The sit pretty is an extension of the sit command. This is another word I interchange between English and my chosen foreign language for Misty. I like her to know both, and then I eventually drop the English version. One of the commands I use the foreign version of turned out to mean lay down for her. Since it worked out so well for her as the lay down command, I use it for that. It doesn’t mean lay down in translation, but that’s what it means to her, so I say go with it!
Anyways, back to the sit pretty. When your dog will sit on command to extend it to the sit pretty:
- Have several small pieces of your dogs favorite treat in your hand. I say several small pieces because it may take several attempts for your dog to perform this trick, and you don’t want to run out of rewards!
- Have your dog sit down facing you. Preferably where there aren’t any distractions like kids running around, or other pets running around.
- Make sure you have your dogs focus by holding a piece of treat in your hand, then holding your hand just above his/her nose, say the command, “Sit pretty.”
- If your dog tries to stand up to get the treat, take your hand away, with the treat still in it, until he/she sits back down.
- Then, again, hold the treat just above his/her nose and repeat, “Sit pretty”.
This may take five, six, maybe seven times, before your dog will stop trying to stand up to get the treat from you. If you hold the treat just above the nose, about 4-5 inches, it will discourage the dog from standing up on his hind legs to get the treat. When it’s so close to his/her nose, if he/she stands up, the treat is now far below them. So, keep it near their nose to encourage them to just raise their front feet off the ground.
Once your dog does raise his front feet off the ground in the sit pretty fashion, it may not be perfect, or even near perfect, but he/she is getting the idea, so make sure he/she gets the treat for trying. After he/she starts trying to raise his/her front feet instead of standing up, repeat the trick a few more times, letting him/her have the treat each time they just raise their front paws off the ground. It may take a couple of sessions for your dog to get the upper body strength, and balance to do a nice sit pretty. As you know, practice makes perfect, so practice often!