Learning Basic Dog Commands

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Understanding dog commands are essential for a well-behaved pet. In this article, I’m going to discuss 5 basic commands that your dog should know for safety and behavior reasons.

 As I mentioned in my Dog Training Tips post, you need to know a few things before getting started. First of all, you will need to patient. Never hit or yell at your dog, no matter what. When you give your dog a treat for doing well, it imprints in your pet’s mind that it did a good job, and it will try and do that more often. If you hit your dog, it will start to think that it is being punished for failing the command. As a result, it will be less likely to go through with the command because it thinks it will fail and be punished! Physical and mental abuse benefits absolutely no one.

 Secondly, you will want to teach your pet these commands in a non-stressful, and quiet place. This generally means that you will be inside when teaching these commands. It is essential that you stay consistent, and not put too much pressure on your pet. It’s going to take quite a few times, but you will definitely get there! Also, as you probably have assumed, you will need quite a few treats.

The 5 Commands

 The “Sit” Command

I like to begin with this one because it’s pretty simple.

  1. Sit down in front of your pet, or lie on your knees. Bring out a treat, and put it near the dog’s nose. It will probably start to sit down. If not, gently press on its back so that it goes into the seated position. Be sure to encourage your pet.
  2. When your dog is getting into the seated position, say “Sit”. Once your dog is in the seated position, give it a treat. Repeat this 2-3 times more, and do this every day.


The “Stay” Command

After your dog knows the “Sit” Command, move onto the “Stay” Command.

  1. Tell your dog to sit.
  2. Open the palm of your hand and say “stay”. As you do this, move several feet away. If the dog stays, give him a treat and encouragement!
  3. If your dog doesn’t, repeat steps 1 and 2.

This exercise can be difficult because most dogs will want to follow. I recommend rewarding your pet even if it stays for just a few seconds at first.


The “Down” Command

For having your pet lie down.

  1. Sitting down next to your pet, put one of your hands on its shoulders, and another hand underneath its front legs.
  2. Say the word “Down”. Press down gently on its shoulders, and use your other hand underneath to move its legs so that it will go down into a lying position.
  3. Once it is lying down, give him a treat and encouragement.
  4. After doing this several times, start by having one hand on your dog’s shoulders, and another hand with a treat. Say “down”. Lead it down with the treat while also pressing gently on its shoulders.


The “Come” Command

For having your pet come to you.

  1. Put your dog several feet away from you, and then go into a seated or kneeling position.
  2. Say the word “come” and use a hand gesture. Stay consistent with the hand gesture.
  3. When it gets close, don’t reach out and grab it or do anything else.
  4. Once the dog gets to you, give it a treat and some encouragement!

Some pups might not automatically go to you, so put a leash on them and slowly guide them to you. Once they get to you, give them a treat and encouragement.


The “Leave It” Command

For having a pet ignore something that could be dangerous

  1. Have a treat in both hands
  2. Show him one of the treats in your hand
  3. Say “leave it”
  4. Wait for it to calm down, and then give it the treat from your other hand

This one is particularly useful when going on walks! Dogs can be very curious, so don’t let that get the better of them.

In total, these are 5 commands that you should find to be useful in your daily life. Let us know what other commands you find essential to teach your dog!




Photo by Tim Golder on Unsplash

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