We teach our children important, basic commands to keep them safe and stop them from running out in front of a car or putting something dangerous in their mouth. For the same reasons, dogs should also be taught certain commands. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, there are certain basic dog commands that every dog should know.

To ensure your dog is a good citizen and to keep him out of dangerous situations, there are some essential dog commands that he should know. Each of these dog commands performs a specific function and will help with your pet’s daily routine. Whether you take your dog to the park, to the vet or for a simple walk, dangers can occur. Also, no dog is smart enough to realize every single danger he can get himself into. There are automobiles, open wells, bikes, chocolate and candy wrapper choking hazards and he can get trapped in places where he cannot get out. For these reasons, it is extremely important that every dog learns to understand and obey certain basic commands. Here are some of the most important dog commands your pup should know.

The important basics

  • Sit is an easy command every dog should know. Many dogs get really excited when they hear the doorbell, when they see it’s dinner time or when they’re getting ready to go for a walk. When you teach your pet to sit, you can tame the over-excitement and, without interruption, answer the door or prepare the meal. The “Sit”command is also useful when you have a large dog and you don’t want him to jump all over you, or someone else. Teaching your dog to sit helps you to keep a sense of order and it keeps your dog from jumping excitedly and uncontrollably around. Time required for “Sit”: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day.
  • Stay or Wait can stop your dog from running in front of a car or grabbing something he shouldn’t grab. For some dogs “Stay” is hard to do if they see something they really want, like a cat or a bird. However, it’s an essential command every puppy and dog should know as the “Stay”command can prevent your dog from getting involved in dangerous situations. Additionally, teaching your dog to stay or wait lets him know that he has to stand still and stay calm for a short time until you are finished with household chores, entertaining guests, or other tasks. Time required for “Stay”: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day.
  • Drop it is quite a useful command if you see your favorite shoes sticking out of your dog’s mouth. Training your dog to “drop it” means teaching your dog to let go of whatever is in his mouth. This command can protect your dog from eating something dangerous, plus it keeps him from chewing up your possessions. The “Drop it”command also makes it easier for you to play with your dog. If he catches a Frisbee but won’t release it, simply tell him to “Drop it.” Time required for “Drop it”: 5 – 10 minutes a day.
  • Come means that your dog should stop what he’s doing and return to you. “Come” is probably one of the most important commands as it can protect your dog from being injured. The “Come”-command helps you control situations much easier, whether your dog is in danger or if he is the one causing danger to others. Time required for “Come”: 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per day.
  • No tells your dog to stop doing what he’s doing. The “No” command should mainly be used to stop unwanted behavior like chewing, jumping or biting. Time Required for “No”: 3-5 minutes, 2-3 times per day.
  • Lie Down is quite similar to “Sit” and has, in general, the same purpose. By teaching your dog to lie down on command, you have a tool to manage a number of common behavior problems, like jumping around frantically. Additionally, “Lie Down” can serve as a stepping stone to further commands and training. Before you can train a dog to roll over or go to his place, he needs to know how to lie down. Time required for “Lie Down”: 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day.

How to teach basic dog commands

Teaching your dog different dog commands can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. Daily training gives him or her an easier and less stressful life, plus it can strengthen your relationship. The best time to start training your new puppy, or adult dog, is as soon as you bring it home. The younger dogs are, the easier it is to teach them and the faster they learn. If you want your pup to learn the commands quickly and to get the most out of the training, follow these basic rules:

  • Keep training sessions short. It’s better to do a few five-minute sessions than one half-hour session each day – young puppies often lose concentration easily.
  • Only train when you are in a good mood. If you have had a bad day you may take your stress out on your pet.
  • Always end training sessions on a positive note with an exercise you know your dog can do easily.  Finishing with success keeps your pet (and you) motivated!
  • At first, train with no distractions. Teach a command in a quiet environment and only add distractions later when your dog masters the command. This way your dog learns to respond in different environments.


Train your dog basic commands: A Best Practice Guide

This being said, we summarized some best practices on how to teach your dog basic commands:

Train your dog by playing games

Not only for doggie tricks, playing games is also very useful for dog training in general. Don’t overburden your dog though. An exhausted dog is not able to learn fast and will lose interest very soon. Playful learning works best with small rewards, such as hugging your dog or giving him a little snack.

Own the basic commands

While you don’t need a basic command for every trick, it’s still advisable that your dog knows all the basic commands. Many tricks are based on various basic commands, so this is helpful for sure. Moreover, these are the easiest ones to learn, so they are always a good dog training idea.

Choose the right difficulty level

When trying to choose the next tricks for your puppy, think of your dog’s capacities. If your dog just learned the “sit” command, don’t already try some very complicated tricks. Chances are that he will be overburden and lose interest. Take your dog step-by-step to a more difficult level.

Go for short sessions

Go for rather shorter training sessions, because dogs get easily mentally exhausted. Moreover, some tricks also exhaust your dog physically, so your puppy may get very tired soon. A rule of thumb: practice 15 min for a trick and then wait a few hours until you try a new one.

Many repetitions, small steps

Do you want to teach your dog a trick? Repeat it as often as possible. Teach the trick in small steps and be creative with the spots chosen for your training.

Praise all the little achievements

Did your dog get it right? Always praise his courage and achievement! Every little step can be praised, as most dogs react very positively to appreciation.

Difficulty level 1: Cross paws

You’ve read the best tips and tricks and now you’re all ready to start! Here’s an example of how to teach your dog the trick named “Criss Cross” or “Good Lady”. Follow these 3 easy steps for a successful “Cross Paw” trick:

  1. Your dog sits down and you request from him a paw. Place a toy or a piece of paper on the opposite side of the required paw.
  2. Practice long enough, until your dog understands which paw he needs to give out.
  3. As soon as your dog crossed his paws by doing this exercise, praise him and reward him with a little snack.
  4. Now you’re all set! Don’t forget to have fun while teaching your dog the basic commands!

Like what you’ve read? Share it with your dog-loving friends!