Teach your dog to Beg (aka: Sit Pretty)


I don’t like the use of the “subordinate” word Beg, but it is the classic term for this trick. The more P.C. term is Sit Pretty, the reason I don’t personally use this term is because I find the association with the word Beg is picked up much faster. I also believe that the negative association in having your dog “beg” is a human stereotype and as long as it is fun, the dog doesn’t have any concern with what ever word you want. If you want to use the spanish word for Beg (Mendigar) than it’s up to you. Any cue will do fine. Hand signals work too. For this example I am using the cue “beg”.


If you dog knows how to shake hands you already have a leg up on this one.

Step 1: Preparation

Get yourself a pile of dog treats (the yummy kind, not the dry kind) a quiet place with no distractions, and a dog that knows how to shake hands.

Step 2: Begin

Start off by getting your dog to shake hands, this should be pretty easy, as soon as your dog places one hand in yours use your free hand to gently pick up the other paw. Go slowly at first you dog will not understand why “Shake hands” was not what you were looking for. Use the cue of your choice (beg) just before you pick up the second paw. Wait for 2 seconds then drop both paws and reward with the treat.

As your dog is repeating the task it is ok to keep supporting the dog with your hand, arm or knee, once you are sure that your dog is starting to understand you can start to remove assistance and try to get them to do it on their own.

You want your dog to do as much work on this as possible. If you keep assisting your dog too much the dog will think that is part of the trick. As soon as your dog gets that you want both paws in the air stop assisting the second paw, but keep allowing your dog to balance with one hand. What you want to do is build what is called “Muscle Memory” that is where your dog remembers the position you are wanting them to sit in by themselves. The longer they lean on you the longer it takes to develop the muscle memory for the desired position.

Step 3: Reinforcement

Not all dogs pick this up quickly. So it takes many repetitions to get it right. Keep your wits about you. You will know the moment when you dog starts to understand, and when that happens you need to be there to celebrate their win. The point is always to have fun, so each time your dog does a good job, make a big deal about it. The more fun they are having the more receptive to doing it again they will be.

Remember to be calm, and patient with your dog when training. Never get frustrated or lose your temper when you dog doesn’t get it. Dogs respect calm humans, not frustrated humans! If you start to feel frustrated, STOP and try again later. Sometimes your dog may not be in the mood to learn, don’t rush them.

And most of all have fun, like all dog training it is a great bonding experience and it brings you and your pooch closer together.



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