Essential Commands Every Dog Should Learn

Updated on: Apr 28, 2023
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Essential Commands Every Dog Should Learn

Teaching your dog essential commands is crucial in nurturing a strong and healthy relationship with your furry buddy. It's about keeping your dog safe and well-behaved and developing trust and understanding between you and your pet. 

That's why we're here to share 11 commands that every dog owner should teach their furry friend. 

So let's dive in and get started!


Teaching your furry friend to "sit" is vital in their obedience training. It's like the building block for other commands and basic training. 

How can you teach this command to your dog? 


  1. First, grab your dog's attention by calling their name or making a noise they'll notice. 
  2. Then, hold a treat before their nose and slowly move it over their head. As you move the treat, your dog should naturally lower their rear end to the ground.
  3. When your dog's tushy hits the ground, say "sit" and give them the treat. It's important to celebrate their success with enthusiasm!
  4. Repeat this process until your pup understands what sitting is.

Once your dog has the hang of sitting, try phasing out the treats and using verbal praise instead. For example, instead of giving them a treat, say, "good dog!" or give them a pat on the head.


Do you want to teach your dog how to stay? 

Here's a guide on how to do it: 

  1. Start by getting your dog to sit, then place your hand in front of their face and say, "stay". Reward them with a treat and verbal praise when they stay in place. 
  2. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. If your dog tries to get up or move, say "no" or "stay" in a firm but calm voice and guide them back into the sitting position. 

Practice the stay command in different locations and with various distractions. With patience and consistency, your pup will become a pro at staying in place!


Training your dog to come when called is an essential step in training. Start in a low-distraction environment, like a quiet room in your home.

Try to get their attention while holding out a treat or toy and say 'come' in an upbeat tone. As soon as your dog starts coming toward you, back up a few steps to encourage them to keep coming. 

When they reach you, reward them with a treat or toy and give them verbal praise. This will help them associate the 'come' command with positive experiences and make them more likely to come when called.

Gradually increase the distance between you and your pup, and practice in more distracting environments.

Remember to make coming to you a positive experience - use a happy tone of voice and reward them with treats, toys, or verbal praise. Don't use the 'come' command for anything negative, like scolding your pup. 


Would you like t to teach your dog how to lie down? 

It's easy! 

All you have to do is get your pup into a "sit" positionhold a treat in front of its nose, and slowly lower it to the ground between its front paws. 

As your dog follows the treat, their rear end should naturally lower to the ground. When their entire body is on the floor, say "down" and give them the treat. 

Repeat this process several times; before you know it, your pup will be an expert at lying down on command!


This more advanced command requires your dog to stay in a specific position relative to your body, but with some patience and consistency, you can help your pup learn this command. 

  1. Start by getting your pup into a "sit" or "stay" position, hold a treat in your hand, position it next to your left leg, and start walking forward. 
  2. As you walk, say "heel" in a calm, firm voice, and if your pup starts to stray, give a gentle tug on the leash to bring them back into position. 

Reward your pup with the treat and verbal praise when they stay in the correct position, and gradually increase the distance and duration of your walks. With practice and positive reinforcement, your pup will soon walk politely by your side!

"Leave it"

It's an excellent command to prevent them from eating something dangerous or damaging household items.

Here's the process:

  1. Start by placing a low-value treat on the ground before your pup and say, "leave it". 
  2. Then cover the treat with your hand or foot and wait until your pooch stops trying to get it and looks away. 
  3. Give them a higher-value treat and say "yes" or "good" as soon as possible.
  4.  Repeat this a few times and gradually increase the treat's value and the time they have to wait. 

When they've learned it with food, start practicing with objects they might be interested in. And remember, never use "leave it" when they go after something dangerous - it's best to remove them and get them medical attention if needed physically. 

"Drop it"

Teaching your pup to drop an object is super important - it can help keep them safe and out of harm's way. 

Here's how to do it: 

Start by offering your dog a toy or object they like to play with, then let them have it for a few moments. As they drop the object to take a treat, say "drop it" calmly but firmly. 

When they release the object, give them the treat and offer verbal praise. 

Keep practicing this until your pup understands that dropping the object produces a reward. As you practice, try different things and different situations. If your puppy doesn't drop the object immediately, offer a higher-value treat to entice them to release it. 


Teaching your dog to "wait" can be a great way to teach them to impulse control and keep them safe in potentially dangerous situations. 

  1. Start by getting your dog in a "sit" or "down" position
  2. Then, hold your hand and say "wait" in a firm but calm tone. 
  3. Take a step back from your dog, and if they remain in the same position, immediately step back toward them and reward them with a treat and verbal praise. 
  4. Keep repeating this process, gradually increasing your distance from your dog.
  5. Once your pup has learned to wait in place for short periods, start practicing in more distracting environments.

When your dog has mastered the command, you can use it in everyday situations, such as before crossing the street or letting them out of the car. Just remember to be patient and consistent with your training. 

Only release your dog from the wait command when calm and focused, as this will help reinforce the behavior.

 Also, never use the "wait" command as a substitute for "stay", as "stay" means that your dog should remain in a particular position until given a release command. At the same time, "wait" means that your dog should pause and remain in place until given further instructions.


Teaching your pup the "off" command is a great way to help them learn good manners and avoid accidentally hurting someone. 

Here's how you can do it: 

  1. Every time your pup jumps up on you or furniture, say "off" in a firm but calm voice. 
  2. When they jump down, reward them with praise and a treat. If they don't jump down, gently push them off while repeating the command. 
  3. Keep doing this consistently, and soon your pup will understand that "off" means to stop jumping. 
  4. Then you can practice the command proactively before they jump.

Gradually reduce the use of treats, and use verbal praise instead. Make sure to reward your pup every time they respond to the command.

"Speak" / "Quiet" 

Dogs can bark excessively, so teaching them "speak" and "quiet" commands are essential.

All you need to do is get your pup excited and barking, then say "speak" enthusiastically. Reward them with a treat or toy when they bark, and then say "quiet" calmly but firmly when they stop barking

Practice the commands in different situations and use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. With some patience and consistency, you'll have your pup speaking and being quiet on command in no time!


Would you like to teach your dog to touch your hand on command?

It's really easy! 

Start by holding out your hand, palm facing up. When your dog sniffs or touches your hand with their nose, say "yes" or "good" and treat them.

Keep going until your pup understands that touching your hand produces a reward. Then, add a verbal cue to the behavior by saying "touch" before holding your hand.

Reward them every time they touch your hand on command. As your pup learns the behavior, gradually increase the distance between your hand and their nose. 

Practice the "touch" command in different environments and situations to help them generalize it.


Teaching your pup these essential commands help you raise well-mannered and behaved dogs in different environments and situations. Training can take time, depending on your consistency and your dog's breed, but they can learn these commands with patience!

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