10 Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know

A behaved dog is a good dog; that’s what every owner wants. It’s a must for every owner to train his pet as early as possible starting with simple commands. Every dog, young and old is capable of learning new tricks. Just remember to take your time and don’t be in a hurry. Each dog learns differently from others. You just have to be patient and soon, you’ll have a behaved, well-mannered pet. Here are some basic commands that your pet has to know.

1. Sit

A pet dog has to learn how to keep still especially when there’s just too much going around. An undisciplined dog is easily distracted, will tend to be very stressed if there are too many distractions around him. A simple, short command like “Sit” should be learned right away. Sitting can keep a pet dog calm and thus, it should be learned right away. 

Whether you’re training a young pup or an adult dog, the command “Sit” is easy to teach. Lead your pup to a corner of a room or in an area free from any distractions. Stand in front of him and say the word “Sit” once. Put your hand on his back and apply pressure downwards to indicate that he has to lower his back side and sit. Remember, say the command only once in a loud and forceful tone.

Practice the command again. Say “Sit” and apply force at the back to help your dog sit. Once he does sit, give him a treat. Practice as often as you can and you’ll soon, you don’t have to push your dog from the back. 

2. Stay

“Stay” is just the same with sit but your dog may remain standing or should remain where you left him. To learn this command, say the command and then don’t do anything. Give him some treats if he remains standing. Repeat the command until your dog gets it. Train your dog to stay and sit so he can distinguish between the two commands. 

3. Yield

Yield is telling your pet to stop. When you say “Yield” he has to stop what he’s doing whether he’s walking, barking, or digging something. First, place your pet on a leash and collar so it would be easier to teach this command. Say the word “Yield” and slightly tug on the leash to tell your pet that you want him to stop what he’s doing. Teach the command again and tug at the leash. Give your pet a treat if he pulls away from his activity.

4. Let’s Go/Come Here

From a sitting, yielding, or staying position, your pet must come to you when you say the world’s “Let’s go” or “Come here.” This is a positive command for your pet so say these as lively as possible. You may also follow through with some hand gestures to tell your dog that you want his company right away. 

5. Fetch

Fetch is a form of play but you can also use this command to train your dog to get different items. You can teach him to fetch the remote, to get the newspaper, or to fetch your slippers when you come home. Fetch must be associated with a place or a thing. For instance, teach him the word “Fetch” to get the ball that you threw while playing a game. If you just came home, say “Fetch” so he can get your slippers for you. And of course, reward your pet with treats and a lot of praises once he follows your command.

6. Find

Find is quite complicated and it is associated with your pet’s keen sense of smell. You can train your pet to find all kinds of things but make sure he is familiar with the thing and the scent first. 

7. Help

This command is what dogs are made for. They love to please their owners and would be there to protect them as well. You can train your pet to help you in times of need. Some dog owners who have a medical illness may train their pets to detect signs and symptoms of an impending problem. For instance, pet owners with heart problems may train their pet to get help if ever then need one. A dog may bark a signal that he’s calling anyone for help. He may be trained to ask help from anyone at home.

8. Down

A pet dog is mostly very happy to see you when you get home but most of the time, his happiness and eagerness can go out of hand. The command “Down” teaches him to calm down and to stop jumping, barking, or doing all kinds of inappropriate behavior. The word must be said very firmly or with some hand gestures. Reward your pet if he follows this command well.

9. His Name

A dog should come when his name is called. This must be taught early on and even the first few days at home. We recommend naming your dog properly; just a short one to two-syllable name would do. 

10. A Secret Word

This can be any word that only you and your dog know. This special world can mean anything like his favorite toy or his favorite food. You can teach your dog the word pizza if he loves the food. Make this as your reward word. 

A dog will learn commands through patience and frequent training. You can add more words to this list as a dog can distinguish from many words and phrases.

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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