How would you proceed to obtain a nice "sit pretty" from your dog?

Clicker training is about clicking the right "approximations" at the right moment.

So what would be the sequence of approximations that one should aim at?

I imagine that starting from a sit and using a target (I use a stick with a cat-toy ball) is a good start, then clicking for the two front paws off the ground ?

2 Answers 2


Sit pretty is a very difficult thing for a dog to do and it's great exercise for them, especially if you ask them to alternate between "pretty" and "down."

In order to help the dog, I found it easier to start sitting with legs and feet in a "V" so the dog has something to lean against. Then you can ask for a hand touch (if they know it) and get them used to the idea of being in that position.

Eventually you can start reducing the amount of support and generalize in other areas like a corner and then a flat wall. Once they get the idea you can begin adding a "pretty" cue before they perform the maneuver.

Don't rush things and let your dog guide you as to when they are strong enough. Some dogs can pick it up quick and others need to build up their core a little more.

  • I didn't get the "V" part. You mean his front paws not on the ground?
    – Cedric H.
    May 8, 2015 at 10:06
  • Sorry, I meant for you to be sitting with your feet in a "V," not the dog. Essentially just make your legs some kind of support system for the dog so he doesn't have to hold himself up all by himself. He'll be facing away from you so he can lean back into your legs. Just be sure his rear stays seated and he doesn't hang on to your legs for too long.
    – Jeff
    May 8, 2015 at 11:44

I also found this Youtube video showing a technique to teach "sit pretty" using clicker positive reinforcement. It appears to be a good complement to the other answer.

From the description of the video:

The trick 'Sit Pretty' is one of my favorite exercises to teach dogs. It is not only an adorable trick, but it has many benefits that make it a must to train. Teaching 'Sit Pretty' increases your dog's balance and body awareness. It also builds your dogs core muscles which protect the spine from injury during dog sports or playing fetch. 'Sit Pretty' is a trick for healthy dogs. If your dog has pre-existing injuries, consult a physical therapist to inquire if this trick is safe for your specific dog.

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