Basic dog commands

4A well-trained dog is a happy dog. Here are some tips to help you train your dog to obey the most basic commands.


When using the “come” command, you should first call your dog by name followed by “come.” This will help get the dog’s attention so that he will be more attentive to the next command. It will also let the dog know that you are speaking directly to him and not to someone else.

Always encourage your puppy to “come” with enthusiastic praise and lots of encouragement. Keep in mind that no two dogs or puppies are alike so you will have to adjust your training methods according to the individual. Try to avoid calling him in a threatening tone as he may associate this with being scolded.

If he begins to ignore you and acts as if he does not hear you, attach a long leash to him so you can reel him in to you after you give him one command to “come.” This way you are not repeating the
command and your dog will learn to come when he is called.


One of the most important things to keep in mind with this command is to make yourself more interesting than anything else around you during your walks. Give your dog a reason to stay with you, talk to him, give him a “sit” command, stop, make him lie down for one second—in short, make it an interesting walk.

Begin your walk by telling your dog to “heel”; use his name first to get his attention and be very enthusiastic as you give the command. Do not forget to talk to him so he pays attention to you. Be sure to praise him when he is in the correct heel position, which is on your left with his right shoulder in line with your left hip.

Training tips for “heeling”

    • If your dog insists on pulling ahead, work with him in small counterclockwise circles. This will encourage him to pay attention to you as you are walking.
    • Play with your dog in your backyard and allow him to burn off some excess energy before you try to take him out for a controlled walk.
    • Do not let your dog eliminate anywhere he chooses. This type of behavior is also known as a “leader” behavior, which allows him a feeling of being in charge and could also lead to “territorial” behavior.

Using “off” to prevent jumping

Dogs will jump up on people for one reason: to get attention. Teach your puppy or dog to “sit” for attention or praise of any kind. When he jumps on you, use your lowered tone of voice and lean towards the dog saying “off.” He will have no choice but to back away from you and when he does, teach him to “sit” by firmly planting his bottom on the ground. Offer him calm praise for obeying you. Soon all you will have to say to your dog is “sit” and he will comply readily because he knows he will be rewarded.

Training tips to prevent jumping

      • Attach your leash to his collar so he can’t jump on you and run away. Tell him “off,” then “sit” (help him into this position if necessary) and finally praise him calmly.
      • Offering too much excited praise will reinforce his bad habit, so be calm in your praise. However, you cannot expect him to be calm if you are talking to him in your cutest baby talk.

Tricks for treats

There are many ways you can treat your dog to better training, including:

    • Treat and train your pet after a play session. After a rousing game of fetch, let your dog know who’s in command and reward him with a treat.
    • End every grooming session with a treat. Teach your dog the reward of good grooming by giving him a treat after brushing.
    • Never give a treat without a trick. Always make your dog obey some kind of command before rewarding him with a treat.

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