5 Basic Commands to Teach Your Dog

5 Basic Commands to Teach Your Dog

Your dog is your best friend and a beloved family member, but do they have the manners to be a good member of society? Teaching your dog 5 basic commands to keep them controlled and friendly is an important key in the safety of your dog, your family and friends as well as other people’s pets. You can teach your dog these commands at home or sign them up for doggy training school, which can help to socialize them with other dogs! Here are the 5 basic commands Karla’s Pet Care recommends you teach your dog.

1. Sit

This is the first and easiest command that most people teach their dog or puppy. It’s a great starting point, and relatively simple for your dog to master. As with many commands, using positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate and reward your pup. Typically, positive reinforcement means treats, but it can also mean a toy, depending on your dog’s personality.  To teach your dog to sit, hold a treat close to your dogs’ nose. Then, move your hand up, causing their head to follow the treat. This will cause their bottom to naturally lower to the floor. Once he’s in the sitting position, say the word ‘sit’ and reward them with food (or a toy) and praise. Keep repeating this a few times a day until they’ve got it down. You can then use the command when you need it, like before mealtimes or when leashing your dog before a walk.

2. Stay or Wait

The ‘sit’ command is a great segue into teaching the ‘stay’ or ‘wait’ command. You start with the same way you teach ‘sit’ as described above, but instead of giving the treat when they sit you say ‘stay’ or ‘wait’ and take a few steps back.   If your pup stays put, give them a treat and lots of praise. If they don’t stay put, say ‘no’ and gradually move farther away. Anytime they remain in the ‘sit’ position without moving, even if you’ve only stepped a short distance away, reward them. This will help your dog figure out when he is doing the right thing and when he’s not.

3. Down or Lay Down

Believe it or not, this is one of the tougher commands to teach a dog, as it puts the dog is a passive and submissive position. To teach this command, put a particularly good smelling treat in your hand, and close it. Now, move your hand close to your pups’ nose and wait for them to smell the treat. As soon as they smell the treat, move your hand to the floor. Your dog should follow since they’re being enticed by the smell. Move your hand along the floor, prompting your dog to follow the food in the down position. Once they are successfully laying down say the command ‘down’ or ‘lay down’ and give them the treat and lots of praise. Keeping a positive and relaxed demeanor when teaching this command can make the process a whole lot easier. You’ll need to practice this several times a day for it to be effective, but this is one of the most useful commands for a dog to learn.

4. Come

This command is very handy for dog owners, especially if they lose control of the leash or the dog runs out the front door unexpectedly. To teach this command, put a leash and collar or harness on your dog, and get down on their level. Say the command ‘come’ while gently pulling on their leash and give them a treat and some praise when they get to you. Keep repeating this until they’ve mastered the command on a leash. Once that’s happened, you can move on to off-leash training in a safe and enclosed space.

5. No

This is one of the most essential commands for any dog owner, and it’s probably the word you’ll use most frequently with your dog. It’s used to stop any unwanted behavior that your pup displays. To teach the ‘no’ command, all you’ll need is treats and a leash. Place a treat on the ground and walk your dog towards it. As soon as your dog moves to grab the treat, firmly state the ‘no’ command and gently pull your dog away from the treat and towards you. Keep walking, and then give the dog a treat from your hand and praise them. Keep repeating this command over and over on a daily basis until your dog masters it.

Once your dog has consistently mastered one of the commands, it is time to introduce the three D’s of dog training known as Distraction, Distance and Duration.  For example, once your dog has learned to stay, you’ll want to increase the distance and duration until you can walk around the room for unlimited time and your dog will stay.   To increase distractions, have someone else walk in the room and around the dog without saying anything. You can use the three D’s in for each of these commands.

Dogs learn best by applying positive reinforcement rather than negative punishment.  You should never yell or strike your dog or punish them for not performing a command.  Instead, ignore bad or unwanted behavior and reward positive behavior. If you follow this approach you and your dog will have a lot of fun during the training process. 

If you need pet sitting or dog walking, be sure to contact Karla’s Pet Care and we will take care of your pet sitting and dog walking needs.




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