wikiHow to Teach a Dog to Beg

Three Parts:Teaching Your Dog to Beg or Sit PrettyTraining Your Dog to SitEnsuring Training Success

The type of begging you can teach your dog to do is also the same thing as teaching your dog to sit pretty. This type of begging is a trick; it doesn’t refer to teaching your dog to beg for food at the table. Sitting pretty is when your dog sits on his back feet with his front paws up in the air. Your dog will look like he’s a rabbit sitting up and looking around.[1]

Part 1
Teaching Your Dog to Beg or Sit Pretty

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    Command your dog to sit. The beg or sit pretty trick should always start from a normal sitting position. To begin training, command your dog to sit. Don’t reward him for this part of the process, unless you’re also training him to sit. Once he’s seated, pause for a few moments.[2]
    • Please refer to Part 2: Training Your Dog to Sit if you need help training your dog to follow the sit command.
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    Hold a treat just above your dog’s nose. While your dog is in a seated position, hold his treat just above his nose. He should have to look up to see your hand and the treat.[3]
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    Say the “beg” command. Once your dog is looking up at the treat in your hand, say the word “beg” (or whatever other verbal command you’d like to use for this trick).[4]
    • If your dog stands up, or jumps up, in order to get to the treat, do not reward him. Simply ask him to go back into a sit.
    • Most dogs, because they’re already seated, will naturally raise their front paws off the ground in order to move their bodies closer to the treat. This is the behaviour you’re looking for.
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    Reward your dog when he’s able to balance on his haunches. The beg or sit pretty trick requires that your dog has his front paws in the air in front of him, while he sits balances on his back feet and legs (i.e. haunches). When your dog is in this position, reward him with his treat and lots of praise.[5]
    • Wait to reward your dog until he’s balanced. If he’s off balanced, or not staying upwards, he might not associate the treat with the right behaviour.
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    Help your dog understand, if needed. If your dog isn’t naturally going into the right position, or he’s having trouble balancing, you can help him. For balancing, you can stand behind him and help support his back until he gets his balance. If he isn’t putting his paws in the air, you can help him by lifting his paws off the ground to show him what you want.[6]
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    Practice, practice, practice. Continue practicing the trick over and over again. After your dog has connected the word “beg” with the beg position, stop rewarding him with treats for performing the trick and just give him praise and affection.[7]
    • The point of this is to have your dog only do the command when you say the word “beg” (or whatever other word you’ve used). Your dog shouldn’t learn to only do the trick if you’re holding a treat in front of him.
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    Show off your dog’s tricks. As a dog owner, there’s probably nothing more satisfying than teaching your dog a trick and have him successfully perform it in front of other people. Your dog will also love this because he’ll get lots of extra praise and attention from multiple people when he does a good job.[8]

Part 2
Training Your Dog to Sit

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    Bring your dog and some treats to a place where your dog can concentrate. Training your dog to sit is one of the easiest commands to teach, and it’s an extremely useful command to have in your dog’s repertoire. Start by standing in front of your dog and holding a treat near his nose.[9]
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    Move your hand to lift the treat higher. Once your dog is aware of the treat in your hand, move your hand upwards so your dog follows it with his head.[10]
    • Your hand (and the treat) shouldn’t be too high above your dog’s head because the point of this exercise is to have your dog move his head upwards while moving his bum downwards (to a sit position).
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    Give the sit command. Once your dog’s bum is on the ground, and he’s in a sit position, say the word “sit” verbally. Give your dog the treat after your give the command, and shower him with lots of praise for doing a good job.[11]
    • The point of this exercise is to attach the word “sit” with the behaviour of sitting by rewarding your dog.
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    Repeat the steps. Even if your dog is able to perform a sit after one try, the purpose of training is to make it second nature by practicing it over and over. Repeat the training steps several more times, and reward your dog only when he’s successful.[12]
    • Keep each training session to around 15 minutes so your dog doesn’t lose focus.
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    Use the command without the treat. Once your dog has mastered sitting because he hears the command and sees the treat, stop using the treat. This step is important because you want your dog to sit down when you say the command “sit.”[13]
    • You can still reward your dog with praise when he’s done a good job.
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    Practice the command as part of your dog’s everyday routine. Start using the command on a regular basis. Before you feed your dog, ask him to sit. While you’re putting his leash on, ask him to sit. When he’s out for a walk, ask him to sit when you stop. And so on.[14]
    • Training doesn’t stop when your dog has mastered a command. Training has to continue in order to reinforce the command as part of your dog’s behaviour.
    • Avoid taking shortcuts once your dog has mastered a command, or you may undo all the training you worked so hard on.
    • For example, don’t cave and give a treat if your dog doesn’t follow a command. Don’t allow your dog to continue whatever he was doing without following a command you’ve given.

Part 3
Ensuring Training Success

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    Make sure your dog already knows the sit command. Training your dog to beg or sit pretty will be a lot easier if he already knows the sit command. The beg or sit pretty trick always starts in a sit position, so if your dog doesn’t already know this command, start by training him to sit.[15]
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    Determine the reward that works best for your dog. Any successful training exercise needs an incentive. The incentive has to be something your dog really wants to have, and will pay attention to even if there are distractions around. Normally dog treats work well for an incentive, but not all dogs are enamoured with treats![16]
    • Some dogs don’t need treats as incentive, but simply food. Use a portion of his daily kibble as his rewards during training.
    • If your dog really likes attention, you may not need to use food or treats at all, you might simply be able to train him using praise.
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    Keep each training session under 15 minutes. Training in general requires focus and repetition, both on the part of the dog and from you. In order to ensure your dog (or you) doesn’t lose focus while training, keep each session to around 15 minutes.[17]
    • While you can have more than one training session a day, spread them out. For example, perform one training session in the morning and another in the evening.
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    End on a high note. While in a training session, keep the experience fun and positive for your dog. Don’t scold or yell or get upset. Training any animal is best accomplished using only positive reinforcement (e.g. rewards), not punishment.[18]
    • If you or your dog is getting frustrated or upset, stop the training session and try again later.
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    Decide if you want to use a clicker. This trick can easily be trained with and without a clicker. However, if your dog has already been trained with a clicker, it might help to use it here. If your dog has already associates a clicker sound with a treat, and knowing that he needs to perform a specific behaviour to get that treat, he might catch on faster to this trick if you use a clicker.[19]


  • Not all dog breeds will be able to comfortably perform this trick, as they won’t be able to balance properly on their back feet. If you have a dog that has a long body, like a Dachshund or a Corgi, you may not want to try this trick.[20]
  • Some dogs may also not have enough strength in their back ends to perform the beg or sit pretty trick without a lot of effort. That’s one of the reasons this trick is so great, because it will also help your dog build strength in that area if he perform it often enough. You may need to help support your dog until he’d developed enough strength, but he should eventually be able to do it on his own.[21]

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Categories: Dog Tricks