Essential dog commands are the foundation for teaching good manners to your pup. These commands provide structure and give them clear expectations on how to behave in various situations. With consistent training, even the most stubborn pup can learn these basic commands. Even the most professional dog breeders spend a lot of time with these aspects.
The first command most people teach their dogs is “sit”. This is a great way to get your pet’s attention as they cannot move when in this position. To teach your dog to sit you should start by having your dog stand in front of you. Then hold a treat or toy just above their nose and slowly raise your hand up and back over their head until their hindquarters hit the ground. As soon as they are sitting, say “sit” and reward them with the treat or toy. Once they understand that sitting gets them a reward, you can begin using just the verbal cue without needing to use the hand signal.
The next command to teach your pup is “stay”. This command tells the dog not to move from where they are until released from the stay position. To teach this command start by having your pup in a sit position with you standing in front of them. Put your hand out palm facing towards them and say “stay” as you take a few steps away from them while keeping eye contact with them. If they remain in the same spot, then give them plenty of praise and rewards before repeating the exercise again. Take longer steps each time until you can walk around the room while they remain still in their spot.
Another important command for all dogs to know is “come” which means for them to come running towards you regardless of what else may be going on around them at that moment. To train this behaviour, start by calling your dog when they are already near you so that they can easily reach you without any distractions. Give lots of praise when they come to you and then slowly increase the difficulty. Stand further away each time until they come running no matter where you are located or how many other things may be happening around them at that moment.
The fourth essential dog command is “down”, where they lay down on their stomach with all four feet flat on the floor and eyes looking up towards you. To train this behaviour, have your pup stand in front of you then take a treat between two fingers and show it to them. Give the “down” command while moving the treat slowly towards the ground next to their paws. This will encourage them to move into the down position. Provide some gentle guidance if needed until they are laying down completely, then offer plenty of praise and rewards once they have successfully completed the move.
Leave It and Drop It
Now we have two similar commands that will make life easier for any dog owner: “leave it,” which means do not touch something that belongs to someone else; and “drop it,” which means let go of whatever object is currently being held in their mouth. These two commands are helpful when walking outside as there may be items lying around that could cause potential harm if ingested. Having these commands ready will help keep everyone safe. To teach these behaviours, start by putting some treats inside an object on the ground like a box or cup. Allow your dog to get close enough so that they can see what’s inside, while telling them to “leave it” whenever they try approaching or sniffing at the box. Reward them with a different, high-value treat when they look away from the box.
For “drop it,” simply place an object like a toy inside the dog’s mouth. Give the “drop it” command then offer another high-value toy or treat. Give lots of praise whenever they let go of the first toy, and they should eventually associate letting go of the toy with being rewarded.
Finally, one last command every pet parent should teach their pooch is “heel” where the dog will walk close to their owner. This will help avoid any issues during walks such as pulling on the leash or running off to other places so teaching this early on can help avoid those issues later. Start by positioning yourself slightly ahead of your dog holding their favourite treats next to their nose. Begin walking at a leisurely pace so the dog can easily keep up. Give the “heel” command and whenever they move alongside you at the same pace, give them praise and a treat. Repeat until they’re walking close to you whenever you give the heel command.
Teaching essential dog commands such as sit, stay, come, down, leave it, drop it, and heel are important aspects of responsible pet ownership and help ensure the safety of both owner and animal alike. With patience and practice, over time even the most stubborn pups can learn these commands and become an obedient, well-behaved adult dog.