Topics relating to your dog's training and wellbeing.

How To Train Your Dog To Obey Basic Commands

These are the 4 most important basic dog commands for you to teach.

dog commands

Teaching basic dog commands.

It’s important to realize that teaching  basic dog commands isn’t a novelty or luxury, but a necessity. Unruly dogs are hard to control and can actually be dangerous, not because of aggression, but because of accidents they can unwillingly cause.

A dog that doesn’t mind can knock people over, run into traffic or be the victims of aggressive behavior from other dogs or even humans. In order to prevent any negative incidents in your dog’s life, here you can learn how to teach your dog basic commands.

I should mention here that in terms of rewarding your dog while he’s learning I’ve made no mention of treats in the first two basic commands … ‘come’ and ‘down’. In the supporting video I’ve included in this post you’ll find that treats are constantly given as a reward for performance. My recommendation, based on how I’ve trained my dogs, is to try training your dog using just voice and touch. But if you’re not achieving success, by all means use treats.

Your decision on this is entirely up to you. However, if use do use treats, just ensure that your dog does not become dependent on the treats to obey your basic dog commands. Now let’s get to work!

Come Here

Dog Commands 1:  “Come” is THE most important basic dog command for you to teach. This simple word must be obeyed on and off a leash and luckily it is one of the easiest to teach. For a young puppy, squatting down an your haunches while saying “come Brutus” (or whatever the name may be) and whistling or clapping will get his attention and he should immediately come running to you. Pick him up or pet him, telling him what a good, smart dog he is.

For older dogs or strays, you may need to teach them using a leash. Let your dog walk out the length of the leash until it’s taught, squat down and pull the leash towards you and saying “come Spot”, and reward him with attention, just like you would a puppy. Some dogs will fight the leash or try and pull backwards, but with enough tries and lots of positive reinforcement, they will eventually start to come on their own.

When working without a leash for the first time, do it in an enclosed area such as a fenced yard or school playground, just in case your dog tries to make a break for it.


Get Down

Dog Commands 2:  If a dog will jump up on you, they will also jump up on infants and the elderly, which is why it’s important to train them to get down. Down can also be used for “lie down” and to make them get off of furniture. Dogs are intelligent and they’ll understand that this basic command is good for all three instances.

Puppies can be taught this easily by saying “down” in a firm tone, and physically pushing them down or laying them down. A “NO! Down” and a light swat may be needed for those puppies that are easily excited.

Larger dogs that continue to jump may need a little more harsh teaching methods if they continue to jump on people or on furniture. If a grown dog mounts someone’s legs, or jumps up on people, a light kick to their inner thigh will knock them backwards and force them back on all four legs. This shouldn’t be a field goal kick, but it should have enough force to make them land on all fours.

While “come” and “down” are two of the most important basic dog commands for you to teach, they’re not the only necessary commands they need to learn.


Take A Seat

dog commands

Dog Commands: Sit

Dog Commands 3:  Teaching a dog to “sit” goes hand in hand with also teaching a dog to “stay”. Some dogs will come when called and then sit automatically at your feet. If you are lucky enough to have an animal like that, saying “sit” at the same time they are already sitting, is enough for them to associate the word with the action. However, most dogs need a little bit more coaching.

Start with a treat in hand and call your dog over to you. Tell them to “sit”, keep saying “sit” as you gently push their bottom to the floor and they are in a seated position. As soon as their rear touches the floor tell them “sit! Good boy! Sit!” and let them up and give them a treat. As soon as your dog realizes how happy you are over the fact that they can sit, they will do it more willingly.

Do the same exercise for maybe 10 minutes at a time, and act just as excited every time the tail touches the floor. Don’t expect your dog to master the art of sitting in one day, but it shouldn’t take more than a week for him to get the point.



Dog Commands 4:  Once a dog has mastered the art of sitting, the next step is teaching a dog how to “stay”. Have your dog sit, and then tell them to stay, while slowly backing away. Once you have backed up about three feet, tell your dog to come, give them a treat and tell them what a good boy or girl they are.

Slowly increase the distance about three feet at a time until you are able to at least be at opposite ends of a house or yard. If your dog absolutely cannot fathom the idea of you being away from them, you may need the help of another adult to hold the dog in place for the first few training sessions.

After each lesson, play with your dog, even if for only a few minutes. This lets them know that you guys are having fun and even if they don’t succeed the first time, they are still good dogs. Have patience and you’ll soon have your dog willingly obey all four basic dog commands.



If you enjoyed this post, and hopefully found it helpful, please comment and share.

Rusty recommends:   Dr. Dog’s Fast, Easy, Fun Behaviour Solutions

The author, Dr. Dennis Fetko, “Dr. Dog” is a world-renowned animal behaviorist who has appeared on the 20/20 television show, managed the reintroduction of captive-bred Arabian Oryx into the Saudi Arabian National Wildlife Research Center, and made a presentation at the South American Veterinary Congress. 

His ebook, Dr. Dog’s FAST, EASY FUN Behavior Solutions, reveals his proven methods for eliminating barking, jumping, chewing, digging, pulling and his puppy housetraining methods.  For more information CLICK HERE

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