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Teaching your dog to sit on his back legs can be a fun position to ask him to say please, to beg, or to sit pretty. This is a command you can teach your dog when you know he wants something. It can be a polite way of saying ‘please, may I have this,’ and it can also be a cute way of asking for whatever it is he would like to have. You can also teach your dog to sit on his hind legs as a greeting when he meets people. If he sits on his hind legs with his front paws up in the air, he is simply saying hello to his new friend and asking in a polite manner to be pet or acknowledged.
No matter how you use this command with your little guy, it is sure to get smiles and laughs from anyone who watches your puppy sit on his back legs. As he grows this will become a habit and a trick he does when asking for something or saying hello.
Before you teach your puppy to sit on his back legs, go through a solid round of basic obedience commands first. Your little guy should know how to sit, how to lie down on command, how to stay, and the 'come' or release command. Training him to sit on his back legs will start with the 'sit' command. Once he is sitting he will need to rise up, so he's not sitting on his bottom but is rather sitting on his back feet. Some dogs bring their front paws all the way up into the air and shake hands or wave their paws. Other dogs sit very still in a 'sit pretty' position waiting for their reward. Engaging with your puppy and turning opportunities into learning moments, such as when you are feeding meals to your little guy, will help him learn this trick easily. If you want to use this to say hello to people, begin to use it as a greeting.
Other than having your dog well-trained for the basic obedience commands, your puppy should be ready to learn how to sit on his back legs at any time during other training sessions. Make sure you have some treats for rewards and to use them to entice him to stand up slightly on his legs and get off of his bottom. Keep these sessions short yet rewarding.
The From Sitting Method
Place your dog in a 'sit' position. Be sure to reward him for sitting and then show him a second treat that he can earn for sitting back on his hind legs.
Hold the treat up over your dog's head and make sure you have his attention as well as the attention of his nose.
Raise treat higher
Raise the treat higher to get your dog to move firmly on his back legs and lift up his front legs.
Once your dog sits on his back legs he will be sitting taller with his weight shifted to his rear end and his front paws slightly off the ground.
Continue to raise the treat encouraging your dog to lift his front legs to the height you’d like to see.
Once he is sitting fully on his back legs, give him the treat.
The Sitting Pretty Method
Ask your dog to sit but do not reward him for sitting just yet. Once he is sitting, ask him to sit pretty.
From his normal sitting position, you will use the reward treat to lure him up into a sitting pretty position. This will have your pup sitting on his back legs with his front paws up off the ground.
Once he back on his rear legs sitting pretty, give him the treat.
Be sure you practice this a lot with your pup. This can become your new command to expect your dog to sit pretty before he gets a meal or snack or even before greeting anyone.
After practicing by luring your dog back and up while sitting on his back legs, start saying only the command phrase, ‘sit pretty.’ With practice, he should be able to sit on his back legs and lift his front legs without the lure of a treat, but be sure you are rewarding him each time.
The Begging Position Method
Hold a treat in your hand but keep your hand closed so your dog can smell it but cannot get to it.
Ask to sit
Your dog should know how to sit. If he does not, go back and teach him to sit first. Once he understands the 'sit' command, have him sit. Do not reward him for obeying this time. You are not finished with your commands just yet.
Hold treat above dog
Hold the hand hiding the treat above your dog’s head. Just as he may have done while learning to sit on command, his nose may follow the treat if you move it.
Keep the treat in your hand and lift your hand up higher but keep it over his face and nose.
As you raise the treat in your hand up, your dog will likely lift his body up a bit to follow the treat. While doing this, his front legs will come off the floor and he will be sitting on his back legs.
Use the command 'beg’ as soon as your dog is sitting on his back legs.
Reward and practice
Give your dog that treat you were hiding in your hand. Practice this trick luring him up with a treat and using the command to beg. Once he has the hang of it, just ask him to beg and reward him with a treat but do not lure him up.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 04/06/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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