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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.
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.
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
Using the 'sit' command, have your dog sit.
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.
Once your dog's front paws are off the ground, offer him verbal praise and the treat.
Repeat this several times, expecting your dog to rise off of his front paws every time you raise the treat up over his nose.
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.
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."
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.
The Both Sit Method
Put your dog in a sitting position and sit in front of him.
Offer him a treat for obeying and sitting. This will also let him know that you have treats on hand that he can earn.
Hold treat up
Hold a treat up in front of his nose and raise it higher.
If your dog is interested, he should raise his head but also lift his paws off the ground to try to reach the treat.
Once your dog has raised his front paws off the ground to reach the treat, give him the treat.
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.
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.
The Clicker Method
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.
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.
Your dog should lift his front paws off the ground in order to increase his height and reach the treat.
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.
Repeat these steps, clicking and treating each time your dog obeys the command to sit pretty and earns the treat.
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.
Click and treat
Be sure to click and treat, rewarding your dog each time for a job well done.
Written by Stephanie Plummer
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 11/30/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
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