5 Basic Commands For Dogs

Cute dog looking curious

Instructing dogs in fundamental commands can significantly improve the training workflow and also enable pet owners to establish more precise rules for their pets when necessary.

The beginning steps may involve many trials and errors. However, instead of imprinting these ideas as a hassle, basic puppy commands are there to make your life easier in the future and are part of the life cycle when taking care of your pets.

Speaking about dog training commands, there are more training tips and techniques than the common commands such as “sit, down, come, and stay.” While these commands still remain a matter of importance, you should not neglect other benefits of basic tricks that could go the extra mile.

Dog training tricks will offer mental stimulation and personal development for them. If you are in social circles, you can also impress your friends and colleagues by showing a close bond you have with your pet.

When Should You Start Training Your Dog Basic Commands?

You should start training your dogs these commands as early as their young age. Traditionally, dog trainers only start teaching them when they are at least six months old. But puppies can be expected to begin learning and practicing exercises like “sit,” “stay,” and “down” as early as they are seven to eight weeks old. 

During this period of time, do keep in mind that they have lower attention spans – hence, it is important to be patient and keep it slow and steady with them.

Having them follow the certain commands you taught them could be a fun, fulfilling, and rewarding experience. Coupled with praises and treats, you can expect a nurturing connection [1] with them as your dog develops its intellectual capabilities.

The basic commands — come, sit, stay, no, down, leave it, and off — will turn them into obedient pups. You could avoid stress from building up by starting early with your dog. Make the most out of your time during their lifespan as untrained dogs are more frequent to stray. If your dog knows the come command it will make it easier for you to have them come to you while sitting down.

Training them while they are young nourishes their enthusiastic behavior. Once you own a new pet, start the training. You do not have to wait for them to get to their sixth month onward before the training begins. 

The younger you start to guide them, the easier, the more efficient, and the quicker they learn. At their young age, they act like sponges who can absorb all the learning without resistance. It also helps with them being young if they have any problem behaviors.

You may also consult with professional trainers, watch tutorials online or on DVD, or ready pet-related books on this subject. But despite all, the same rule still applies – be patient with them.

Cute golden retriever with a treat on top of its nose while owner is training him

How To Train Dogs With Basic Commands?

1. The “Sit” Command

The easiest and most important command that establishes the foundation of other techniques – the “sit” command. To get started, hold the treat in your hand and be in a kneeling position in front of the pup. Let them sniff the smelling treat. Then, carefully lift your hand up and tell them to sit down.

Once the pup lifts their head to bite the treat, use your other hand to guide their backside down into the sitting position. While they sit down, say “Sit.” Praise them and give them the treat once they follow your command. You may have to repeat this a couple of times before they could familiarize themselves with this command.

2. The “Down” Command

Stretch yourself out since the “down” command may be a bit challenging for them to learn. But once they succeed, it will help them relax and become less anxious. 

To begin, prepare the treats in your closed hand. Place the treat close to their nose and let them sniff. While they start sniffing your closed hand (with the treat in it), place your hand down on the floor and let them follow it.

Once they are in the prone position, voice out “Down.” If they follow your command correctly, give them the treat. If they get up, simply voice out “No” and move your hand away. Note that you should never force them to do the position, and repeat this technique daily until eventually, they will be able to do it correctly.

3. The “Leave It” Command

The “leave it command” keeps them safe each time they get closer to a risky object. There are two phases to this training. First, prepare the treats in your hands. Show your puppy one hand of an open palm with the dog treat inside and close it into a fist. Their initial instinct is to grab the treat. Say “Leave it.”

Once they obey, make sure to give them the treat with your other hand – and never take the treat away from your initial fist. Attempt for the second time, and make sure they move away from the initial fist. Say “Leave it” and wait for them to move a little further or stop. You can also improve this by ensuring they make eye contact with you.

The second phase to teach your dog leave it begins by using different treats in each of your hands. Use a more delicious option in the other. Bring the low-value treat over to the floor, and cover with one hand. Tell them to “Leave it.” 

Once they look at you – ignoring the dog food, remove the treat you’ve placed over the floor. Give them the high-value treat instead. Don’t forget to provide praise and keep doing this until they have mastered it.

4. The “Stay” Command

The purpose of the “stay” command is allowing them to adopt the value of self-control. First, come command your dog to sit down. Open your hand by showing your palm facing outwards and place it in front of you. Say “Stay” and move backward. 

If they stay, provide them with the treat and give praise. As you repeat, increase the number of steps you move away from backward and reward them for staying.

5. The “Heel” Command

The “heel” command instructs the pup to obediently walk next to their pet parents, instead of the usual way most dogs walk, which is at the front. The end result of this enhances the experience of walking your dog – especially when they are on a leash.

To begin, leash the dog and have them in the seated position. Use your left hand to hold the loose leash. Place a squeaky toy in your right hand just above the pets’ head. Walk the toy on the path toward the front while saying “Heel.” Continue and get their attention by using the squeaky sound from the toy.

If they pull, it’s a sign of distraction. Immediately stop for a while when this happens. Once you capture their attention again, praise and provide the treat. Count to about 30 seconds before you start walking again. Gradually, increase the time before giving the reward. Repeat the technique so they get familiar with the whole procedure.

Lastly, apart from the above commands, there are also several other commands such as “Back Up”, “Give Kiss”, “Shake Paws”, “Wave”, “Spin”, “Roll Over”, “Play Dead”, and “Take A Bow” that you could teach them once they have mastered the above.

Cute dogs socializing together

Tips To Train Your Dogs With Basic Commands

Almost every dog has a short attention span, you should keep the sessions short and favorable for them. Make it positive for them, and ensure there are no distractions and a watch-me mentality when you teach them the basic dog commands.

You can teach them at the rate of six sessions for about five minutes each, which is more effective than hours of stint every day. Focus and consistency are what you’re looking for when training these commands – hence, do not lose focus on that as well.

Do keep in mind to avoid training them if you are having a bad day. The last thing you want to do is to vent your anger on them unnecessarily. Make it a habit to end all training sessions in a positive note – or with an exercise that they can do easily. 

Make your dog feel accomplished after each session – this allows good mental stimulation for them as well. In the initial stage, you can find a quiet place to prevent distractions when training them while gradually and intentionally add distractions as part of the training session when practicing these commands with them to see how they respond in various surroundings.

Feel free to use some of their favorite type of toys, treats, dog sports, games, and other forms of rewards each time they do things correctly. Do not punish or use negative, compulsive cruelties on them because there are adverse effects when you explicit such behaviors on them. 

You can act stern, but never – and I mean, ever check chain, choke, or use any physical force on them since these could hurt them (and necks) very badly. Even when in times when you need to be in physical control, use a collar that is safe for them and be gentle with them. Patience – is always the key when it comes to training them, and ensuring you have an active and healthy relationship with them.

Obedient dog in sitting position

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you teach a puppy basic commands?

To teach a puppy easy commands, you should first prepare a handy guide (and maybe even a timetable) on what to do, when to do, and how you can execute it appropriately. Start off simple at the comfort of your own home, and get the dog treats ready. 

As puppies have very short attention spans, start off with about three to six 5-minutes sessions. Gradually increasing the varieties of commands and sessions once they have started to familiarize themselves with the basic type of commands you’ve been teaching them. 

How long does it take to train a dog basic commands?

It depends on the number of commands you want to teach your dog, their breed, and consistency of your training session, it can take about an average of 1 week to about a full month to fully train a dog with certain commands. 

During this span of time, you can keep the training sessions about three to five times per day, with each session lasting no more than 15 minutes. Remember to say the cue words and their names consistently. This should help teach your dog the basics fast. If you teach your dog to sit as one of the easier commands to start with the rest will become easier.

What can I train my dog to do?

You can train your dog to roll over, do a high five, speak, dance, and hand-shake aside from the general commands.

How do you teach a puppy its name?

You can teach a puppy its name by first, saying their name to them. In the beginning, they might not respond quickly. Once they look at you, or make eye contact with you after hearing their name, give them some treats. 

Wait for a few moments and repeat the steps. Say their name again as part of the training, or around 10 times per session, with the rewards, before taking a break. Constant practice with puppy training will get them to respond each time you call their names.

At what age should a dog be fully trained?

A dog should be fully trained by the sixth month. Don’t wait any longer. The purpose of effective commands and training are for good reinforcement, patience, and consistency. 

At the end of the training session, you could have instilled these habits and built a lasting relationship with your dog. Sometimes if a dog has health insurance command training could be free of cost if you would like to hire someone to do it.

Full dog training takes around four to six months. For other dog breeds, it may take up to a year. Other factors affecting the duration include the dog’s size, breed, age, and the consistency of training sessions given by their pet owners. Breeds like a doberman pinscher or labrador retriever dogs have been known as some easier dogs to teach commands too.


Sit, Down, Leave It, Stay, and Heel are the five commands that almost every dog should first learn when teaching your dog commands. Not only are these commands the easiest to start off, they are also your basic primary commands. For the pet owner, it takes patience, diligence, and commitment to teach your dog these commands appropriately. 

Pair these sessions with morning exercises to give them a good sleep at night. It also makes them highly sociable and knowledgeable of their surroundings. Training is a significant part of a dog’s life for various reasons. As a pet parent if your dog other understands commands it will make your life much easier in the long run with them.

And setting the commands for ever dog is the start-up for further advanced training in the future. Apart from providing them with mental stimulation – which takes away their anxieties, it also allows them to be physically active.

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