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Training your small dog to sit on his hind legs is a fun trick. Some dogs often use sitting on their hind legs to beg or to say please when they want something. There's not much cuter than a small dog backing up, sitting down on his hind legs, and lifting up his front legs to ask you if he can have something. Imagine your little guy saying, ‘Please, can I have that treat?’ by sitting on his hind legs.
When your small dog sits back on his hind legs in a begging position, you can also call this "sitting pretty". So when your dog wants something you can ask him to 'sit pretty' first before he gets what he wants. This is a fun trick and reminds not only you, but also anyone who knows your dog, how incredibly cute your little guy is. Eventually, he will just begin to sit pretty on his own in order to earn special things like treats or even a good pet behind the ears.
Teaching your small dog to sit up on his hind legs with his front paws in the air is a position that will come easily for your little guy. This is a natural position, especially for small dogs, to sit and raise his front paws while asking permission or asking for something special. It's a cute trick that won't take you a whole lot of time to train your dog to do. You can teach your young puppy to sit on his hind legs or an older dog to sit on his hind legs. Just a few short training sessions with repetition, showing your dog how you expect him to sit, and what he gets for it in the form of a reward, will teach your little guy your expectations.
This is a trick you're going to want to schedule time to practice. As your small dog gets used to doing this trick more and more, you can ask him to do it as an expectation before he earns a treat. While you're training, be sure to have lots of treats on hand to reward your little guy. Keep your training sessions fairly short and engaging but make them often, so he remembers how to do this cute little trick.
The Sit Pretty Method
Be prepared with tasty treats to entice your small dog to sit on his hind legs. You can also be ready with a trick command to train your little guy such as ‘sit pretty.’
Your small dog should know basic obedience commands before training this trick. If he does, ask him to sit and give him a treat.
Show your sitting dog a second treat so he knows there are more expectations to come.
Hold the second treat up above your little guy’s nose. Move it slowly up and slightly back over his nose. This motion should cause your small dog to rise up on his hind legs and sit pretty. If he stands tall, your treat might be too high. Lower to get your dog to go back down onto his hind legs.
Sit on hind legs
Once your small dog is sitting on his hind legs, say the command you’ve picked such as ‘sit pretty,’ and give him the treat.
Keep practicing getting your little guy into the sitting on the hind legs position and rewarding him with the treat you used to lure him into the position. Work on this with your little guy for a few days before taking the treat away and only using the command.
Once your dog can sit pretty on his hind legs over and over by holding a treat over his nose, stop using the treat, and only say the command you have been teaching him. Once you say the command, your small dog should sit up on his hind legs and expect a treat for a job well done.
Be sure to reward him once he gets the trick. Continue to practice and have others ask your dog to sit up on his hind legs using the command you have taught him. And always be sure to give him a treat each time.
The Beg Method
Hide a treat
Put a treat in your hand. Cose your hand and then show your hand to your dog. Light your little guy sniff your hand so he understands what's in it and that he could earn a tasty treat.
Raise the hidden treat up and over your dog's head. Let your little guy sniff your hand because he's going to want the treat hidden inside.
Sit on hind legs
To get your little dog to sit on his hind legs, you are going to raise the treat up slightly higher and move it over the top of his head. He should try to sit a little taller up on his hind legs and pull his front paws up in a begging position to try to get to the treat.
Once your little guy is in this position, sitting on his hind legs, open your hand and give him the treat.
Praise and practice
Be sure to give him lots of verbal praise as well. Once your small dog has done this a couple of times, practice without the treat. Lift your hand up without a treat hidden inside and over his nose slightly, encouraging him to get into the begging on his hind legs position.
Once your dog is in the sitting on his hind legs position, give him a treat. Continue to practice with and without treats so your dog knows when you do that motion, even if you don't have a treat in your hand, he needs to follow and sit on his hind legs with his front legs up as if in a begging position.
The Name It Method
Have your small dog sit in front of you and give him a treat for obeying a command. You're going to start talking to your dog about a new trick he's going to learn. Give this trick a command while talking to him. This can be 'sit on your hind legs,' 'beg,' 'sit pretty,' 'sit up,' or whatever command you would like to use.
Once you have chosen a command you are going to consistently use for this trick, begin teaching the command to your dog. Before you start the trick, say the command. Then hold a treat up over your dog's nose, encouraging your dog to lift his front half of his body up, sitting back on his hind legs.
Once your dog is sitting on his hind legs, give him the treat and say the command again.
Repeat these steps using that command as much as you can so your small dog understands the command is the action of raising up and then sitting down on his hind legs.
Be sure to reward your small dog every time he is successful. Once he is used to doing this command with a treat over his head, begin to only use the command instead of the treat to entice him into the position.
Have your dog sit in front of you and say the command. If he does not do it with only the command, go back and practice using a treat again. Once your dog does sit on his hind legs by command only, give him the treat and continue to practice this cute trick together.
In other places
You can have your dog use this command before he gets a treat, before he is fed his meals, before he is allowed to be pet by a person, or any other time you think it's appropriate to have your dog sitting up and on his hind legs in a 'beg' or 'sit pretty' position.
Written by Stephanie Plummer
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 01/23/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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