dog commands

9 Essential Basic to Advanced Dog Commands You Need to Know

Pet owners make sure to give out unconditional love to their furry companions. However, there are instances that these animals take advantage of these pleasant situations. They sometimes cause problems like running rogue in the park, sneaking food off the counter, picking up dangerous items, attacking other people, or barking loudly nonstop. 

If you are experiencing these scenarios, then you should immerse your dog in obedience training. In this article, The Furry Companion will teach you some dog commands, from basic to advanced, that you can use in training your dog.

Basic Dog Commands

Watch Me Command

watch me dog command
Source: Flickr

Among all the dog commands, the Watch Me command is the first thing you should teach your dog. The reason for that is you need to establish an atmosphere where the dog will not only see you as its owner but also its teacher. Consider this as a bridge for employing other commands as well. 

You can start teaching this command by keeping eye contact with your pet at the start of the session. Do this while holding a great treat in your hand. Once you have formed a bond through eye contact, slowly move your hand (with the treat) from the dog’s nose to your face. Remember to take advantage of the treat, so it will be easy to capture your pet’s attention.

The moment you feel your dog focus and understand the scenario, give the dog command “Watch Me.” Repeat this exercise every day until you reach the point that you won’t have to use the treat for your dog to follow you. 

Sit Command

The sit command is probably one of the most effortless dog commands to employ. Just like the watch me command, this is also a foundation for other training techniques. Follow these directions when coaching your pet. 

  1. Kneel in front of your dog while holding a reward treat. 
  2. Carefully touch the treat to its nose. 
  3. Move your hand upward and instruct your pet to sit. 
  4. Should your canine attempt to bite the treat, use your other hand to guide its backside into a sitting position. 
  5. Say “Sit” as your dog sits down. 
  6. Praise your dog every time it follows and accomplishes the command. 
  7. Repeat this command daily. 

Remember, ask your dog to do this dog command at times that you want it calm and seated. Some scenarios include before mealtimes, preparing to sleep, or when leaving for walks. 

Come Command

Source: Naval Base Guam

This dog command is essential for every owner. It will help keep your pet safe and out of trouble—especially if you accidentally leave your house door open or lose a grip on its leash. 

Begin the training by putting both a leash and collar on your canine. Kneel to its eye level and say the word “Come” while slowly pulling on the leash. If your dog does not budge, do not repeatedly maneuver its strap. Take a break for a while and repeat the steps. Once it follows your orders, reward your pet with both a treat and affection. 

Upon mastering this command with a leash, you may opt to remove it in the next sessions. Use the same steps, but make sure to do it in an enclosed area. 

Name Recognition Command

Source: Pixabay

The name recognition dog command is the best way to call the attention of your dog. You may start by casually saying the name of your dog once in a while. Once your pet is familiar with the word, it is time to start the formal training. Bend down to its level, look at it eye-to-eye, and repeatedly mention your dog’s name. This technique will instill that you are calling its name. 

“Teach your dog to respond to her name by associating it with a click (or a verbal marker such as “Yes!”) and a food reward,” Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA says.

Stay Command

The stay command is perfect for those hyper-energetic dogs who want to play and move all day long. This dog command begins by asking your dog to sit. Then, you can place a treat close to the nose and mention the “Stay” command while carefully making a few steps backward. 

In case your pet waits and stays, give the treat you are holding. If it moves toward you, however, say a stern “No” and take more steps away. This practice will let your dog distinguish its actions as right or wrong. Just like any dog command, make sure to repeat this exercise several times a day. 

“Teaching your dog how to stay is essential for their safety and your peace of mind,” Cathy Madson, MA, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA shares. She adds “Stay is quite useful in lots of different situations, from being able to look both ways before crossing a street while out on a walk, to preventing door dashing when you have guests over.”

Wait Command

The wait command is essential when it comes to instructing your dog not to run away—especially if you are in public spaces. It is an excellent way for them not to put themselves in danger. Listed below is the step-by-step guide on how you can assist your pet in learning this dog command. 

  1. Walk your dog toward the door and give a command to sit down in front of it. 
  2. Point your fingers upward, show the palm of your hand, and say, “Wait.”
  3. Open the door slowly while your dog waits. If it starts moving toward the door, close it instantly. This act shows that it has to stay still until you cross the doorway.
  4. Wait until your dog doesn’t move without your command, even if the door is wide open. Repeatedly practice this several times a day until your pet masters it.
  5. Whenever you want your dog to walk freely, say “Brake,” “Yes,” or “Okay,” as a sign that you don’t want it to wait anymore. 
  6. Do not forget to reward your dog with a treat. 

Advanced Dog Commands

Leave It Command

The leave it command is helpful whenever you want your dog to stay away from dangerous objects. It will give them a sense of self-control and discipline. Follow the directions below to teach this dog command to your pet. 

Phase 1
  1. Place a doggie treat in both your hands. 
  2. Show your dog one closed fist where the treat is inside. 
  3. Once it starts to get and eat that treat, say, “Leave It.” 
  4. If your dog stops, make sure to reward it with the treat from your other hand. If it does not obey and keeps on attacking you, stand up and make your dog sit again. 
Phase 2

Upon mastering stage 1, your dog will then be ready for intermediate training under the “Leave It” Command. 

  1. Just like in phase 1, get two doggie treats. However, make sure that you have a low-value one and a high-value one. 
  2. Put the low-value treat on the floor and cover it with one of your hands. 
  3. After several seconds, ask your pet to “Leave it.”
  4. If your dog ignores the treat and stares at you, remove the low-value treat from the floor. 
  5. Give your pet so affection for obeying and surprise it with the high-value treat. 
  6. If it does not obey and keeps on attacking you, stand up and make it sit again. 
  7. Once your dog has mastered the six steps above under phase 2, practice the same dog command while your pet is standing up. Make sure to follow the same steps above. 

Check out Liz Palika’s book entitled The Ultimate Dog Treat Cookbook: Homemade Goodies for Man’s Best Friend to help you come up with the best doggie treat for your training. 

Down Command

down dog command
Source: U.S. Air Force

The down command is probably one of the most challenging dog commands in obedience training. The reason for this is that it is a submissive posture—something out of the natural personality of dogs. 

Begin the training by looking for a tasty smelling treat. Hold it inside a closed fist while holding your hand in front of the snout of your dog. Once it starts sniffing the treat, slowly move your hand to the floor and make sure your dog follows. If not, return your hands to its original place (the dog’s snout) and make it smell the treat again. 

Then, slide your hand on the ground in front of your dog. This move is to encourage its body to follow the direction of its head. Say “Down” upon reaching the down position. If your dog does not accomplish the command, guide the backside of its body to assist your dog do the stance. Make sure to share affection and give the treat upon succeeding. 

Heel Command

heel dog command
Source: Pixabay

Some owners might be unfamiliar with how the heel command works. It aims to teach your pet to walk beside you instead of going out in the front. Basically, this position means having your dog’s head even with your knee. Many owners try to master this command to teach the dog how to behave appropriately while next to you. This is because there are times that your hands might be a little busy to grip the leash or plainly when your dog is not wearing one. 

 Here is a guide on how you can go about coaching your pet the heel command. 

  1. Place your dog on a leash and a collar. 
  2. Hold the leash on your left hand. 
  3. Ask your dog to be in a sitting position as a starter. 
  4. Choose a squeaky toy that it loves and use your right hand to place it above its head. Use this to get your dog’s attention. 
  5. Take a few steps while keeping the toy by your side. 
  6. Once you take a break, get a treat from your pouch and move it upward. Tell the dog to “Sit.” Do this once again and change the “Sit” command to “Heel.” Doing this ensures that the dog automatically sits upon stopping. 
  7. If your dog just stares at you, walk a few steps again and stop. Move the treat upwards once again and command the dog to sit. Do this five more times before shifting the instructions to “Heel.”
  8. Once it perfects this command, make sure to give it both its toy and a treat. 
  9. Increase the trial times before you give out the reward as the training goes on. 
  10. Practice daily. 

Final Thoughts

Teaching these dog commands to your pet is not an easy task, so do not rush the process. According to Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., “One of the crucial components to a great recall is a strong bond with your dog.” It’s a lot for your dog to take in. Wait for him to adjust to this kind of training, and everything will follow.

If you want to enhance your training capabilities further, you may check out the book entitled Training the Best Dog Ever by Larry Kay for some tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 7 basic dog commands?
The seven basic dog commands that dogs should learn first are Stay, Down, Sit, Heel, Off, Come, and No. Your furry friend should master these basics first since it is a practical skill when around other dogs and other people.

How many dog commands are there?
There are lots of dog commands that your dogs can learn. These commands are essential in getting your desired response from your furry friend. Apart from the seven basic commands listed above, here are the other dog commands to know

  • Bring It
  • Release
  • Spin
  • Beg
  • Shake
  • Roll Over
  • Bow
  • Catch
  • Crawl
  • Hush

How many commands can you teach a dog?
There is no limit to how much commands your dog can learn, but experts advise teaching only one command per session. On training sessions, it is also essential to recall previously taught commands so that they can master it further.

How do I tell my dog no?
To teach your dog proper response to “No,” let your dog respond to other basic commands like Sit or Come. While doing this, lay a distraction on the floor. It can either be a toy or food. If your dog tries to move towards the disturbance, you can then use the command “No.” If they obey you, always give positive reinforcement for good behavior. Keep practicing by giving him more difficult distractions.

What age is best to train a puppy?
You can begin training your puppy at 7 to 8 weeks of age. At this period, they can start learning some of the basic commands like Sit and Stay. Along with these commands, it is also best to potty train your puppy as early as possible. For a smooth training, reward your dogs with treats if he gets the command correctly.

What is the first thing you should train your puppy?
It is essential first to teach your puppy, Capturing. You can do this method by standing in front of the puppy with treats in your hand. Wait until he sits. It will need lots of patience. When he finally sits, say “Yes,” then give the treat.

How do you teach a dog its name?
You can teach your dog his name by frequently calling his name; eventually, he will begin to recognize it. When your dog is looking elsewhere, call his name. When your furry friend turns to look at you, say a word of affirmation like, “Good boy” or “Yes,” then give the treat. Keep repeating this process until he finally learns his name.

Is it okay to scold your dog?
It is not advisable to scold your dogs because of its adverse effects. Scolding your furry friend is inefficient. They don’t talk in human language, so they won’t understand a thing you’re saying. It also induces fear rather than discipline. The scolding habit may be a challenge to break, but it will be helpful to omit it.

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