How to Train a Dog to Stand Up

Three Methods:Gaining Your Dog’s AttentionTeaching Your Dog to StandRefining the Trick

Training a dog to stand up takes patience, but it’s well worth it. Before teaching your dog to stand, you should familiarize him or her with a marker sound and find a treat your doggie likes. When you’re ready to train your dog to stand, first get your dog to sit down. Place a treat near your dog’s nose and then bring it towards you. As soon as your dog rises, reward it with verbal praise and a treat.

Method 1
Gaining Your Dog’s Attention

  1. 1
    Use a marker sound.[1] Marker sounds are sounds that please the dog and let it know it has done something right. The marker sound could be a word or a sound. The most common marker words are “Yes!” or “Good dog!” Marker sounds are usually made by a clicker, a small hand-held device that helps in dog training.
    • You can obtain a clicker at most local pet stores.
    • While you can use either a clicker or a word/phrase when deciding on a marker sound, clickers tend to be used by professional trainers and show dogs, while marker words offering enthusiasm and praise are more common for regular pets.
    • You could use both together. However, whatever sound you choose, ensure you do it the same every time. In other words, don’t say “Yes!” one time, then “Awesome!” another time. If you use both a clicker and marker word, don’t change it up and start using just one or just the other.
  2. 2
    Practice the marker sound.[2] The goal of using a marker sound, whether it’s a word or a clicker, is for the dog to create a positive association with the sound. To do this, “ambush” your dog with your chosen marker sound 10-15 times each day for about a week.
    • When your dog is sitting down, playing outside, chasing its tail, or doing any other activity, deploy your marker sound and then immediately give your dog a tasty treat.
    • This way, your dog will associate the sound with a tasty snack and the good feeling that goes along with it.
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    Find a treat your dog likes. There are many dog treats available in pet stores. Popular treats include peanut butter, sausage, sweet potato, and bacon flavored treats. Let your dog sample a variety to discover which it likes best. The more enthusiastic your dog is about receiving a treat, the more willing he or she will be to learn to stand.
    • Avoid treats with artificial colors, artificial preservatives, and added sugars.
    • Treats made with organic ingredients are best.
    • If a sweetener is added, it should be natural, not corn syrup or sugar.[3] Your doggie will love natural sweeteners like applesauce, molasses, and agave nectar.
    • All treats should be bite-sized.

Method 2
Teaching Your Dog to Stand

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    Ask your dog to sit.[4] Your dog should sit one to three feet away from you. It should be leaning on its front legs and sitting on its back legs. This will allow it to rise easily to a standing position.
    • If your dog cannot sit, teach your dog to sit before it learns to stand. Getting a dog to stand requires that it is sitting or lying down.
    • If you don’t want to train your dog to sit, you could simply wait for it to sit (or lie down) on its own before ordering it to stand.
  2. 2
    Hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose.[5] Get some treats that your dog really likes. Grip the treat between your thumb, middle, and index fingers so your dog can see it. Place the treat about six to ten inches away from your dog’ nose.
  3. 3
    Bring the treat toward you.[6] Always move the treat directly out and away from the dog’s nose. When moving it, do not raise it above the level of the dog’s nose or your doggie might be confused and think you’re taking the treat away.
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    Give your dog the treat. As you bring your hand toward you, your dog should track it with its eyes at first, then get up off its haunches to follow the treat. As soon as your dog rises, drop the treat so the dog can eat it. You could also choose to hand-feed the treat directly to your dog.
    • Praise your dog for standing and taking the treat.[7] You might say encouraging phrases like “Good dog!” or “Wow, you did great!”
    • If your dog does not immediately rise when you move the treat away from it, encourage your dog to get up by patting your thigh or making a kissing sound.
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    Add a verbal cue. Once your dog is trained well enough that it will stand when you offer it a treat, add a verbal cue to reinforce the action. Say this phrase or word as soon as you extend your hand in front of the dog’s nose to offer the treat.
    • Since you want your dog to stand, it makes sense to use a word like “Stand” or “Up” as your verbal command.[8]
    • Your verbal cues should always be clear, direct, and confident. Speak clearly and forcefully so your dog responds immediately.
  6. 6
    Use the command. Once your dog knows how to stand, you can use it in a number of situations. For instance, you could get your dog to stand (and come to you) when it is sitting in a location you don’t want it to be, like in front of a door or on the sofa. You could also use it at the vet’s office to help your vet check for responsiveness, or to examine the dog’s legs. It’s also a useful command when you want to brush your dog.[9]
    • Any time your dog is sitting somewhere and you want it to move somewhere else, the first step is always getting it to stand.

Method 3
Refining the Trick

  1. 1
    Practice the trick in various locations. Repeat the trick in many locations both inside and outside your house.[10] This way, your dog will not come to associate standing with a particular location. Instead, your dog will learn to generalize the treat-giving action with the appropriate response.
    • Start in simple locations and build to harder ones. Simple locations are quiet with few distractions or strange smells. You should start in your own living room or kitchen. Ratchet up the difficulty level for your dog by doing the trick in your house with several friends or family members around. You can graduate up to an outside location like a public park or greenway.
    • This way, your dog will be able to perform the “stand” command anywhere at any time.
  2. 2
    Add distance between you and your dog.[11] While you should start with your dog between one and three feet away from you, you should gradually increase the distance at which the dog obeys your command. Once your dog starts to understand the trick, move back to a distance of between two and four feet. Once your dog is successful at accomplishing the trick at this distance, move back further still.
    • Don’t maintain a constant distance when practicing. For instance, you can direct your dog to stand from a distance of three feet one time, then from a distance of just one foot the next time, then a distance of two feet the next time, and so on.
    • This will help your doggie understand that it’s not the distance between the two of you that determines what trick it is supposed to perform, but the command and action.
    • Be sensitive to your dog’s upper concentration limit. Once you move more than 10 feet away, you might not be able to get your dog to see your hand gesture.
  3. 3
    Increase the duration of the trick.[12] Instead of giving your dog a treat after it stands for just a second or two, wait three to five seconds before giving it. Once your dog has learned to wait three to five seconds, wait six to eight seconds before giving it a treat.
    • There’s no absolute maximum a dog will be able to wait before getting antsy, but be aware of the limits to your dog’s patience. If your dog is getting antsy, distracted, or sits back down after you’ve stretched the duration of the trick to a certain point, you should accept that your dog has probably reached its personal patience threshold.
  4. 4
    Cut back on the treats. Once your doggie really knows how to stand, start to cut back on the treats. Instead of giving your dog a treat every time it performs the correct behavior, just make the motion of giving the treat by pinching your index, thumb, and middle fingers together in front of the dog’s nose. This will reduce your and your dog’s reliance on treats to stand.
    • Cut back from giving a treat every time your dog performs the trick to giving a treat just 90% of the time. Use the hand motion without the treat for the other 10% of the time. If your dog continues to obey, use the hand motion without giving a treat 20% of the time. Continue to reduce how often you give a treat as you see fit.
    • However, you should never entirely eliminate treats from the trick.
    • If you notice that your dog becomes less compliant with the command over time, increase the frequency with which you administer treats when getting your dog to stand.
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    Practice a variation. A variation of the simple “stand” command is the “stand up” command. Training your dog to stand up on its hind legs works exactly the same as the regular stand command, but instead of bringing the treat forward relative the dog (and toward you), you simply lift the treat in your hand up and over the dog’s head. Your dog should follow it and rise on its back legs to reach it.[13]
    • Use a different verbal command to differentiate this trick from “Stand.” Try a command like “Jump up” or “Up, up.”
    • Start slowly. At first, give your dog the treat as soon as its front legs come off the ground. Then, give it the treat when it can stand on its hind legs for about three seconds. Then reward it when it has stood for five seconds.
    • Don’t let your dog lean against you when doing this trick -- that’s cheating!
    • Smaller dogs (of less than 40 pounds) are better at standing and balancing on their hind legs than larger dogs.


  • If the dog does not get it at first, don't be disheartened. Every dog learns at its own pace.
  • Keep each training session limited to under five minutes. Once your dog successfully accomplishes the trick, go away and try it again later.


  • Do not raise your arm above the level of the dog’s nose or it might cause your dog to jump up to get the treat.

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Categories: Dog Tricks