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Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know

Learning the basic commands every dog should know is essential for every dog and their owner. In this blog post, we provide you with a list of basic commands every dog should know. We also give you some tips and tricks on how to teach your dog these commands.


To start with, read this blog post and follow the steps provided. Introduce your dog to the command, and practice with him until he obeys the command. Once your dog is familiar with the command, you can gradually increase the difficulty level and add some variations. With consistent training, your dog will learn the command in no time.



dog command, "sit"

SIT- When you give the command, your dog should sit with his butt on the ground. Begin with a treat or hand signal from the nose up. If your dog struggles, remember to say the command only once with a signal. You can reinforce the command by touching your dog's butt until it touches the ground. If your dog is on a leash, and has basic understanding of the sit command you can also reinforce a sit by slowly increasing the pressure of the leash until he sits. However, this does not work if the leash is attached to a harness.



DOWN- When you give the command, your dog should lie down with his head on the ground. Begin with a hand signal from the nose to the ground. If your dog struggles, use light pressure on his back until he lies down. You can also use downward pressure with the leash, but is suggest doing this after they have the basic understanding of the position. Once your dog is good with this, practice just pointing towards the ground, so you do not have to bend down with the signal. To provide the signal, you can also use your foot if needed. The next step is getting them so confident in the command they they respond with just the verbal command, no hand signal.


dog command, "down"

BREAK/OKAY/FREE/RELEASE- This command has an implied stay to it. For instance, if you put your dog in a down position, he should stay in that position until you say "break". This means that your canine did a great job and can now be released. Say "break" in a happy tone, and you can often reward your dog into a form of playtime.


COME- Recalling a dog can be a tricky task, especially if your dog is easily distracted. To begin with, always use a longline or leash, as it will help you reinforce the command. If your dog is on a longline and doesn't come when called, you can simply reel them in like a fish. Once they reach you, ask them to sit or lie down to ensure a complete follow-through and then reward them.


If your dog gets too excited and rushes past you, it's recommended to practice recalls with a fence, tree line, or house behind you. Once your dog learns to come straight to you, you can start taking steps forward and create more opportunities for them to pass you.


It's important to avoid using the recall command when you know your dog won't come. This will only teach them to ignore the command. Also, refrain from using the recall command only when it's time to go into the crate or come in from outside, or when playtime is over. Dogs are smart, and if they realize that the only time you say come is when they're losing something, they will not respond to the command.


To create more drive for recalls, you can reward your dog with treats, balls, or a game of fetch. Every time your dog has the ball, say "come" before throwing it. This will help them associate the command with something fun and engaging. As your dog gets better with recalls, you should practice in parks or places with many distractions. For advanced training, you can practice saying "COME" as you throw a toy in the opposite direction to improve impulse control.


LEAVE IT- "Leave it" is a command that requires impulse control. Dogs can be trained to physically move their head or body away from something they're fixated on. You can reinforce the command with a simple pop on the leash or a sound like a clap or stomp. If your dog is extremely fixated on something, you may need to claim it by stepping over the item. If your dog is still being pushy, take a step forward and reward them when they sit and look at you. Once your dog walks away from the item, reward them again.


For advanced "leave it" training, create an obstacle course of desirable things like dirty dishes, hotdogs, socks, etc. Practice doing recalls over the "leave it" items and say "leave it" with a clap or stomp if they approach the items. Pro dogs should be able to do implied leave-its, where you place objects on the floor that your dog knows not to go for. while being directed to recall. Make sure you don't forget about these implied leave-its and create an opportunity for your dog.


DROP IT- There are three methods to teach your dog to "drop it." The first method is the swapping method. Say "drop it" with a clap or stomp and when they drop it, reward them by giving them something else. This method will almost always work for your dog, however if you don't have two toys to swap with and your playing tug, you should say "drop it" as you bring the toy to your core and lower the toy to reduce the tension that increases the drive of tugging more. If your dog has a dangerous item and refuses to drop it you can reinforce the command by grabbing their collar or on a leash. Slowly increase the pressure on the collar or leash in upward position until your dog drops the item and then reward them with a higher value treat.


STAY- Training your dog to stay and place can be incredibly helpful, but it can be challenging for some dogs. To teach stay, start on a leash and command your dog to stay while you walk around them. If they break the command, ask them to stay again until you can complete a full circle without them moving. Once they can do this, reward them and practice off-leash, gradually increasing the distance over time. If your dog struggles, you can use a hand signal or a back tie to help them learn. Make sure to slowly increase the length of time you're out of sight to help reduce separation anxiety. Keep the stay under 10 minutes, as they may forget what they're supposed to be doing.



dog command, "place"

PLACE- To teach place, command your dog to stay on their bed or cot until you say "break". This helps create an "off switch" for your dog and can be particularly helpful for reactive dogs. Using an elevated dog bed can help create clear boundaries, but any surface will do. If your dog struggles, you can back tie them or use exercise weight bells to help them stay put. Start practicing in different environments with different items to improve their impulse control.


WAIT- This command is used to improve your dog's food impulse control. It's similar to the "stay" command, but with "wait," your furry friend should wait until you release them. You can practice this by placing their food down and making them wait for it. This helps you establish a leadership role by claiming the food until they are allowed to have it. "Wait" should also be used at thresholds to ensure their safety before walking in or out of any doors. Once your dog is good with waiting at doors, you can practice implied waits by leaving the door open (with them on a longline just in case). You can even practice walking to the mailbox or car with the door open, making sure your pup stays within the threshold.


OFF- This command is used to stop your dog from jumping on humans, counters, or furniture. Simply point down and say "no off," but then make sure they sit. Avoid repeating "off, off, off" while pushing them away or even backing away. Say it once and then tell them what you do want, so you can reward them.


NAME/ LOOK AT ME/WATCH- When you say your dog's name, they should look at you. This command is useful to increase engagement.



dog command, "heel"

CLOSE/WITH ME/HEEL- It is important to teach the position of "close" first off leash, then on leash. Start in a hallway. If your dog is Infront of you, lurer your dog with a U shaped lurer to where they come behind you and turn into the position where they are right next to you and reward. Do several reps of them simply getting into position before you practice walking with them as they stay in the position.

If your dog is lagging behind you, simply pat your thigh to encourage them to get closure. When out on walks if your dog's back legs are passing your or if they are pulling away from you. Say "close". You can then re-lurer them back into position, do a quick turn and reward when they are back in position. You may also give a light leash pop to reinforce the "close" command, however if none of these are effective you should simply stop. You must teach your dog that pulling never allows them to go forward if they are in the "close" command.


BACK UP/BUBBLE/AWAY- This command is used when your dog is crowding your space. Practice by saying the command, pointing, and taking a step until your dog fully turns around and walks away. Its best to practice this in a hallway at first.


TOUCH- This command is used to make your dog touch their nose to your hand. I use "Touch" as my kryptonite command which means they will ALWAYS receive a treat for nose booping my hand. "Touch" can be a great redirection cue that can aid in confidence building as they find it be a fun trick that is heavily rewarded. It is a great way to reinforce safety command if your dog is not listening or even bolting, if conditioned properly your dog should whip back to you with enthusiasm to nose boop your hand! It's also helpful for loose leash walking, as a simple "touch" command can get them back to you.


Remember, training a dog can be challenging, so don't get discouraged if you feel overwhelmed. These basic commands are a great starting point to help you train your furry friend. If you need help, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our goal is to help you and your pup succeed.

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