5 essential commands you can teach your dog

Having a trained dog isn’t the same as having a balanced dog, but if your dog knows a few basic commands, it can be helpful when tackling problem behaviors — existing ones or those that may develop in the future.


Dogs are very energetic and usually excited most of the time, so living with a dog that doesn’t listen to instructions can be as challenging as living with a disobedient child. There are many commands that can be taught to a dog, but some commands are more important than the other commands. These essential commands are not just for fun, but they can also assist you in dealing with behavior problems in your dog. That is, these essential commands will assist the dog in killing off boredom which can result in destructive behavior in dogs.

These essential commands can assist you in keeping your dog under control and also teach the dog a sense of order and structure. These commands are a way of teaching your dog basic discipline and respect for you.

The basis of teaching your dog these essential commands is based on the method of correction and reward. The method of correction that you intend on using on your dog when teaching him these essential commands should not be harsh or angry and must not involve any type of physical punishment like hurting and spanking your dog. The most effective method of correction is your voice, a firm NO should be enough for most dogs.

You can just use anything that your dog enjoys eating very much as a reward for him, most people use treats or the dog’s favorite toy as a reward whenever he gets something right. These commands are very important to all dogs regardless the dog’s size or age, but it is best to try and teach the dog these commands when he is still a puppy. These commands, if properly taught to the dog can protect the dog from danger and save them from the danger of running out in front of a car or inserting something harmful into their mouth. Some of these essential commands that you should teach your dog includes;

1. SIT

The sit command is one of the most basic and simplest commands that you should teach your dog, so it is probably best to teach your dog the SIT command first. This command helps the dog learn to focus and impulse control. Several dogs become very excited when they are about to be fed, walked or when a door is opened, so teaching your dog the SIT command assists in repressing their excitement in order to continue your activities without hindrance from the dog. Teaching your dog the SIT command also helps to teach them that it is wrong to jump on people. The sit command also helps to teach your dog a sense of order and it also helps in preventing your dog from jumping around in the house.

The steps to follow when trying to teach your dog the SIT command include;

  • Get down in front of your dog.
  • Hold a treat in close proximity to the dog’s nose.
  • Slowly move you’re the treat in your hand up, thereby allowing the dog’s head to follow the movement of the treat and causing the dog to sit as he will be unable to catch the treat in its natural position.
  • The moment the dog is in a sitting position, you say the SIT command and give him treats and praise.
  • Repeat these steps in a few times on a daily basis until your dog has fully learned the command. Practice these commands by asking your dog to SIT when he is eating, when he is going for walks and during other occasions that you would like him calm.

Some dogs might find this command harder to learn than the others, so do not get discouraged if your dog is a little slow in learning the command. Also, if you notice that your dog has lost interest in the activity or you are becoming impatient, you should stop the activity and starts again when you are both refreshed.


The COME command is a little more difficult than the SIT command, it is used to ask your dog to stop whatever he is doing and come in your direction. This command is also called a recall command. This command can be used to call your dog back whenever you lose your grip on the dog’s leash or you unintentionally leave your front door open. It is also usually used to get your dog to come to you for some cuddle time or play time. It is important that you never use the COME command whenever you plan on punishing the dog or making him do unpleasant things like taking pills, this will discourage the dog from coming the next time you use the command. Use the COME command when you want the dog to come to you for good things and by doing so he will be encouraged and not discouraged to come whenever you use the command. This command is also used to protect a dog from harm by calling him when he is in a dangerous situation like in front of a speeding car.

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The steps to follow when trying to teach your dog the COME command include;

  • First, put a leash and a collar on your dog.
  • Get down in front of him.
  • Pull on the leash gently with a treat in your other hand and say COME.
  • Reward him with treats and praise.
  • Repeat these steps on a daily basis until he has mastered the command with a leash on.
  • Then remove the leash and practice the command in a safe and enclosed place.


The STAY command is used to stop a dog from running into dangerous situations like running in front of a car or grabbing something he should not grab. Before you attempt to teach your dog the STAY command, it is very essential that your dog had already mastered the SIT command. The STAY command is a way of teaching your dog self-control. It might prove very challenging for you and the dog because you are asking the dog to refrain from going somewhere they want to go for whatever reason they want to go there for. When you give your dog the STAY command, the dog will remain in a sitting position until he is given another command called the release word ( this is usually OK or GO).

The steps to follow when trying to teach your dog the STAY command include;

  • First, use the SIT command to make your dog sit.
  • Open your palm in front of you and say STAY.
  • Then take a few steps backward and reward him with treats and praise if he stays.
  • Then gradually increase the number of steps you take before saying the STAY command and rewarding him with treats and praise if he stays.
  • Always reward the dog for staying even if it is just for a few seconds.


The DOWN command can be one of the most challenging commands that you can teach your dog because it puts the dog in a very submissive posture. When teaching the DOWN command, it is very important that you remain calm and patient, especially if your dog has anxious dispositions. It is also a way of dealing with behavior problems like jumping and misbehaving.

  • Look for a good smelling treat.
  • Use the SIT command to make your dog sit.
  • Hold the treat in your fist and hold it up to your dog’s snout.
  • When he sniffs the treats in your hand and slowly move your hand on the ground and the dog will follow the treat with her nose.
  • Then slide your hand along the ground in front of him to make his body follow his head.
  • If the dog is not completed in a DOWN position, gently tap him downwards if necessary.
  • Once the dog has laid down say DOWN and give him a treat and praise.
  • Repeat these steps regularly on a daily basis and if your dog tries to sit up or lunges towards your hand, say NO and move your hand away. Never push him into a down position.


The DROP IT command is a very is a very useful command, it is used to tell a dog to let go of whatever is in his mouth. This command is used to protect your dog from eating harmful substances and your personal possessions. This command is also used to tell your dog to drop a frisbee if he catches it when you are playing with him.

The steps to follow when trying to teach your dog the DROP IT command include;

  • Provide your dog with a chew toy that he loves very much.
  • Then offer the dog his favorite treat in your hand and say DROP IT.
  • The moment your dog drops the chew toy and take the treats, give him a lot of praise and praise.
  • Repeat these steps several times and when the dog has started losing interest in the treats and chew toy stop the training session.

The next time you perform this activity, do it the same way by giving your dog his chew toy and hide the dog treats, then say the DROP IT command, the dog will be expecting treats and will, therefore, drop the chew toy, when he drops the chew toy, give him treats and affection.

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