Dog Commands That Every Pet Parent Must to Know.

A well-balanced dog is one that is disciplined and well behaved. However, a dog that is disciplined needs basic training that every pet owner should offer as a form of avoiding behavioral problems that can erupt in the future. This article enlightens about the basic commands that if appropriately applied by the pet parent can make both lives easier and a lot more enjoyable.

Pointers to bear in mind prior to training initiation.

  • Be patient and regularly try to train the pooch.
  • Never push the dog too hard at the start
  • Find a quiet place for command practice to avoid distractions.
  • Have short and simple learning sessions.
  • Conduct regular and consistent training practices.
  • Refrain from punishing the dog.
  • Train the pet in a public place like a garden or balcony and later practice it publicly.
  • Reward the pooch for good and obedient behavior.
  • Teach the dog one command at a time and allow it to master that command before going forward.
  • Make training entertaining and fun.
  • Actively participate in the training and convey the dog as to what he needs to do.

20 basic and Essential Dog Commands

1. “Sit” command

One of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach a dog is “Sit”, hence it’s a good one, to begin with.

Teaching method:

  • Hold a treat close to the fido’s nose.
  • Move the hand up, allowing the dog’s head to follow the treat and this causes it’s bottom to lower.
  • Once the dog attains the sitting position, say “Sit,” and give him the treat and pat it with love.
  • Practice this sequence a few times every day until the dog masters the command.

Note: Practice this command whenever one wants the dog to be calm and seated which include sitting before mealtime, prior to walks etc.

2. “Come” command

This command aids in protecting the dogs from falling into trouble and also helps to bring the dog back to the parent if the pet owner loses grip or one leaves the main door open accidentally.

Teaching method:

  • Leash and collar the dog.
  • Kneel to the dog’s level and say, “Come,” while gently pulling on the leash.
  • When the dog comes to the owner, reward it with affection and a treat.

Post mastering the command practice the command in a safe, enclosed area without a leash.

3. “Down” command

This is one of the more difficult commands in dog obedience training because the position is a submissive posture. One can help by keeping the training positive and relaxed, particularly with dogs that are fearful or anxious.

Teaching method:

  • Hold a treat that the pooch likes in the closed fist to the dog’s snout. When it sniffs, move the hand to the floor, so that it follows.
  • To encourage the dog’s body to follow its head slide the hand along the ground in front of it.
  • Once the pooch attains the down position, say “Down,” and give it the treat with loads of affection.

Repeat this command practice daily. If the fido tries to sit up or lunges towards the hand, say “No” and take the hand away. Refrain from pushing it into a down position and encourage every step the dog takes toward the right position.

4. “Stay” command

To train the pet with this command one needs to make sure that it is an expert in the “Sit” command.

Teaching method:

  • Primarily, one needs to ask the dog to “Sit.”
  • Later open the palm of the hand in front of it and say “Stay.”
  • Take a few steps back. Treat it with its favorite snack and affection if it stays.
  • Gradually increase the number of steps one takes before rewarding the treat.
  • Always reward the pup for following the command — even if it’s just for a few seconds.

This is a lesson in self-control for the dog, so one should not be discouraged if it takes a while to master, particularly for puppies and high-energy dogs, as they prefer to be on the move and never want to just sit at a place waiting.

5. “Leave it” command

This command can be taught by keeping a treat in both palms of the hands.

Teaching method:

  • Put one of the hands close to the dog’s face so that it smells and licks it – and give the command “Leave it.”
  • Initially the dogs will lick and smell the treat and possibly bark to have it, but eventually, they will lose interest. That is the moment when one should offer the treat that one is hiding on the other closed hand.

Repeat the exercise it until the dog stops licking the hand for the first goodie as soon as it hears “Leave it” and when it comes for the second treat the trainer or pet parent needs to give the treat and show some affection. This exercise must also be repeated daily until the dog completely understands it.

6. “Watch Me” command

This command is pivotal to get the dog’s attention and is the bridge for teaching it the other commands.

Teaching method:

  • To teach this command one should primarily maintain the eye contact with the dog and hold a treat in the hand.
  • Move the hand from the dog’s nose upwards to the trainers face so that the dog to watches the trainer.
  • Once the dog watches the movement give the command “Watch me”.
  • Repeat this exercise until the dog is adequately trained.

Note: Refrain from using the treat as a distraction when the dog learns the command, only use it as a reward.

7. “Heel” command

Through this command, the dog will be told to walk right beside the walker or pet pal, until you give another command. This is a very useful command, as it teaches the dog to behave with and without a leash.

Teaching method:

  • Hold the dog’s leash in the right hand and pull it on with the left side while you are walking.
  • At a certain point command, the pooch to “Sit.”
  • Hold the treat in the left hand and give the command “Heel” in a positive tone of voice.
  • Always make a few steps, keeping the treat (typically food or toy) by the side. Take a minute break and move the treat upwards this will make the dog to sit – praise the fido with a treat to show it is carrying out the task well.

8. “Off” command

This exercise plays a pivotal role in making the dog get off the home furniture, something or someone.

Teaching method:

  • Keep the treat in both closed hands and put one of the closed hands close to the dog’s face so that it can smell and lick it.
  • As the dog will not be able to get hold of the treat it will eventually back off. At this time, open the hand and offer the treat to it and give the command “Off.”
  • Repeat the training until the dog masters at it.

9. “Take it” & “Drop it” command

This command adds in training the pet from giving the trainer or the pet parent things or objects that are grabbed by it.

Teaching method:

  • Place the fidos favorite object or toy in one hand. This provokes the dog to follow the object to grab it.
  • The moment the pooch opens the mouth to catch the object post struggling, one must give the command “Take it”- so the dog makes a links the right task with a reward.
  • As the fido enjoys playing with its favorite object, offer it another object that is like the one the dog is playing with. * This will be provoked the four-legged canine to drop the first object and grab the second identical object as it is its favorite object.
  • The moment it drops the first object, one should give the command “Drop it” and as it opens the mouth to grab the second object one should give the command “Take it.”

This exercise needs to be practiced daily until the canine masters it.

10. “Out” command

This command to train the dog to drop out things that it should not grab.

Teaching method:

  • Let the pooch to grab one of its favorite toys in its mouth.
  • Later grab the toy against the body of the one who is training the canine. Initially, the pooch will insist on keeping the toy in his mouth, but as one will keep pulling it towards themselves, it will release the toy eventually.
  • This is the moment where one must offer the toy back to the dog and restart the same game again till the dog loses the interest to hold the toy anymore. At this point give the command “Out.”
  • For the canine to properly master this command, the trainer needs to repeat regularly until the pooch not only understands the purpose of the training but also remembers the lesson correctly.

11. “Wait” command

This command is very useful as it clearly indicates the dog not to run away in public places as it can put its life in danger.

Teaching method:

  • Walk the dog towards the door and command it to “Sit” in front of the closed door.
  • Then, point the fingers upwards, presenting the palm of the hand and command to “Wait.” As he waits, one needs to open the door gradually, and when the dog tends to move towards the door, close it.  This is a sign to the dog that it needs to wait until it is commanded to come.
  • Repeat this several times, daily, until the dog masters the command. A dog is said to have mastered the command once it does not make a move to barge out of the door even when it is completely open without the command of the trainer.
  • When one wants to let the dog free to walk, one needs to say “Okay,” “Yes” or “Brake” and reward the dog with a treat – as a sign that one agrees for him to walk.

12. “Place, Bed, or Crate” command

This command will help a pet parent to position their dog when one wants the dog to take a nap or when one has people or kids around it so that no destruction is done by the dog.

Teaching method:

One can teach the command by having the dog leashed. The trainer needs to hold the leash in one hand and a treat in the other hand. Guiding the dog with a leash and with the treat that one is holding in the other hand provokes it to move towards the indicated or intended place (like a bed, crate, carpet or blanket) and the moment the dog gets inside the desired place one must command “Place” and give it the treat.

Repeat this exercise a few times until the dog grasps the command properly. To release the canine from the place, just grab it through the leash and say “Okay” or “Brake.” Instead of the term “Place,” one can use the term such as “Your bed,” “Your crate,” “Your blanket” when the pooch is trained for this command.

13. “Stand” command

This command plays a critical role during the canine’s vet visits want or when one wants to brush the dog and in many other cases where the standing position of the pooch is necessary.

Teaching method:

  • Primarily make the dog to “Sit” and then grab a treat in the hand and put it close to the dog’s nose forward and down.
  • When the dog follows the treat lower and one must move the hand with a treat on it forward so that the dog stands in a standing position as it follows the treat with its mouth.
  • At this moment one should give the command “Stand” and offer it the treat as a reward to indicate that the dog that it is doing the right thing.
  • This exercise needs to be repeated several times until the dog properly learns it.

14. “No” command

This command is very important to stop the dog from doing an unacceptable behavior at home, street, or elsewhere and bring it back to the owner immediately.

Teaching method:

  • Place a treat on the ground and walk the leashed dog towards the treat.
  • The moment the dog gets provoked by the treat and tries to grab it, one needs to utter the command “No” and pull the dog slightly through the leash against them.
  • As the pooch approaches the treat and watches the trainer – give the treat that one is holding in the off-leash hand and say “Yes”- with some affection.
  • Repeat the same command regularly until the dog masters it.

15. “Settle down” command

This command helps in calming and relaxing the dog and getting it to settle in a specific place. This command training is especially helpful to control a hyperactive dog when one is trying to do work from home, trying to clean, putting a baby to sleep or when one is trying to have a conversation with a visitor.

Teaching method:

  • Hold a clicker in one hand and a treat on the other hand. Pull or use the clicker to guide the dog to go into the crate, blanket, small carpet or basket that is placed a few feet away from where one stands.
  • As soon as the dogs get in the desired spot give the command “Settle down” and offer it a treat inside that place as a reward for following the command properly.
  • Release the fido with an “Okay” or “Brake,” to come back to the trainer.
  • Repeat the exercise until the dog gets the exercise correctly.

16. “Speak” and “Quiet” command

This command is critical to control pooches that bark excessively.

Teaching method:

  • Make a dog to bark. Naturally barking dogs bark without any hassle but a quite dogs need much efforts to make it super excited.
  • If the puppy is a natural ‘talker,’ one can take this advantage of training the command “Speak.”  When the pup begins to bark, for whatever reason, one needs to command “Speak!”. If it barks again, encourage it to do it again. Try to time the command of “Speak” to occur just before it barks and then offer a treat and reinforce with an encouragement.  This is the easy and best way to teach this command, and on regular training, the pup will understand and perform the command “Speak” on command. Look for opportunities when one will know that the puppy will begin to bark (for example when someone comes to the door) and ask it to “Speak” just before it would start anyway.
  • If one has a puppy that is quiet by nature and not a big talker.
  • Then one will need to build some excitement (and maybe a bit of frustration) to get it to speak. One way to accomplish this is discussed below.  Use a favorite toy to entice the puppy to “Speak.” Ask it to sit and begin playing with the toy. Keep the energy up and be excited. Encourage it to speak, but do not let it have the toy unless a sound of some sort issues forth. At first, encourage any sound from it and command to “Speak!”. Reward (with a treat) for any sound it makes to give it the idea that sound is what one is looking for.
  • Once the puppy is speaking on command, one can begin teaching “Quiet.” When the puppy is ready and willing, ask him to “Speak,” with kind encouragement. Post its first bark ask for another “Speak.” As it is speaking, utter the command “Quiet!”. Say this slightly louder and in a firmer tone of voice, to seek its attention. As soon as it becomes silent, reward it with a treat and shower love.
  • * Repeat this exercise still the puppy masters the command.

17. “Fix It” command

Plays a critical role in helping fix tangled leg in the leash.

Teaching method:

  • Make the pup to sit by using the “sit” command.
  • Place the leash behind the puppy’s front or back leg (only one leg at a time) down by the paw.
  • Gently and steadily pull the leash with both hands. Pull with one hand on each side of the leg, directly towards the trainer (not up) while giving the command, “Fix It.”
  • When the leash slips from under her paw or the pup raises the leg to release the leash, praise and give the puppy a treat.
  • Repeat the workout still the puppy masters it other positions like the trainer standing and the dog sitting and while walking too.

18. “Shake” command

This command helps the pup to socialize with its doggy as well as human counterparts.

Teaching method:

  • Make the dog sit and once it sits reward it with a treat.
  • With its attention on the trainer and say “Shake,” then reach out and pick its paw up gently.
  • Repeat the command “Shake,” and hold its paw for a second or two.
  • Release the fidos paw, praise and give it a treat.
  • Repeat the training till it masters the command.

19. Calling the dog’s name

When one calls the dog’s name, one indicates or tells the dog to pay attention.  It doesn’t tell the dog to come to the trainer, to sit, or to perform any additional task other than to recognize that it is been called by a name and it needs to focus or pay attention.

Teaching method:

Call the dog’s name, and as soon as the puppy looks at the trainer, reward it with a treat. practice this workout until the dog is familiar with its name. When one intends to talk about their puppy to friends or are referring to the puppy but don’t want it to do anything specific, make use of a nickname. As the puppy is seen to inappropriately respond to its name or the importance its name is lost, and it is seen to merely become an irrelevant “noise” to the pet.

Note: Always use the pup’s name in a positive sense. Don’t use their name to scold.

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20.“My Lap” command

This command will enable the dog to position itself in the lap for a good hug without one having to move from the chair. If the canine fetches things for an individual on command, it will be able to deliver the goods – literally – right into the lap.

Teaching method:

  • Place the canine on a leash and have treats handy. The trainer needs to sit comfortably and relaxed on a sturdy and not-easily-movable piece of furniture.
  • Grab the dog’s attention with the ” watch me” command.
  • With the treat in the hand, give the command “My Lap!” and encourage the canine to place his two front feet onto one’s lap.
  • Once it puts his feet onto the lap, reward it with a treat or two (or three!) so it gets a feeling that its done right.
  • When the dog needs to leave the lap, one can use the “Off” command to get his feet back onto the floor. Try not to push it off. Once it has all four feet back on the floor, reward it with a treat.
  • If by chance the dog hops down before it asked to, simply say “No” and redirect its attention back to you, by repeating “My Lap” and encouraging and luring it up as before. Then use treats and gentle pet it and command to “Stay” to keep him on the lap until one decides it to get off.
  • Repeat the exercise till it masters it.

Final thoughts

Don’t rush up the training process as it is not right to over demand the dog. If one takes it up a notch and sees the canine really struggling, it is recommended to return to the previous stage.

These simple commands can help keep the dog safer and aids in better communication with the pet parent. It’s well worth the investment of the owner’s time and effort. One needs to bear in mind that the process is tedious, so only start a dog obedience training session if one is in the right mindset to practice calm-assertive energy and patience.


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Yeshwanthi Kamalraj
Yeshwanthi Kamalraj is a freelance copy editor, Pet sitter, and content writer who mainly focuses on scientific journals and health-related web pages. Before becoming a freelance content writer Yeshwanthi worked for Cenveo publishers as document analyst for various science journals published by Taylor and Francis Journals and later continued as a freelance copyeditor for the same publishers. Post marriage in 2009 Yeshwanthi developed a keen interest in pets after her husband and she brought a labrador puppy home. This interest helped her to explore a new niche of the pet sitting world whose journey is still on. Yeshwanthi is a dog lover who in her freetime enjoys listening to music, cooking, and meeting new people.


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