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How to Teach a Dog to Beg in 8 Simple Steps

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

Dog sitting on hind legs begging

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A big part of taking care of a dog involves teaching them certain essential skills. But sometimes, it’s fun to teach them not-so-essential skills, like begging.

Teaching a dog to “beg” is a relatively simple trick that looks adorable and will impress your friends. It can also be called “sitting pretty,” as not everyone likes using the word, “beg.”  The choice is yours!

Here, we take you step by step through the training process and what you need to get started.

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Why Teach a Dog to Beg?

Certain training commands have a definite purpose. “Stay,” “come,” and “sit” are essential commands that are designed to keep our dogs safe and to give them boundaries.

But why bother teaching dogs fun tricks like begging? These serve a purpose too! Teaching your dog various tricks can help build the bond between you, and it gives your dog good mental exercise. This is particularly important if your dog tends to become destructive when bored.

Teaching how to “beg” in particular teaches your dog how to engage their core muscles, which gives their backs a good stretch and helps improve their balance.

Before You Get Started

You don’t need much: just you and your dog, a few treats, and a clicker if you use this training method. You should ensure that your dog has gone to the bathroom, has eaten, and seems to be in a receptive mood.

Your dog should know how to sit before you teach them to beg, so go ahead and do that if you haven’t done so yet. Another consideration is what kind of dog you have and whether they are physically capable of performing beg. Dogs that are obese or have an orthopedic condition will have trouble learning how to beg.

Additionally, dogs with long bodies like Dachshunds and Corgis might have problems with this trick. You might want to speak with your vet before you start teaching your dog to beg.

an Australian shepherd paw on a hand with a dog clicker
Image Credit: Melounix, Shutterstock

Setting Up

Some dogs will have no trouble balancing on their hind legs right away, but others might need help. You might need to help them balance as they learn how to beg.

Begging can be considered an extension of the sit command. Since it’s also the first step in teaching begging, it follows naturally once they know how to sit on command.

You’ll need to pick a command word, like “beg” or any other word that you want to use when you want your dog to do this trick.

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The 8 Simple Steps to Teach a Dog to Beg

1. Tell your dog to sit

You need to start with your dog in the sit position. When your dog is sitting in front of you calmly, you can move on to the next step. However, if your dog seems restless and distracted, take them for a walk or find a way to burn off that energy, and try again.

training Australian Cattle Dog
Image Credit: Lara Sh, Shutterstock

2. Introduce the command word

Hold a treat above your dog’s nose, and use your command word. Here, we use: “Beg.”

3. Entice your dog into the position

Your dog will start to reach for the treat, so start to slowly raise the treat straight up over your dog’s head. Keep drawing it up so your dog will need to take their front paws off the floor to follow it.

a Labrador dog getting heart shaped cookie treat
Image Credit: Maya Shustov, Shutterstock

4. Reward and try again

This is when your dog should be in the begging position, and you can now reward them with the treat and praise.

If your dog struggles to get in the begging position, give them the reward even if they only get their front paws off the floor. You don’t want them to lose their balance.

However, if your dog starts jumping or lunging for the treat, you’ll need to withhold the treat and start over. The entire process should be done slowly, without any sudden moves.

5. Increase the difficulty

Practice makes perfect. Keep repeating the first four steps, but raise the treat higher each time. You can use your arm to help your dog balance if it’s needed. Once you have them at the right begging height, say your command word and reward them with a treat and praise.

Jack Russell getting oranges off tree
Image credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

6. Continue without support

You’ll start to notice if your dog is able to balance on their own, so you can slowly start to remove your arm.

7. Make your dog earn the treat

Keep working with your dog, and remember to say “beg” until they start going into the begging position on their own and you then reward and praise them.

dog learning trick
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

8. Take the lure away

Rather than using a treat to entice your dog into the begging position, start to use hand signals. You can use whatever signal you want (like lifting your hand straight up) and follow the same procedure.

Use your hand signal and say the command word, “beg.” Once your dog is in the position, give your dog a treat and praise. Continue practicing it several times a day until you know that your dog has the hang of it.

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Additional Tips

If your dog is making multiple mistakes during the training, particularly if they make the same mistake several times in a row, you’ll want to go back to an earlier step, possibly from the beginning.

Repeat the step that your dog is having trouble with as often as it takes until they do it correctly every time. Then, you can continue with the rest of the steps.

Continue practicing the trick and regularly reinforce the training. It’s quite likely that your dog will forget the training if you let too much time pass between performing the trick.

If your dog never seems comfortable with balancing, speak to your vet in case there’s a physical condition that you might be unaware of.

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You know your dog best. You should know how long your dog might take to learn how to beg, as you likely have already done basic training with your dog by now. Just remember to always use the command word, followed by a treat and praise.

Before you know it, your dog will perform begging on command, and you’ll thoroughly impress anyone watching. Your dog will look adorable and get a good stretch to help strengthen its back and core muscles.

Featured Image Credit: Alexei_tm, Shutterstock

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