6 Basic Dog Commands to Start Teaching Your Puppy

by | May 20, 2020 | Training

There are millions of dogs in the United States with owners that dote on them and love them with all of their might. 

Are you someone that spoils their dog with the best-of-the-best products, but wish they were a little better at listening to you? 

Some simple commands can help your dog be a well-behaved gentleman in public and at home. 

To learn 6 of the basic dog commands to teach your dog today, keep reading! 

1. Sit

This is a great beginner dog command because it is easy to teach.

To teach a dog to sit, you should start by holding a treat near your dog’s nose. Move the treat hand up and as you do this, his head should follow the treat and his bottom should lower to the ground. 

After he is in the sitting position, you can say, “sit” and offer praise and the treat.

Repeat this over and over for a few days until your dog has become an expert. You can ask your dog to sit when you need him to stay calm, such as before a walk or during your dinnertime. 

2. Come

This command is important for a dog to learn because it helps them to stay safe and out of trouble. Come is the command that brings the dog back to you if you’re separated, you lose control of the leash, or you forgot you left the gate open. 

To teach this command, put a leash and collar on your pup indoors. Get down to his level and say “come” while you gently pull the leash in your direction. Once the dog gets all the way to you, you will give him his praise and a treat.

Repeat this several times and then try it again without the leash. Be sure to always practice this command in an enclosed area until your dog gets it down pat. 

3. Down (Lay Down)

This is another practical command that is great for any dog to know.

It may be more difficult to teach for some dogs because the position they end up in is a submissive position. You should always keep your training very positive and stay relaxed around your dog to avoid anxiety or fear.

When your dog is sitting and you’ve got a treat, move your treat hand from your dog’s nose to their chest and down to the floor. 

Your dog should follow the treat and end up in a down position on the floor. Praise and treat your dog immediately. 

Once your dog gets this down, you can practice by adding the word “down” and, eventually, you’ll be able to take away the treat and just say the command.

As your dog is lying down, you may want to give him extra treats to make sure he knows he is supposed to stay on the ground and not get up right away. 

4. Stay 

Stay is an important command that helps you ensure your dog will stay in a safe place when you’re unable to bring him with you or want him to be out of the way.

It is not a good idea to use this command in public spaces when you are not going to be able to keep the dog in an enclosed space, especially when he is still new to the command.

Start with your pup in the “down” position and say, “stay” in a firm voice with your palm facing the dog in a “stop” motion. 

Wait for a couple of seconds and then reward your dog for staying there. Practice this over and over until the dog is associating the action of staying in the same spot with the praise.

As you continue to work on this command, make sure that you increase the length of time gradually, as well as the distance you travel before the reward.

Don’t try to do too much too soon and don’t be upset if your dog gets up to move toward you! Not getting the treat or praise will be enough.

5. Off

This is a helpful command to teach dogs that they shouldn’t jump on people or furniture without permission.

Using the word “off” as the command instead of “down” is often preferred because it helps avoid confusion for the dog. The command words you choose, however, are totally up to you! 

When the dog is on something he shouldn’t be, say “off” and lure him away with a treat. Right when his paws touch the ground, you should reward him with the treat and praise.

Repeat this for a few more times when he jumps onto something he shouldn’t in order to see if he has mastered it. After that, try to just say “off” and see if he listens to you.

If he doesn’t listen, repeat the previous step about five more times. Be sure to always use high-value treats.

6. Leave It

This command helps a curious pup stay out of trouble. The end goal with this command is to teach your dog that he needs to ignore certain things and if he does, he may get something better in return.

Put a treat in both of your hands, make a fist with each hand, and show him one of the treats. Say “leave it” and close your hands into a fist again.

As he tries to lick, mouth, or bark to get the treat, you will ignore him. Once he stops trying to get the treat, give him the treat that you had in the opposite hand. 

Repeat this until your dog moves from the first fist that has the treat in it that you show him when you say “leave it.” Give your dog the second treat only when they look up at you and show that they are listening.

Eventually, you can use two different types of treats. Try placing one on the floor instead of in your hand and cover it with your palm. Once your dog ignores the treat and looks at you, he gets a higher-value treat and praise. 

After this, leave a treat on the floor without covering it, but don’t invite him to eat it. Hold a better treat in your hand above that treat and repeat the same steps as before.

Remember that this command can be tough, so it may take a while for your dog to fully master it. If he is not getting it, simply go back to the last stage he was able to do well.

Teach Your Dog These Basic Dog Commands

With these basic dog commands, you’ll be able to make sure that your dog is safe and happy in almost any situation.

These are great to start with, but don’t forget that there are more commands out there that your dog may love to learn.

If you’d like to get some tips on keeping you and your pet safe from health concerns, check out this article on our website. Don’t forget to take a look around and see what other great information we have, too!