Training a dog to learn commands can be frustrating when they don’t understand, but with time and patience, you will see how worth it it is to teach your puppy these basic commands. Some can save your dog’s life. Others will just make both of your lives easier.

1. Sit

Sit Dog Command

Sit is the most basic, yet essential command that every dog should know. Luckily, it is one of, if not the easiest tricks to teach.

Check out our article: How to Train Your Dog to Sit Using Positive Reinforcement

2. Stay

Stay Dog Command

Teaching your dog to stay in place when he is excited and distracted by something dangerous like a passing car or wild animal can be a life saver– literally.

Some dogs aren’t very street smart and obediently following this command without hesitation can stop a lot of excited dogs from getting hurt.

3. Come

Teaching your dog to come or heel is another essential command that shows he respects you and enjoys your company. When a dog learns come or heel and obeys you every time, it means he trusts you and is eager to be by your side again.

If he comes on command after having his eyes on a squirrel, you just got major doggy respect points!

4. Drop It

Yet another potentially life-saving command is drop it! This is especially good for puppies who are in the stages of exploring the world with their mouth. Puppies often pick up sewing needles, pins, pennies, and other small objects that can damage their esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

Teach this trick at an early age to avoid unnecessary vet visits!

5. Wait

One of my favorite commands, wait is vital to raising a respectful and patient dog. Dogs act on instinct only and don’t think before they act.

Teaching wait is a good way to give your pupper an idea of manners and teach him that not everything has to happen right now! I really enjoy using this to train puppies into waiting for their food. Sit, wait, pause, and then they get their food.

6. Watch Me

Similar to come, this command brings all of your dog’s focus and attention on you. This is another great command for keeping your puppy out of trouble at a moment’s notice. Watch me involves getting into firm (but not threatening) eye contact with your dog.

This will prevent him from being distracted by passing folly that honestly, would just get him into trouble anyway.

7. Down

Down Dog Command

Nobody likes a hyper, loud, and unruly dog when they come home. Teaching down is a good way to teach your dog to calm his nerves when he becomes excited. Other dog owners will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to teach Fido some manners in greeting humans.

It also comes in handy when Fido takes a climb onto the kitchen table, whether for a better view of the living room or for that roast beef you were about to enjoy.

8. Back

If your dog is very clingy like mine or maybe has aggressive tendencies, back is a fantastic command. It shows that you are the alpha and that your space and your voice matters. If Fido keeps getting too close to you, a simple and firm, “Back!” should make him back off.

If he’s getting a little too friendly with Mr. Snuggles, your cat who lives a little on the wild side, yell, “Back!” and if your dog is smart enough to listen, will avoid some kitty jiu-jitsu tail whoopin.

9. Crate / Bedtime

Sometimes, rowdy dogs just never know when to quit. Just like children, they must be reminded when it’s bedtime, otherwise, they’d just go all night!

Crate/Bedtime are good commands for dogs who get too hyper or need a little redirection form jumping into your bed when they’re pooped. Point to their crate or bed while using this command until they head to their cozy spot and be sure to give them a treat when they do.

10. No

No means no! So when Fido keeps trying to grab the Thanksgiving dinner off of the counter, which you spent five hours on, be sure he knows that you mean business. A firm, but not threatening “No!” is usually enough to stop a bad dog in his tracks.

11. Shh

Some of our furry friends bark and whine more than others. If you have a yappy yorkie or a whiny weimaraner, a soft “Shh” should quiet them down. Once they’re quiet, give them a treat to show them they’ve got the right idea!

Just make sure never to toss a treat to a whining or barking dog, they will think that the sound is what gets them the rewards!

12. High Five

High Five Dog Command

Ok maybe this one isn’t essential like the others, but it’s darn cute and easy to teach. Hold up your hand and wait for your dog to put his paw up to yours. When he does, use your clicker if you have one and give him a treat and lots of praise.

Congratulations! You both got a high five for learning twelve essential commands for a good, safe dog!

Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog

Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog

For those dogs who just won’t seem to listen, whether it’s a new puppy or old dog in need of new tricks, this book is filled with practical advice, anecdotes, tips, and trouble-shooting techniques

Happy training!

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