Learn the 6 basic commands every dog should know: Tips to train and communicate with your canine companion

If you are a new dog owner or you want to refresh your skills in training your dog, then read on to learn how to teach your dog the basics.

  1. Sit

  2. Stay in touch with us

  3. You can also click here to find out more.

  4. Leave It

  5. Come and See

  6. Engaged in a variety of ways

1) Sit

The Sit command for your dog is essential. It’s not only a basic obedience command, but it is also important to teach your dog for safety purposes.

When you’re out with your dog, the Sit command can be a very useful tool. Sit can be used to help your dog learn impulse control. For example, it could teach him how to wait calmly at the door before leaving or when he is being fed. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog to stand. Positive reinforcement is rewarding your dog for the behavior they are trying to achieve.

Start by showing your dog that you have some treats. While they are looking at you, let them sniff the treat in your hand. Then slowly lift it over their heads. Their bottom will automatically lower as their head tilts to follow the treat. When their rear touches the ground, give them the treat and say “Good dog!”

You can also gently push down on your dog’s hind end while you lift the treat above their head.

2) Stay

The Stay command can be very helpful in situations when you want your dog to stay calm and still. This is a good behavior to practice for impulse control when there are distractions. You can teach them to remain and help them control their emotions.

You can teach your dog to stay in any position, although some owners prefer that their pup is in a Down or Sit. While your dog is still in their current position, move a few steps away and say “Stay”. You can use a hand sign by holding your hand flat and palm facing the dog.

Give your dog a treat for their good work if they remain in place until you come back to them or let them go. It’s okay if they start to follow you. Repeat the process. Calmly guide them back to where they were lying or sitting. Release your dog faster if they are having trouble maintaining a Stay. If your dog initially will only stay for 2 seconds before getting too excited, let them go after 1 second!

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3) Down

The Down command is useful for encouraging your dog to relax. It’s also an important foundational command, which gets repeated when teaching other skills. The Down command is also useful for repositioning a pup in veterinary and grooming situations.

It’s much easier to teach the Down command if your dog knows how to sit. They are already half way there! Tell your dog “Sit” and then let him sniff the treat you’re holding. Slowly lower the treat towards the ground once they show interest. Your dog’s front body will drop as it follows the treat.

Use your “Yes!” and “Good Dog!” to mark the command. If this is not enough, apply light pressure to your dog’s shoulder as you lure him toward the ground.

4) Let It Go

If your dog is motivated by food or tends to put things into their mouths, “Leave It”, will help them resist picking up items that they shouldn’t, such as trash, food on the ground or dangerous objects.

This is also a good behavior to improve if your pup steals things or begs for food on the table. Start by putting your dog on a leash. You will have more control over your dog when he tries to trick you by going after the treat. Drop a treat in the back of your head while standing with your dog. While your dog is reaching for the treat, tell them to “Leave It!” and stop them. You may need to dance with your dog or even walk into them in order to stop them from picking up the treat off the ground.

When your dog has stopped trying to sneak around you, and is able to resist temptations, reward them with a special treat and tell them “Yes!”

5) Come

Come is the most important command you can teach to your dog. It is a good way to call your dog back, and it can be used to quickly get their attention in an emergency.

This command helps keep your dog safe, by teaching him that coming to you when called is good. When you make each recall positive, your relationship with your dog will improve and they’ll want to come to your. To teach a good recall, you need to be more valuable and interesting than the distractions your dog is exposed to.

Begin by putting your dog on a long leash and moving away quickly from them. Your dog should be able to chase you if your movements are fast enough. Use your “Come”, as your dog is moving towards you and you are almost there, to reward him with a high value treat. Your dog will understand that you are pleased with their behavior if you say “Yes” or “Good Dog!”

You can also gently reel in your dog with the leash if they need extra help. Holding a favorite toy for your dog will also encourage them to chase you.

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6) Engagement

You can teach your dog engagement by teaching him to make eye contact with you. Engaging your dog in the cues that you teach will strengthen your relationship. In some cases, your pup can use engagement to ask permission. You could tell your dog to be patient before going through a gate, but if they make eye contact with you, then you can let them through.

You can teach your dog that it’s important to look at you regularly by using a command like “Watch me”, “Look at Me” or similar. The ultimate goal, however, is for them to learn the concept and understand how to communicate with you, whether or not you tell them.

Put your dog on leash. Place the treat in your hand and then place it behind you. The treat will be watched by most dogs until it is placed behind you. They then stare at the spot where the tasty snack has disappeared. Do not give any commands to your dog at this stage. Stand still and wait until your dog makes eye contact. Since you did not give any clues to your dog about how to get the treat, he will eventually look to you for direction.

When you have made eye contact, even for just a moment, with your dog, give him the treat. Be patient. Some dogs may take some time to understand the concept.

Remember that patience is the key to teaching your dog new commands. Try breaking down a command into smaller steps, or simplifying the cue. You can also prepare tasty, high-value treats that your dog will love. Food is a great motivator for most dogs, and will keep them focused during training sessions.

Keep your training sessions fun and short. You’ll soon be able to teach your dog basic commands.

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