Every dog needs to know specific commands to behave well and remain safe. Keep reading to learn more about the basic dog commands you can teach your pup at home.
Before You Begin Training
One important thing to note is that training can only be successful if you have your ducks in a row. Then, your dog will follow your lead. So, here are a few things you’ll need to do before every training session.
First, ensure you have a quiet area and enough space for your and your pup to work together. If your doggo is beginning to learn or their young, then you’ll want a distraction-free environment. Once they know the commands well, you can practice them with distractions.
Next, research how to train your dog correctly. There are methods how to teach your dog certain tricks and commands. It’ll be easier to know them to simplify training for both of you.
When you’re ready to start a training session, you’ll need to bring a few things:
- An incentive for your dog (treats or their favorite toy)
- A positive attitude
Every dog is different. They have varying personalities, and breeds have different temperaments. Therefore, training one dog might be easier than training another.
So, you’ll need to have a lot of patience. Your pup may be interested in training one day, and then they’re not the next. On the other hand, they might pick up on a certain command quickly but take time to learn the next one.
Be consistent. If your dog isn’t picking up command, that’s okay. Keep working at it. Don’t change your method on how to teach them the command.
In addition to patience, you’ll need to have a fun attitude. Remain positive and make training fun for your pup. Turn training into a game, and your furry friend will be more responsive, especially as a puppy.
Training is important to teach your dog how to behave and be safe. However, it’s also a bonding experience for the two of you. So, make it fun and enjoy the time together.
Basic Dog Commands To Teach Your Furry Friend
Here’s a brief list of ten commands that every dog should know. These commands are essential life skills for your doggo and should be the first commands you teach your pup.
If you have a puppy, they’ll need time to learn when you’re addressing them. Thus, they need to learn their name. If you rescue an older dog and change its name (or give them a nickname), then it’ll need to get used to that as well.
This command is one of the most important for your pup to know. It’s easy to teach, and your doggo should catch on relatively quickly. Once they know, it’ll be easy for them to transition to other commands (such as “stay or “down”).
Down (Lay Down)
When teaching a dog down or lay down, you’re teaching them to lay on their belly. You still have their attention, but it subdues them more than when they’re just sitting. It helps them remain calm, and you can teach them to roll over from there if you choose.
This command is one of the most important ones for your dog to know. This one will keep them out of danger. For example, if they’re in the yard and see something they want to chase or off-leash somewhere, a simple “stay” should stop them.
Recall is needed for any dog, especially if you take them off-leash. Your dog should always know how far away they are from you. They should also respond immediately when you tell them to return to you.
This command is a form of leash training. Heel has your dog walking side-by-side with you at your heel. It discourages pulling on the leash and encourages your dog to stick close to you, especially in crowded areas.
Look (Watch Me)
In addition to heel, teaching your doggo this one is great. If another dog is being reactive on their leash while you’re walking, then this command will have your dog focus on you and nothing else.
If your dog gets overly excited and jumps on people when they walk through the door, then knowing “off” is ideal. You might even put their paws on the counter to see what you’re cooking for dinner. A simple “off” places boundaries for your pup to stay in their space.
No (Leave It)
This command is great for your doggo to know if they’re getting into trouble. This command is great for your doggo to know if they’re getting into trouble. Tell them “no” or “leave it.” They should walk away and focus on something else.
Your puppy has gotten a hold of your shoe and is eager to chew it to bits. Knowing “drop it” is an ideal command when they have something they shouldn’t. This may be tough to learn, but they’ll drop the item at the command over time.
Barking is the way dogs communicate with us. Yes, they use body language, but barking is how they get our attention. While you don’t want to silence your dog completely, sometimes they bark at inappropriate times. For example, if you’re on the phone or have an important remote meeting for work, “quiet” is a good command in your back pocket.
Crates should never be used as a punishment. However, crate training is important to give your pup a safe space when there’s too much company at the house, and they need to retreat. Also, if you’ll be out for a while and can’t trust your puppy home alone yet, a crate will keep them safe.
Bathroom (Go Pee)
This command is handy if you still have a potty-training puppy. Whenever you bring them outside to the yard, say, “go the bathroom” or “go pee” or whichever words you want to use to associate potty training with. If you want to teach them to go to a specific area in the yard, bring them to that spot and then say the magic words.
Dogs can learn a lot more, though. So, here are some other commands you can teach your furry friend.
If you need to get your dog’s attention, whether for a training session or something else, teaching them “attention” is the way to do it. However, saying their name should also have this effect, but having another word for it can be useful.
This command will also help get your dog’s attention or focus. For example, you can teach them to touch a certain item or you if you need them to stay still or be in a certain spot. It’ll also teach them to be gentle with their paws.
Sometimes our dogs get so overwhelmed with excitement that they can’t contain themselves. A simple “settle” can teach them to calm down. Of course, this command won’t fix their energy levels quickly, but it’ll let them know when and where to be calm.
Take It (Hold It)
Another useful command is to give your dog something to hold. They can bring it to someone else in another room or help you carry things if needed.
As mentioned before, barking is a communication method for dogs. Sometimes, they have to let it out. You can teach them to speak on command so they can let it all out if needed.
Other Words Your Pup Should Know
Your doggo will learn other words over time. However, if you want them to associate these words with certain things, then be sure to say them. For example, they should know the following:
- Drink (or Water)
- Eat (or Dinner)
Finally, you can teach your pup fun tricks to show off to family and friends. These tricks might include:
- Roll over
- Play dead
- Shake paw (or high five)
FAQs About Basic Dog Commands
Do you still have questions about basic dog commands? Then read through the frequently asked questions answered below.
When Should Training Begin?
Training should begin as soon as possible. Puppies as young as eight weeks old can learn “sit” and their name. However, some commands might better suit puppies six months or older. If you adopted an older dog, give them a few days to adjust to their new home. Then, begin training with them. Old dogs can learn new tricks.
How Long Should Training Sessions Be?
This answer will depend on your dog. Ideally, you don’t want to have sessions any longer than 15 to 20 minutes, though you can have multiple sessions daily. Training is excellent mental stimulation for them, so if you have a high-energy dog, it may be able to handle more training.
What Incentives Do You Need For Training?
Training should be a fun and positive experience for you and your pup. Your gentle and fun tone may be rewarding enough. However, positive reinforcement goes a long way with most doggos. Have treats and their favorite toy on hand. You can also reward them with games and playtime.
Which Commands Should You Begin With?
Life skills are the most important, to begin with. For example, commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel,” and their name are ideal. You can teach them multiple commands at once to give training time a variety or wait until they master one command before moving on. It’ll depend on your pup’s personality and how eager they are to learn.
Should My Dog And I Take Training Classes?
Absolutely! Dog training classes or having a private dog trainer visit your house is great. It’ll reinforce what you want to teach your dog, and you’ll learn how to communicate better with your pup.
Basic Dog Commands Are Easier Than You Think
Teaching your old dog new tricks or showing your puppy the ropes is easier than you’d think. Giving them plenty of positive reinforcement and making training fun will be a wonderful bonding experience for both of you.
Rachel Poli is a content writer and author, but her real job is being a stay-at-home pet mom. Her zoo currently consists of a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two fish tanks. She’s also an avid pet sitter for a few local families, caring for various animals.
After realizing how little information there is for pet sitters on the internet, Rachel decided to start her own animal website. She strives to educate pet parents and pet sitters about the overall care of our furry friends.