How to Train Your Dog to Sit Pretty

Easy
4-10 Days
Fun

Introduction

Asking your dog to sit pretty looks a lot like begging. Because the ‘sit pretty’ command focuses on your dog's manners, you can use this command in several different ways from petting, showing affection, and meeting new people, as well as receiving treats or meals. You can ask your dog to sit pretty before you give him a treat or before anyone pets him. 

Having your dog sit pretty when he meets a new person shows patience and manners. Your dog will be excited about a good pet from his new friends, but some people aren't going to want to pet a dog who is not calm. Using the ‘sit pretty’ command tells your dog he needs to sit in a certain position, looking a certain way, and in a calm manner. Some dog owners use ‘sit pretty’ and ‘beg’ simultaneously while others use the 'beg' command as a cute trick to earn treats and the 'sit pretty' command for manners before your dog receives something like affection or food.

Defining Tasks

Asking your dog to sit pretty is one of the easiest commands your dog will learn aside from learning to sit. All he will be doing is lifting up his front legs and staying still waiting patiently. When you ask your dog to sit pretty, you're asking him to sit down on his rear haunches and lift his front legs up. His back should be straight, his belly should be exposed, and his bottom should be on the floor. Of course, a puppy or a dog who is currently going through obedience training will pick this one up very quickly. Older dogs can also be taught to sit pretty.

Getting Started

Began the 'sit pretty' training with some high-value treats and just an extra few minutes per training session. Your dog should pick this one up fairly quickly so have some fun with it. It is helpful if your dog knows the 'sit' command first. 

The Tasty Treats Method

Effective
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Step
1
'Sit' command
Using the 'sit' command, have your dog sit.
Step
2
Treat
Hold a treat up above your dog's nose and very slowly raise the treat higher. This should get your dog's front paws off of the ground in order to try to get the treat from your hand.
Step
3
Front paws
Once your dog's front paws are off the ground, offer him verbal praise and the treat.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat this several times, expecting your dog to rise off of his front paws every time you raise the treat up over his nose.
Step
5
Challenge
Once your dog has done this a few times, raise the treat even higher until your dog is completely sitting on his backside with his front paws off of the ground.
Step
6
Name it
Once your dog hits this position sitting on his hind feet with his bottom on the ground and his front legs up as if in a begging position, name the trick. Tell your dog, "sit pretty."
Step
7
Practice
Continue to practice this new trick but be consistent about raising the treat higher and having your dog in the sit pretty position before you offer him a treat.
Recommend training method?

The Both Sit Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Sit
Put your dog in a sitting position and sit in front of him.
Step
2
Treat
Offer him a treat for obeying and sitting. This will also let him know that you have treats on hand that he can earn.
Step
3
Hold treat up
Hold a treat up in front of his nose and raise it higher.
Step
4
Entice
If your dog is interested, he should raise his head but also lift his paws off the ground to try to reach the treat.
Step
5
Reward
Once your dog has raised his front paws off the ground to reach the treat, give him the treat.
Step
6
Command
Repeat the steps above, only this time when your dog sits on his haunches with his front paws in the air to reach the treat, use the command 'sit pretty,' and give him the treat.
Step
7
Repeat
Practice this with your dog several times, eventually getting to the point where you use the command only instead of enticing him with the treat above his nose expecting him to sit with his paws up in the air in a sit pretty position.
Recommend training method?

The Clicker Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Sit position
Stand in front of your dog and ask him to sit. Be sure to reward him with a click and a treat once he is in position.
Step
2
Treat
Hold a treat just above your dog's nose. Let it linger long enough for your dog to sniff it. As soon as he begins to show interest, raise it up higher.
Step
3
Leg lifts
Your dog should lift his front paws off the ground in order to increase his height and reach the treat.
Step
4
Sit pretty
When your dog lifts his front paws off the ground and sits on his bottom, use the command 'sit pretty.' As soon as you say the command, click and treat.
Step
5
Practice
Repeat these steps, clicking and treating each time your dog obeys the command to sit pretty and earns the treat.
Step
6
Command only
Your dog should get to the point very quickly where you need to only say the command 'sit pretty,' and he should sit on his back side and lift his front legs up in the sit pretty position.
Step
7
Click and treat
Be sure to click and treat, rewarding your dog each time for a job well done.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Little Bee
Mixed breed
7 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Little Bee
Mixed breed
7 Years

I am using The Tasty Treats Method to train my dog. When I raise the treat higher she doesn't lift her paws off the floor. She just looks at the treat. What should I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kate, The key to getting some dogs to lift off the ground is to first provide a treat that is enticing enough that they want to continue licking it as long as it is by their mouth. You can put a little peanut butter or cheese on the treat if needed even. Get her really interested in licking the treat, then move the treat slowly enough that she can continue licking the treat while you move it...We are talking inching it along. If needed, you can also lift her chest with your free hand slightly while she tries to follow the treat, then as soon as her paws lift off the ground with your help or on her own, praise and give the treat. Don't wait until she is all the way into the sit pretty position before you reward at first, reward for any effort toward the command - such as lifting paws off the ground. If she needed your help lifting up, then gradually use less and less pressure with your hand on her chest each time you practice, until she is balancing on her own. Practice rewarding just barely lifting off the ground until she gets good at doing that without your hand helping her, then you can move the treat a bit further so that she lifts even more, and reward when she lifts a bit more than before. Reward her at the current level of lifting off the ground until she gets good at lifting that amount, then require her to lift a bit more to get the treat each time she improves, until she can move all the way into the sit pretty position to get her treat. When she can move into the sit pretty position easily, then wait until she stays there for a second before giving the treat. Gradually increase how long she has to hold the position for before rewarding her. The key with a lot of trick training is to break the training down into really small steps and reward progress toward your goal...If you do that long enough with lots of little steps of progress, then eventually your dog will work up to being able to do the entire trick before being rewarded. Some dogs easily move right into the position the first time - usually super food motivated dogs with great balance, but a lot of dogs need the trick broken down into tiny steps overtime, and they need to develop balance by practicing it often. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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