Basic Dog Commands:
Now that you know some of the basic tools you have at your disposal, it’s time to start thinking about the specifics: the different commands you can teach your dog. With time and patience there’s no end to what your dog can learn, but there are a few commands that are good to start out with. Before we go into more detail on these commands, there are a few training tips to stick to when working with your dog.
- Practice often: Repetition is key when teaching your dog a new skill. Spend a short amount of time training every day to make sure that new commands stick. However, there’s no need to rigidly stick to a specific time to train each day. Try to work training into the day to day flow of your life.
- Vary the Environment: It will be easiest for your dog to learn when you’re in a quiet area with few distractions. Aim for this kind of environment when teaching him a new command, but once he’s mastered it it’s important to practice elsewhere. This will help your dog to concentrate on what you’re telling him and not on everything else that’s going on around him.
- Keep it Fun: This has been mentioned before, but it’s important enough to repeat! Dogs respond to your tone and attitude and will thrive when they are given praise and love. Keep your training time upbeat and positive and your dog will likely find learning much easier!
How To Teach Your Dog To Sit
The “sit” command is one of the most basic things you can teach your dog. It’s a great place to start when training and is a skill you can build off of to learn other commands.
- Stand in front of your dog and hold a treat in front of his nose. This will get his attention!
- Raise the treat above and over his head. He’ll want to keep his eyes on it and will likely sit to keep his balance while looking. As soon as he does so praise him and give him the treat. Do this several times.
- Up to this point you have been teaching your dog the motion without saying the command. Once you know that he’ll sit every time, begin to say the command when you move the treat. He’ll associate the correct movement (and the reward) with the command.
How To Teach Your Dog To Lay Down
Teaching your dog to lie down with the “down” command is a natural next step from sitting.
- Start with your dog in the sitting position.
- Hold a treat in front of him, then move it down and behind him, staying close to his body. He’ll likely lie down on his hip in order to follow the treat. Reward him when he does so.
- Once you’re sure he’ll do this every time, start giving the “down” command as you practice.
How To Teach Your Dog The Off Command
If your dog has a habit of jumping up on visitors or sitting on furniture that you don’t want him on, the “off” command will be very useful.
- Hold a treat up high and close to you. In order to get to it, your dog will jump up on you. Once he does, move the treat down and to the right. This will cause him to put all four feet on the ground to get to it. When he reaches this position, praise him and give him the treat.
- Once you’re sure he will move off you every time, add the command word “off”.
- It’s especially useful to practice this command at doorways, since this is the place you’ll likely be using it the most.
How To Teach Your Dog To Stay
Teaching your dog the “stay” command will help him build up patience and assure you he’ll keep still when you need him to.
- Instruct your dog to sit, then hold your hand up, palm facing him.
- Stand still and praise him for two seconds, give him a treat, wait another two seconds, and then say “okay.” “Okay” will be his signal that it is alright for him to get up again.
- Repeat this procedure, adding an additional second each time, until you’ve built up to a five second stay, and then for ten seconds.
- This command can be difficult for some dogs. If yours is having trouble, remember to move slowly. It’s also important to only give him a treat while he is sitting still and never after he gets up. If you give him a treat after you say “okay,” you’ll be reinforcing the idea that you want him to get up and move, not to stay still.
How To Teach Your Dog To Come
“Come” can be a difficult command for your dog to learn, but it’s worth the time that both of you will put in. When your dog knows to come when you call he’ll be less likely to run into dangerous situations. Remember to keep the training experience entirely positive (no luring him into a bath or to the vet’s!) so that he’ll always want to come to you.
- Stand across the room from your dog. Tell him to come. As soon as he makes it all the way to you (it might take a minute or two) give him a treat.
- Repeat this in different areas. If your dog sees that you have a handful of treats and wants to stay right next to you, move to a different room and call him from there.
- Practice makes perfect with this command. Try it in as many different places as you can.