7 Basic Dog Training Commands You Should Teach Your Pet

There are several basic dog training commands that you should be teaching to your pet. You can learn more about these commands by clicking here.

Over 49% of American households own a pet.

Of these households, Generation Y and Millenials make up 35% of pet owners in the country. Dogs are one of the most popular pets owned. In fact, there are over 89.7 million dogs in the U.S.

If you own a dog, you'll likely want to give it some obedience training to help make life a little bit easier for both you and your furred companion. There are basic dog training commands that every dog should know, for both their safety and to give them boundaries.

The best time to train your dog is while it is still a puppy. Puppies are able to learn fast and training helps to burn off their excess energy.

In this article, we'll cover seven commands that every dog should know.

1. Sit

If you're looking into how to become a dog trainer, you should first start with at-home dog training. Teaching your dog to sit is one of the easiest commands for obedience training, so start here.

First, hold a treat close to your dog's nose. Once you have the dog's attention, move your hand up. The dog's head should follow the treat. This will cause their bottom to lower. Once your dog is in a sitting position, say “Sit,” and give them the treat.

“Sit” is one of the most essential commands. You should consider this command one of the building blocks of dog obedience.

2. Come

“Come” is a great puppy command to start with. A puppy's natural tendency will be to run to you at every chance it gets, making “come” easy to learn.

This command can also help to keep a dog out of trouble by bringing them back to your side before an accident can occur. To train your dog to “come” on command, you'll need to put a leash and collar on the dog.

Next, you'll want to squat or kneel to eye level and say, “Come.” You'll tug on the leash with a gentle pull each time you say the command. When your dog stands and takes a few steps toward you, reward the dog with treats and affection.

3. Stay

“Stay” is another one of those commands that can help save a dog's life. A dog who knows the “stay” command will remain sitting in place until you give a release command to let the dog know it may move. The “stay” command is known as a duration behavior because the dog must hold position and not move.

Before you begin teaching “stay” to your dog, they should know the “sit” command first. To start teaching your dog “stay”, have them sit first.

You will then hold out your open palm toward the dog and say, “Stay.” Don't move or try to have the dog stay still for longer than a few seconds to start off with. Every dog is different, and some will pick up this trick faster than others.

Once your dog is able to “stay”, try adding distance. Have your dog sit and “stay”, then back away several feet. If the dog is able to maintain its “stay”, reward it with treats and affection.

The key is to add distance at a slow but steady rate. You'll also want to start this exercise off inside your home, as outside can present many distractions when first trying to learn this command. Once your dog seems to have a mastery of “stay”, you can then move training outside to somewhere like a dog park.

4. Down

For some dogs, this can be a difficult command to learn. The act of laying down is a submissive posture and not all dogs will take to it fast.

To start training your dog the command “down”, hold a treat inside your closed fist. Hold your fist up to the dog's nose and then lower your hand to the floor so the dog follows.

The next part is the trickiest. You must ease your hand along the ground in an effort to get the dog to lay down to keep sniffing at the treat. Once the dog does get into the “down” position, reward with pets and a treat.

5. Leave It

Teaching your dog the “leave it” command might save your dog from eating something harmful one day. Or at the least will help prevent your dog from sneaking food off your dinner plate when you walk away for a second.

The goal of this command is to teach your dog that they will get rewarded for ignoring the item. 

To start, place a treat in both of your hands. Show the dog one closed fist with the treat inside and let them sniff and paw at it. Once the dog gives up, reward them with a treat from the other hand.

6. Off

No one likes a large dog jumping all over their visiting guests. If you have elderly family members, a large dog jumping on them could even lead to a disastrous accident of knocking them over and injuring them.

The command “off” should never be confused with “down”. Be sure to keep the two commands separate and clear.

To teach your dog this command, whenever you notice them jumping up or climbing onto furniture, say the command “off” and give a gentle tug to move them.

7. Heel

Teaching your dog to heel will ensure they walk beside you, instead of out in front. This command helps your dog to walk on a leash the appropriate way.

To teach your dog to “heel”, you'll need to place them on a collar and leash. You'll then walk at a slow pace and keep a tight grip on the leash. You can use a squeaky toy to help hold their attention if they get distracted.

Whenever the dog pulls ahead or gets distracted, give the command, “heel” and readjust to make sure their head is even with your knees. Be prepared for this command to take a few weeks before your dog is able to heel on command.

Basic Dog Training Commands Help Foster a Strong Relationship

We hope this article on basic dog training commands proved helpful. Giving your dog obedience training can both help foster a closer relationship between you and your pet, as well as provide vital mental exercise to the dog.

Every dog should learn at least a handful of commands to help make their life more structured and safer.

Be sure to browse our site for other related topics before you go.

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