The Basics: Commands Your Dog Should Know

There are a few basic commands that need to be mastered and they are all relatively simple.

These commands are…

Down:
This is where you teach your dog to lay down on command, and is one of the main aspects of any successful training program. Trust me, you will use this command. I use it all the time on my own dogs.

Heel:
This is where you teach your dog walk beside you at the same pace without pulling on the lead. A dog should never pull on the lead. Besides being what I call “rude”, it’s letting the dog take lead you and not the other way around. It doesn’t have to be a perfect heal if you are not competing with your dog, but your dog should not pull on the lead. Period. You should be the one under control of where you go with your dog.

Sit:
Sit is one of the most basic of all dog training commands and is one that you’ll want to teach from the outset to maintain control of your dog’s behavior. For new puppy owners, this is a basic command that you can start with treats from day one. It’s a good way to start imprinting on your dog what a basic command is all about.

Stay:
This is important to ensure that no matter where you are you’ll know that your dog will stay precisely where you want it. I never call my dog from a stay; I always return to them. This teaches them not to anticipate moving when I am not near them.

Wait:
Another command I really use is called “wait” which means simply, wait. I use this command for going in a door first, or waiting to load in to the car. Say you are on a hike with your dog and he gets too far ahead. It’s nice to be able to tell your dog “wait” to let you get within range so you don’t lose sight.

Another thing your dog must learn is to stop an action. Whether you use the word “no” or another distraction sound, your dog must learn that when you tell them to stop doing something they stop. The important thing on this is to teach them that they get praised for stopping an unwanted behavior instead of being punished for doing the unwanted behavior.

What’s the most important command you will teach your dog?

To COME. Teaching your dog the command “come” or “here” is it. If your dog does not return to you when you call him, it doesn’t matter what else they know. Let me explain what I mean. If your dog runs in to the street and doesn’t come back to you when you call him? This is the command that can save your dogs life.

If there is nothing else that you train your dog to do beyond these basic commands, it will certainly improve the relationship you have with your dog and the enjoyment and happiness that you and your dog will have together.

Whether you own a puppy or an adult dog, it’s never too late to change behavior. Mostly you will find it’s your behavior that you will have to change. It’s breaking old habits and learning to be consistent with your dog. Don’t repeat commands. A very bad habit many people fall in to. If you want your dog to act the first time you tell them to do something, don’t repeat yourself. It’s all up to you.

Dogs that are untrained can often get depressed, despondent, unhappy and display symptoms of anxiety and confusion. With training you are actually giving your dog a purpose in life, where they will get pleasure out of the fact that they are pleasing you. This is very important to a dog.

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15 Responses to “The Basics: Commands Your Dog Should Know”

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