Once you’ve finished basic training with your dog, starting with house training and the sit, stay and come commands, socializing with other dogs, animals and people, and walking nicely on the leash, you can move onto tricks. Intelligent dogs may appreciate the mental stimulation involved in learning something new, and trick training forms another way for you to interact with your pet. The “begging” position -- sitting on the hind legs with the front paws up -- isn’t a position that most dogs do naturally, at least not very often, but it’s not difficult to teach.
Ask your dog to sit. If he hasn't learned the "sit" command yet, he's not ready to start learning tricks, so go back to basic training.
Stand in front of him and hold a small treat a few inches above his nose. Say “beg”, “up” or another short, clear command that you’ve never used before. Many dogs will assume the "begging" position when a treat is held like this, but if he jumps at you, return him to the sitting position and try again until he's balanced.
Release the treat when your dog sits up on his haunches, but not before. Praise him and repeat a few times, remember to say the command each time.
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- Only teach your dog one trick at a time, to avoid confusion. It might take several sessions before he learns to sit up every time you say “beg.” Wait until he’s got the hang of this trick before moving onto the next.
- Teaching your dog the begging position as a trick is not the same, obviously, as allowing him to beg at the table. Don’t feed him scraps from your meal while you’re eating, which would encourage a habit liable to annoy guests, not to mention interfering with his balanced diet.
- If your dog has anything wrong with his hind legs, for example hip problems, do not teach him this or similar positions. The begging position puts extra strain on his haunches and should be avoided, even for brief periods.
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