Are you looking for the best commands to teach your dog? Although having a trained dog isn’t the same as having a balanced dog, teaching your dog basic dog training commands can be helpful when tackling behavior problems despite whether they are existing ones or those that may develop in the future.
So where exactly do you start with teaching your dog commands? While taking a class may be beneficial for you and your pup, there are many dog training commands you can teach your dog right at home. Below, we’ve listed the best list of dog commands you and your pup are guaranteed to enjoy.
Teach Dog to Sit
Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most basic dog commands to teach your pup, thus making it a great one to start with. A dog who knows the “Sit” command will be much calmer and easier to control than dogs who aren’t taught this simple command. Additionally, the “Sit” command prepares your dog for harder commands such as “Stay” and “Come.”
- Stand in front of your puppy holding some of his dog food or treats.
- Wait for him to sit – say “yes” and give him a treat.
- Then step backwards or sideways to encourage him to stand and wait for him to sit.
- Give another treat as soon as they sit.
- After a few repetitions, you can begin saying “sit” right as he begins to sit.
Teach Dog to Come
Another important command for your dog to learn is the word “come.” This command is extremely helpful for those times you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open. Once again, this command is easy to teach and will help keep your dog out of trouble.
- Begin indoors at shorter distances, like 10 or 15 feet. Perhaps your dog is simply lying on their bed on the other side of the room. Make eye contact with your dog and clearly say “come” in a cheerful voice. You can say your dog’s name but always follow their name with “come”. Try patting your legs or clapping your hands for extra encouragement. Continue saying the command until your dog comes all the way to you. As soon as they get to you, give your dog a tasty treat.
- Repeat this process at longer distances. Try going into another room. If that doesn’t work, go back to the same room and practice a couple more times before trying another room again. Repetition is key.
- Think about the things that distract your dog. Try introducing a low-level distraction (i.e. their favorite chew toy) into the environment and practicing the come command. Be sure to reward them when they come all the way to you.
- Once you feel your dog has mastered the come command indoors, it’s time to go outside. You can start in your backyard and then move to a park, practicing at increasing distances and with an increasing amount of distractions.
Teach Dog to Down
Before you begin, make sure you have plenty of delicious training treats to offer your dog. Ideally, the treats should be small, soft, and delicious to your dog. Reserve these treats for training sessions only and use different treats for general rewards.
Set aside five to ten minutes in an area free of distractions.
- Begin by getting your dog’s attention. Show him that you have a treat in your hand.
- Hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose but don't let him get it yet. Next, slowly move the treat towards the ground, letting your dog follow it.
- Repeat this motion until your dog is all the way down. Try pulling the treat away a little bit if your dog isn't following it down with his body.
- Once your dog is fully lying down (meaning his elbows and hocks are on the ground) give your dog the treat followed by petting and praise.
- Once your dog is consistently doing the down motion with the treat, add in the verbal cue. Say the word “down” clearly and firmly while moving the treat to the ground.
- Repeat this until your dog lies down with only the verbal cue and no treat-guiding. Continue to reward with a treat after your dog lies down.
It's best to have short training sessions once or twice a day. Have the sessions in various locations, including both indoor and outdoor areas. Always try to end the sessions on a positive note. If needed, find another cue that your dog knows (like sit) and end with that followed by a treat.
Teach Dog to Stay
This last command is similar to the “Sit” command, the “Stay” cue will help make your dog easier to control. This command can be helpful in a number of situations such as those times you want your dog out of the way as you tend to household chores or when you don’t want your pup overwhelming guests.
Before attempting to teach your dog this command, make sure your dog is an expert at the “Sit” cue. If he hasn’t quite mastered the “Sit” command, take the time to practice it with him before moving on to the “Stay” cue.
- First, ask your dog to “Sit.”
- Then open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say “Stay.”
- Take a few steps back. Reward him with a treat and affection if he stays.
- Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.
- Always reward your pup for staying put — even if it’s just for a few seconds.
This is an exercise in self-control for your dog, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to master, particularly for puppies and high-energy dogs. After all, most dogs prefer to be on the move rather than just sitting and waiting.