Friday, February 12, 2016

Teach Your Dog to Sit Pretty

Dog sitting pretty Rocco Havanese

We're getting ready to start another agility season, and so last week Rocco and I visited his doggie chiropractor to make sure he's feeling good and all nice and aligned before competition heats up!

Good news is he needed just some minor adjusting, and as a bonus, his vet/chiropractor who is also certified in dog physical therapy gave us some good strength-training exercises.

As she says, strength = speed... so Rocco is building up muscle power so he can run fast (and run clean) on the agility course!

Today we're sharing one of the exercises she gave us...

Sit Pretty or Beg

Sitting pretty is a great core strengthener and we also think it looks pretty cute, so I started teaching it to Rocco when he was just a wee pup. 

How to teach it

There are a few methods. Experiment to find the one that works best for your pup.
  • From a sit, lure your dog's head up and back with a treat. Allow him to nibble the treat while in the position.  Tip: keep your hand with the treat low to encourage your dog to hold his hindquarters in the sit position.
  • If your dog needs more support while learning, position him in a sit in the corner of a sofa. Then, lure his head up and back with a treat while he leans back into the sofa.
  • Another option is to position your dog in a sit while you stand directly behind him. Lure him into sit pretty position with a treat so that his back rests on your legs. Then steady his chest with your hand if necessary.
Tip: Start slow, only asking for a few moments of balancing in position, and reward your dog in the sit pretty position. Be sure to reward the behavior while it's happening, not after it is finished! Add duration and distance once your dog masters the trick!

Havanese sitting pretty Rocco Havanese
Rocco IS sitting pretty, though it's hard to tell through all the fluff! Here he's sitting facing uphill.
In the photo at the top of this post he's sitting facing downhill.
Our vet gave us a few additional challenges to make Sit Pretty a little more challenging. Once you've mastered the trick, here are a few more things you can do to increase intensity.
  • Change up the surfaces 
  • Start on a flat and level surface
  • Add more challenge with a balance disc or FitPAWS Donut, or use a pillow 
  • Sit Pretty on a hill facing all four directions -- uphill, downhill and both sides
We have a slight hill in our backyard that we've started working on, and Rocco's practicing on the Donut, too.  One more note: It took Rocco a good long while to master this trick. He couldn't hold the position until he was two. We're still working on duration and some distance (he's three now!). 

Rocco Havanese Sitting Pretty on FitPAWS Donut
The donut is challenging, but Rocco can handle it! 

Can your dog sit pretty? Let us know in the comments below!

The fun and games continue every Friday with FitDog Friday, the weekly Blog Hop brought to you by To Dog With LoveSlimDoggy and My GBGV Life to promote a healthy active lifestyle for pets (and their people, too!). Join in every Friday by linking up your FitDog story or visiting the blogs in the hop.


  1. None of us can do that, but those are great tips for us to use if we want to give it a try. Rocco is so "well balanced"!

  2. Rocco makes this look so easy! Barley can sit pretty for about half a second, but we have never been successful at building up the time she can hold it for. My aunt's dalmatian started doing sit pretty without any training for it when she a tiny little puppy, though, and has been doing it ever sense--it's one of the cutest things I've seen!

    1. My first dog, a Lhasa Apso, could sit pretty for hours! It seems to depend on the shape of the dog.

  3. Jack really can't get more than one foot off the ground at a time...

    1. Some dogs just aren't built for this particular move!

  4. while those are GREAT tips, have to tell you....Dakota "sits pretty" when we say "What does a GENTLEMAN do?" Then he sits SUPER PRETTY....and looks like the perfect gentleman! Never taught him a thing.......he just did it. That's Shelties for ya!

  5. Great tips and Rocco you are so cute in your sit.

  6. We're still working on duration too. Rocco looks so cute doing it on the donut!

    1. Thanks! Rocco always has one paw up and one paw down. It must help him balance.

  7. Ethel does this involuntarily! It's so cute!

  8. I love the picture of Rocco's balance on the donut! Way to go! Our pups both mastered the "sit pretty" position, but it also took them quite some time until they were able to pull it off. We have a slight hill in our backyard as well, so we'll try performing the "sit pretty" on there. Thanks for the idea!!

  9. Thanks for the guide! Rachael and I were just talking last night about how we would like to teach Charlie more tricks and I think we will start here!

    Rocco balancing on that donut is VERY impressive!

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