me with treats. I’m P-, a purebred golden retriever – my grandfather was a champion. I  was born for the spotlight.

The problem, however, is that sitting pretty is not always the proper response. For example, one time daddy was vacuuming and he wanted me to move. Instead of moving, I just sat pretty. Daddy got mad but he just vacuumed around me.

Daddy tried to teach me the “stand” command after I learned “sit pretty” but I could never get a hold of “stand.”  Why “stand” when I can “sit pretty” and have people be amazed and shower me with praise? Indeed, sometimes when I meet new company, especially those with food, and I don’t know what to do, I just sit pretty.

Anybody? Anybody?

One night, during one of our daily walks, a neighbor was telling Daddy and Mama about how Doxie, their golden retriever, ate some food off their coffee table earlier that day. His daughter had left some churro from Taco Bell on the coffee table.

Doxie gave two barks — “anybody? anybody?”

When no one replied, Doxie ate the churro off the coffee table.

After hearing the story, Mama and Daddy laughed about it. But they also felt good about themselves because they thought that they were good parents since I haven’t eaten anything inappropriate in the house. At the time, Mama and Daddy couldn’t imagine me eating anything off a coffee table. We didn’t have a coffee table. But even if we did, Mama and Daddy didn’t think that I would be capable of such a savage act because they thought that I had good manners.

Of course that all changed one Sunday afternoon.

Mama and Daddy had a Sunday afternoon routine where they would buy Pho takeout (Pho is a type of Vietnamese beef noodle) and eat it in front of the television. Most of the time, they would watch reruns of the Munsters. Since we didn’t have a coffee table, Mama and Daddy ate on two matching lazy susans and sat on the floor. While they ate and watched television, I would play with my toys.

One Sunday afternoon, Mama and Daddy decided that they weren’t going to eat Pho that day. Instead, they were going to eat rice with Sardines that Daddy’s Mom got from Macau.


Mama placed the sardine can on one of the lazy susans. While Mama and Daddy were in the kitchen scooping up the rice, I was in the living room licking the oil in the sardine can.

Of course I was really quiet about it. Slurping ever so quietly. When Mama and Daddy realized what happened, all the oil was already gone.

Mama and Daddy laughed.

Daddy said, “boy we are sucky parents. P- didn’t even ask if anybody wanted this before he started eating.”

Mama smiled and laughed some more.

Later, whenever Mama and Daddy are eating by themselves and there is a last piece of food, they would ask each other, “anybody? anybody?”