The "Beg" is a very cool dog trick, it's a real crowd-pleaser!
Your ultimate goal is to have your dog rock back onto his/her haunches with front legs tucked into the chest, at your verbal request. This is the classic "Beg" position - very cute indeed.
Building The Beg Dog Trick
When teaching any new behavior (including tricks) we start out by making it very easy for our dogs to follow
. Then slowly but surely we piece the trick together step-by-step until we have the complete trick mastered.
I like to use a target stick, clicker and treats when shaping tricks but you can just as easily use a food lure for the "Beg".
The "beg" or "Sit-Up" dog trick is what I would call an intermediate trick. It's not as simple as a "shake-a-paw" or the "spin" but it's not too difficult either. Especially when you implement the following step-by-step process!
Please note: Not all dogs are suited to this trick. Long back breeds such as Dachshunds or older dogs may struggle doing the "Beg". Don't push it - there's heaps of other cool dog tricks for you to explore.
Beg Dog Trick Step-by-Step
The following steps are how I taught my Shih-Tzu, Macy the "Beg". We practiced with several short 3 minute training sessions
over a two week period to achieve the end result.
It's important to note that these steps are only a guide and that they won't work out exactly the same for you and your dog. All dogs learn differently and at a different pace. To learn the finer points of clicker dog training I recommend this great resource.
I suggest you watch the above video if any of the following steps are unclear to you.
With your dog sitting
in front of you hold the target stick (or food lure) just above your dog's head. Any movement up towards the stick by your dog should be met with a "click and treat"
. This is a very simple first step and shouldn't take your dog long to catch on.
Very similar to Step 1 only now you are requiring your dog to reach up a little higher
to touch the target stick. If you move along in small steps like this it will be very easy for your dog to follow along.
You'll notice in the video that Macy tends to extend her back legs in this step when reaching up for the target stick. This is my fault, I held the stick up too high. Ideally your dog will simply rock back on his/her haunches to touch the stick - but at this point it doesn't matter too much.
Now following on from Step 2 we continue to do the same but now we delay the "click" for a second or two
. This will extend the time your dog is in the Beg position. At this point you'll also want your dog to be getting into a good "Beg" position - better than you have been rewarding in Steps 1 & 2. Only good Begs will be rewarded from now on, we're getting tough!
Your dog should now be getting into a good Beg position and be able to hold it for a few seconds or more. When you reach this point it is time to add your verbal cue word. I use "Beg" but you can use whatever word you choose.
Say your cue word a fraction of a second before presenting the target stick to your dog. Over time and many repetitions this will build an association in your dog's mind between you saying "Beg" and the act of getting into the beg position.
Going well, you're making good progress. Now it's time to reduce our reliance on the target stick
by "fading" it. We do this by taking it in and out quicker (instead of leaving it there for our dogs to touch) and also by gradually shortening the stick until it eventually disappears into your hand. This step can take a while so keep practicing until the target stick is not needed - you can still guide or lure your dog with your hand if need be.
It's time to leave the target stick and any luring behind. We now rely solely on our verbal "Beg" cue word
to signal to our dogs that we would like them to get into the "Beg" or "Sit-Up" position.
That's it, you have the basic "Beg" behavior now, and you have it on verbal cue. All you need to do now is strengthen or "proof" the behavior by:
- Taking you beg trick on the road and perform it in many different locations and with varied distractions present.
- Slowly fade the use of the clicker and treats.
- You can even add your own twist to the trick if you desire by adding the "wave" or "balance a treat" to it. Remember tricks are fun - don't limit yourself, or your dog.
If you're struggling with some of the finer details related to clicker training you can learn it all in this great ebook.
Beg Dog Training Trick - Troubleshooting
All dogs are different so you will probably encounter some different problems when teaching your dog the "Beg". Here's some of the more common issues:
- Many dogs try to stand up on their back legs instead of rocking back on their haunches when learning the Beg dog trick. If this happens to you simply lower the target stick or food lure and also ensure that your dog starts from a sitting position rather than standing on all fours.
- If your dog is struggling to balance in the beg position or continually backs away, you could try your training sessions against a wall or in a corner. Remember that not all dogs are suited to the "Beg".
- If your dog seems confused or doesn't seem to be progressing through the steps quickly enough, don't panic. Keep it simple and fun. Try short, sharp training sessions and only add one new requirement per training session. Go back a step if your dog doesn't seem to be "getting it".
Other Pages You May Be Interested In:
Are you feeding your dog safe dog food?
Dozens of dog health care articles.
Discover clicker dog training for yourself - you won't regret it!
Extensive list of obedience training commands such as sit, stay, come and down.