A dog is a real best friend to humans. A statement that over time has been revealed as nothing but the truth. To have a better relationship with your dog, it is essential that you train him or her on some commands that will allow the two of you to communicate better.
Depending on what direction you would like your relationship with your dog to take, there are different commands that you can train him or her on. The following are some of the most basic dog training commands that will work well on any dog regardless of its age or breed.
#1 The Come Command
There are several reasons for teaching your dog the ‘come’ command. The most common ones are:
- To prevent the dog from getting into fights with other dogs
- To stop the dog from chasing someone or something across the street
- To help find him/her if it gets lost.
This command can be taught over time by employing a reward or treat mechanism.
To get your dog acquainted with this command, the first thing you will have to do is tie a collar and leash to its neck. This command is taught to the dog by holding the leash at some distance away from your dog and asking him or her to come towards you. You can give it a gentle pull so that he can relate the word with the need to come towards you.
Immediately after the dog obeys the command and gets to where you are; you should have a gift for him or her. This becomes part of his overall mindset.
The dog will then associate the command with a reward. The effect of this will be noticed over time as the pet will become more obedient whenever the command is given.
#2 The Take and Drop Command
Dogs if not trained on the ‘take and drop’ command, will be picking up objects that may harm them. It is, therefore, necessary to cultivate that discipline which will ensure the dog does not go around picking up everything it comes across. This training is done using a dog’s favorite toy.
What happens here is you entice the dog to come and take the toy by its mouth. Immediately the dog rises to do this and grabs it with his or her mouth; you shout the word ‘take’. The dog will then grab the toy tight by its mouth.
You will need to hold up another of its toys with your other hand. Entice it to release the other toy first. Immediately it does this shout the word ‘drop’ and starts waving the other toy.
It will do a jump and grab the other toy by its mouth, again instruct the dog to ‘take’ and then repeat the cycle again for it to drop the toy. This command takes a couple of days to kick in with the dog (if you train it persistently daily).
#3 The Sit Command
A dog being able to follow the sit command is a very good thing in terms of its discipline and giving you control in public places. The sit command can be used to prevent the dog from getting into brawls with other dogs. It is also particularly useful in preventing the dog from jumping at your visitors when they are elated.
Like with the other two commands we have discussed above, this one too will require a reward to get the dog to follow through. Get a dog biscuit and hover it over the dog’s nose at a considerable distance that does not force it to jump or have to walk towards it.
Once the dog’s attention has been drawn to the biscuit, move it around its nose at a good distance and give it the sit command. You can give it a gentle push with your fist by applying some pressure on its forehead. Once the dog manages to sit down, give him or her the biscuit as a reward.
Repeat this a few times of the day in several different environments to get the best results. However, generally, a dog will earn this command much quicker if it’s done indoors where there is limited movement.
#4 The Stay Command
This is a command that is taught to dogs to help get them off your back and have them stay in one particular position. A dog that has learned this command can be trusted to wait for the owner outside a restaurant and other areas that do not allow dogs inside.
Think of when you need to access a public toilet, and you have your dog with you that day.
For this command to be taught to the dog, it must have first been taught the sit command as a preceding command.
The general rule here is to have a reward in hand for the dog and then order it to sit. Once it’s seated, bring the reward towards its nose and then slowly drag it away from it towards you.
The intention is to have the dog remain static despite the reward being drawn away from it. If the dog manages to remain in the same position despite the reward being pulled away from it, say ;stay’ to it.
If the opposite happens and it starts following you, you are supposed to tell it ‘No’ and start the procedure again. Repeat this a number of times a day and reward the dog for each successful try.
#5 The Watch Me Command
You need to get your dog to learn this command so that you can easily get his or her attention at all times. Dogs can be stubborn at times when their owner cannot get their attention easily. This command usually builds up to a dog being trained on all other commands.
To get this done, one does not necessarily need to have the dog seated; it works both ways. Get a reward and place it in front of your dog’s face. Get him to give full concentration to the reward that you have in hand.
Slowly hover it over his or her nose and then pull it towards your face and ask him or her to watch you. Do this repeatedly and observe how well he or she is following the instructions that you are giving.
If the dog shows that he or she is following your instructions as expected, then reward them. Another thing to keep an eye on, however, is to not reward the dog after some time. This is to ensure that the action is not just pegged on getting the reward.
#6 The No Command
A dog needs to be taught the No command so that it refrains from doing something such as fighting with other dogs. The No command is also especially important when preventing the dog from becoming playful in public places that are inappropriate for it.
Additionally, it is a valuable command that helps to guard against the dog eating food that is unfit for it.
The No command is taught by tying a collar to the dog’s neck and attaching a leash to it. You will then need to place a reward on the ground and walk the dog towards this reward. The dog will naturally be tempted to eat the biscuit or play with the toy you have placed on the ground as bait.
Wait till the dog approaches the bait and then give it a gentle pull just before it takes it into its mouth and immediately say ‘No’ to it. Draw the dog towards you and give it another reward that you have in hand instead.
Do this repeatedly while using the reward in hand technique and then start pulling it back towards you but without any reward. Observe how it reacts to the change and then gradually get it used to follow the command without any reward.
#7 The Down Command
The down command is another dog command that builds on the sit command we have discussed. This command is especially important in ensuring that your dog can rest while laying down while you are sitting in a park or any public place for that matter. It is also the best position to feed your dog.
If you have been asking yourself what are basic dog training commands, then this is one of the most common ones. You will have to get your dog to sit down and then hold a reward in one of your hands.
Hold this reward straight in the face of your dog. Slowly start lowering it down and get your dog to lie down. Immediately it gets into this position, say ‘down.’
Additionally, move the reward some distance away from the dog and have it follow you around while still in that position. A lot of patience will be required as this is a command that teaches a dog self-control.
It takes some time before your best friend can get this in his or her system and start following your instructions to the letter.
#8 The Wait Command
Another basic dog training command is the wait command. This command enables you to get your pet to behave well and wait whenever you open a door.
It is a common thing for dogs to dash out or into a room or car whenever the door is opened. This can be fatal in certain instances, such as if you have a stop by the roadside.
To get your dog to repeat this command, you will need to first and foremost, get it to sit whenever you want to open a door.
Once it is seated, open the door and hold the leash firmly if it tries to dash into the room. Tell it ‘No’ so that it understands that this is something that it is not supposed to be doing.
Do this at different intervals and whenever it follows this command, reward the dog. After several successful attempts, unleash him and repeat the procedure this time without a leash. Remember to give it the ‘Okay’ command immediately you are ready to let it into or out of a room.
This command requires a lot of patience from your end. A dog will not automatically want to refrain itself immediately a door is opened.
#9 The Out Command
This basic dog training command is quite similar to the take and drop command that we had discussed earlier. In this command, however, you do not request the dog to take the toy into his or her mouth. By just showing the toy to him or her, the dog will automatically jump at it.
What follows should be you trying to force the dog to release the toy so that you give it the other toy that you have in your other hand.
Immediately the dog releases the toy, you are supposed to shout the ‘out’ command for it to familiarize with it. Then get the dog to grab the other toy.
Once it has done this, tussle it again for it. The dog will naturally become apprehensive and will want to hold on tight to the toy. But keep pressing till it releases it and then shout the ‘out’ command.
This command is particularly important when a dog grabs something in the street and refuses to let go because of agitation. Giving it the out command gets it to release the object that it is holding onto.
#10 The Settle Down Command
Dogs, once they become excited over something, can become particularly troublesome. It is in such instances that you need to have a command that can get the dog to settle down and you can focus on some other things.
To get started on this basic dog training command, you will need to have a mat placed some distance away from you. You will also need to have a clicker in one hand and a reward in another.
Pull the clicker and guide the dog towards the mat that you intend it to settle down on. Once the dog gets to the mat, entice it to lay down on it and say the ‘settle down’ command. Once it does this well, give it the
reward that you have on the other hand.
Repeat this procedure a number times in a day. It is also advisable if you can change the place it is supposed to settle down on now and then.
Crates and baskets also work well in this training. The material being used can also be shifted from one place to another in the house so that you can get the dog accustomed to the command regardless of location.
#11 The Stand Command
The stand command is a necessary dog command that helps you to get the dog into a standing position especially when visiting the vet. It is also particularly helpful when you need to brush the dog, or you need to inspect its body for any injuries or infections. The standing position is also essential when you want to bathe your dog.
The stand command can be taught to the dog by first asking it to sit down. You will then need to hold a reward in your hand and hover it across its face. This will win you the dog’s attention, and you can then slowly raise your hand as the dog follows it with its nose.
Get this reward to a point where the dog has to stand up on its feet, then say the ‘stand command’ and reward it. This command can also be done when you have the dog lying down. Repeat the same procedure as above, and then give the dog the ‘stand’ command and the reward once it has followed your instructions well.
This basic dog training command will not take too long to tick with your dog.
#12 The Heel Command
This command is intended to ensure that your dog behaves when it walks by your side. It is an important basic dog training command that guarantees your dog can walk unleashed beside you. This comes in handy when you have to use your phone or if you are carrying a child in your arms.
To get your dog started on obeying this command, you will need to hold the leash in your right hand and have a reward in your left hand. Command the dog to walk on your left side while maintaining a distance in front of it.
Make a stop and give the dog the ‘heel’ command then resume walking. If the dog maintains the same distance and does not switch over your right hand, reward it.
If the dog does not follow this command, start the process again by pulling it gently with the leash. Also, use the leash in case the dog wants to move a distance away from you to keep it aligned.
After some distance, repeat the command and observe how the dog reacts to it. Keep doing this a few times each day until the dog can follow the command without having to be rewarded.
In case you want to know everything about the heel command then my article on teaching the heel command the perfect way is the best for you.
#13 The Place, Bed and Crate Command
This command is meant to help you get the dog to take a nap. It is especially important in instances whereby a nap is recommended by a vet to help the dog recover after an illness. It is also helpful when you need a minimal distraction from the dog as you work or attend to your guests.
This command can be taught by tying a leash to the dog’s collar and holding it in one hand and holding a reward in your other hand. Here, you lead the dog to the place, bed or crate that you want it to nap on.
Once you have it standing over the place, request it to lie down and once it has, says the word ‘place,’ ‘bed’ or ‘crate.’
Proceed to reward the dog for good behavior and then repeat the procedure a few times. Once grasped, this command can be given to a dog, and it will proceed to the place it is supposed to lie without you having to lead it there physically.
#14 The Off Command
Dogs are known to chew on furniture if not given any basic dog training commands. To help you avoid this from happening, it is important that you teach the dog the ‘off’ command.
To make a dog follow this command, hold a treat in one of your hands and clamp your fingers tightly. Ensure that the dog cannot take the treat away from you and thus can only smell it. Eventually, the dog will get tired and want to back off from you. Once it does this, say the off command and then reward it.
It will not be difficult for the dog to grasp this command. However, you need to be careful in case the dog is a vicious one. The command comes in particularly handy when you need to keep the dog from chewing on your furniture or holding on to people’s clothes in a public place.
#15 The Leave it Command
The leave it command is used to teach a dog how to refrain from eating food without any supervision. This is helpful when you have a cookout or are at an event where there is plenty of food on offer, and the dog may misbehave.
To get a dog to respect this command, you will need to hold a reward in both of your hands. Hold out one arm towards the dog and let it smell the reward.
It will then lick the hand because it cannot get the said reward. At some point, the dog may become agitated and start barking.
Immediately it starts doing this calm it out down by offering it the gift in the other hand and saying to it the command ‘leave it.’ Keep doing this severally till the dog gets to understand the command obeys it at all times.
The one recommended command not covered here and just good to teach for fun is the roll over command which I covered in a separate page for you.
There you go, all the answers to the question ‘what are basic dog training commands?’ that you have been asking yourself. By following these steps, your dog will become a well-mannered pet and a pleasant one for that matter.