Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Cute Party Trick: How to Teach Your Dog to Sit-up

Sit-up is the Perfect Beginner's Trick

Teaching tricks to your dog is a wonderful bonding and learning experience. There are many fun things to learn and try in trick training - the sky is the limit! Sit-up is a great party trick because it’s adorable, and it’s a simpler trick to teach, making it perfect for beginners.

Before we get started, there are a few things you’ll need for your training session:

-yummy treats or food (small pieces that are easy to dispense and the dog can eat it quickly)
-your eager canine student
-a patient mindset
-positive attitude

-marker word (such as the word "yes")


Ok, let’s begin! Follow these basic steps to teach sit-up:

  1. Begin with the dog in a sitting position.

sit up 1








2. Place your closed hand with treats in front of the dog's nose and slowly begin moving your hand straight up above the dog's head.

sit up 2










3. Your dog will begin to lift off of its front paws to follow the treat. Immediately give the treat and praise your pup.

sit up 3










4. Do the same thing again, while looking for your pup's paws to come higher off the ground.

sit up 4










5. Repeat the above steps while your dog is learning the position and developing the muscles to maintain the position.

sit up 5










6. Once learned, here is the finished trick

sit up










Eventually you’ll fade out the food by doing the same motion, but without treats in your hand. Do not add a cue word (such as “up”) until your dog is reliably going into position. Then, add the cue while the dog is doing the movement, and work up to adding it before the dog does the behavior. Over time you will be able to add distance to the trick.

Now it's time to practice, practice, practice! Try it at the park, the pet store, in the backyard, around the house and anywhere it’s safe for your dog to perform.


  • If your dog pops up completely onto two feet, you moved the treat up too far, too fast. Try again, but a little slower. If your dog backs up, wait for the dog to sit again and then lift the treat straight up, instead of toward them.
  • If your dog won't concentrate, either try using better treats (like liver, lung, or real chicken), or move to a less distracting environment. For example, if you were training outside, take the training session inside and see if your dog can concentrate and engage there.
  • It is easier to teach this trick if you are standing instead of kneeling or sitting.
  • *Sit-up is a trick that takes time to perfect, mainly because it requires certain muscles to hold the position - especially for an extended period of time. It can take awhile for the core muscles to develop, so don't be surprised if your pup is unable to hold the position in the beginning.
  • Stay positive, don’t give up and give your dog lots of loving support along the way.


Article By: Tiffany Hughes


<< Back