Do your neighbors complain that your pet barks at their children? If they do, then it’s time to teach it a few basic dog commands. 

A pup with no training can get in trouble for chasing a moving car or mounting a larger dog. 

Your four-legged friend needs discipline for its own sake. 

Let’s make the training sessions fun. First, you should:

Ground Rules for Dog Training

Before diving straight into basic dog training commands, follow these guidelines to ease the process:

  • Be patient and optimistic
  • Find quiet places for the first training sessions 
  • Transition to locations with some distractions
  • Stay consistent 
  • Reward your pup with praise and treats
  • Keep the training sessions short 
  • Never hit or yell at your dog during training

These tips will make the process enjoyable for both of you.

Tips to Make Training Easier

When teaching your dog basic commands, you can do a lot to improve and make the sessions more effective. Here’s how to do that.

Lots of Physical and Mental Exercises

All work and no play makes Jacky a dull and unhappy doggo. In other words, two short walks a day aren’t enough. Remember that next time you’re teaching your puppy a new command. 

Lots of daily physical and mental exercises keep your animal companion happy. Some ideas include: tug of war, catch the ball, interactive games, and toys. The crucial thing is to tire your pup, or you’ll suffer the consequences. 

Our furry pals act out when they don’t spend all their energy, and that’s when dog behavior problems occur. Besides, teaching discipline is hard if you have to worry about disobedience.

Don’t Break the Circle of Consistency

It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching top dog commands, allowing it to stay on the bed, or to ride shotgun in your car — rewarding good behavior makes your dog feel accepted.

That said, you need to set boundaries right away. Decide if your pup can sleep in the bed with you and stick to it. Our four-legged friends get confused if you let them do something once and then scold them for it. 

Everyone Needs to Chill Out First

Common mistake dog owners make is responding to their pet’s hyperactive energy with extra excitement. Unfortunately, this breeds more and more of the same. 

So, prior to engaging in dog training, learn to treat energy with calmness. Wait for your furry pal to chill out before you lay down the food, put on the leash, or let it run around in the backyard.

That’s how pups learn that staying calm earns them some fun.

Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

Most dog trainers use positive reinforcement when teaching common dog commands. After all, your cute pup is happy to finish a task for a treat. Remember how Scooby Doo did anything for a Scooby Snack and even acted as bait for spooky monsters? All dogs are like that. 

Keep in mind that using treats all the time can teach your dog to see you as a treat dispenser.

That’s the reason why you should apply positive reinforcement properly. To do that, use healthy snacks at first, and then combine them with head pats, praising, and exciting chew toys. Also, you can try a vibrating dog training collar later on.

Don’t rely on food rewards only.

Most Common Dog Commands

Let’s go over the most basic commands your puppy should know.

Sit

It’s simple, and one of the most basic dog commands as it helps a lot with energetic pups.

There are two ways to teach it:

  1. Find some healthy treats, preferably chewable ones, and show them to your pup. Don’t do anything for a while. Your dog will notice that jumping around won’t win them a reward. After that, it will sit. That’s when you say “Good boy” or “Yes,” and give them a treat. Repeat this but say “Sit” so your dog can learn the command.
  2. Hold a treat over the puppy’s nose. Move your hand over its head and make sure your pet follows. Its cute butt will go down as its head goes up. Say “Sit” as the dog is getting into the sitting position.

Once your pet learns the command, try using it without the treats but still give a reward if it’s successful.

dog in training

Down

It’s one of the essential dog commands that put your pup in a passive state. But “Down” is more challenging to teach since canines don’t like submissive and inactive states, so arm yourself with patience. You can teach the command in two ways:

  1. Bring healthy chewable treats to a small boring space, and do nothing. Wait for your pup to lie down entirely before saying “Down.” When it does, praise it and give it a treat. Repeat until the dog lies down on command but reward it for success.
  2. People tend to prefer this method more. First, get an incredibly smelly treat. Let your dog take a whiff of that divine scent, and then slowly move your hand to the floor. Remove your hand and say “No” if your pup tries to get the treat forcibly. Eventually, all dogs lie down in front of the reward, which is when you say “Down” and let it feast on it. Repeat until your furry pal lies down on command with no treats.

Stay

Along with “Sit” and “Down,” “Stay” is one of the 5 basic dog commands, and it’s the hardest to teach. After all, pups are energetic creatures that don’t like being in one place for too long. 

But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn to love it. 

First, use “Sit” or “Down” to calm down your pup. Then, say “Stay” with your open palm facing the dog. Give it affection and treats if it complies. Repeat the exercise while moving back each time. Gradually increase the time the dog spends stationary.

Be patient if your furry pal breaks the “Stay” too soon. Just say “No” and repeat.

No

It’s the most versatile of the basic dog training commands. 

Some differentiate between “Leave it” and “No.” We recommend you keep it simple and stick to “No” when your pup is naughty. Teaching this command is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it: 

Take a treat in each hand. Let your four-legged friend sniff and lick one of them. Greet any attempt to eat the snack with a firm “No.” Once the dog settles down, reward it with the tasty snack in your other hand.

Now, place an ordinary treat on the floor with your hand hovering above. When your furry pal tries to eat it, say “No,” and cover the tasty snack. As soon as the puppy stops licking and whining, reward it. 

Do this with the hovering hand moving away from the threat more and more each time.

Watch Me/Look at Me

Of all the commands to teach your dog, “Watch me” or “Look at me” is one of the most useful

We often take our four-legged friends to densely populated areas where kids, joggers, cars, and all sorts of moving objects hypnotize our dogs. That’s where the “Watch me” command comes into play, as it makes your pup focus on you

The learning process is easy. 

Look your pup in the eyes, put a treat in front of them, and then move it towards your nose. Say “Watch me” slowly with a vigilant voice. 

As soon as the dog focuses on you and not the treat, reward and shower it with affection.

Come

When you’re outside, “Come” is among the most useful common dog commands besides “Stay” and “No.” It’s also easy to learn, but you’ll need a friend’s helping hand.

Both of you sit on the floor, with your friend holding the pup. Prepare a tasty snack, open your arms, and say “Come” with a steady but lovable voice. When your cute furball complies, award it with tons of praise and a treat.

Do this exercise several times a day, increasing the distance each time. The next step is to do it outside the house. If your dog tries running somewhere, do the same in the opposite direction. It will dazzle your pet that will end up chasing you instead.

Heel

If you like peaceful walks, and, let’s be honest — everyone wants to walk their pup without leash pulling, “Heel” is one of the most important dog commands.

It’s also easy to teach. First, take the leash in one hand and a treat in the other. Then, stroll around with your furry pal. Say “Sit” and stay still for a while. After that, walk with the treat so that your dog can see it and say “Heel” a few times. Take a break, bring the treat up, and the pup will sit. Finally, it’s time for praise and a reward.

Keep practicing until your furry pal walks as it should with you at all times.

Speak and Quiet

These two basic dog commands come hand in hand so you can teach them to your pet at the same time.

Since “Speak” is a fun command for both of you, you might want to start with that. Monitor your pup closely. When you notice the signals before the bark, say “Speak” loudly right as your puppy woofs. As always, give praise and treats after.

To teach the second command, tell the dog to “Speak” and then say “Quiet” with a loud and calm voice over their barking. When it stops, give out head pats and a treat.

corgi in training

Drop It

Our goofy little furballs love putting everything in their mouths — from rocks to bones and even batteries. 

But some objects are hazardous to canines. That’s when we use “Drop it,” which is one of the easy dog commands to teach and learn. Here’s how to do it.

Get two copies of an exciting chewable toy. Let your pet gnaw one for a while, and then say “Drop it” while offering the other. Once it does, reward your puppy with a treat and lots of love. Keep practicing until it learns to drop anything on command.

Place/Crate/Bed

It’s one of the more advanced dog commands. Remember that your pup must know the “Down” command first. 

First, select a place you want your pet to go to, like the crate or the bed, and pick a word. “Place” is the most common one.

Now, say it and lead your furry friend to the chosen place with a treat. Once you’re there, repeat the command, and then use “Down,” accompanied by treats and head pats.

Practice multiple times a day, increase the time your dog spends in its place, and do it in different rooms. 

Clicker Training and Hand Signals

You can improve positive reinforcement training with clickers.

When the dog makes an association between the tool and a reward, you’ll condition it for basic dog commands. Besides, even the advanced ones will be easier to pull off.

Clickers are just noisemakers. But the sound they make is tied to your pup’s successful training. Once your four-legged friend does something right, use the clicker to mark that action. For example, as soon as your pup’s cute furry bottom sits down, apply the clicker. 

The dog will come to associate the sound with the correct action.

What’s Clicker Training?

In short, it’s a way to improve basic dog obedience commands training. It’s not necessary, but it eases the process and helps your pet learn quicker. Why is that? 

Clarity during training is incredibly useful. Teaching dog basic commands with treats works fine, but does your furry friend understand that the reward is for lying down? With the clicker, you can make the sound in the second their belly touches the floor, which creates a clear association.

Since your pet only hears this sound in a training session, in time, it’ll motivate it to work harder and think of the “click” as “reward time.”

Make sure your four-legged friend falls in love with the clicker immediately. Take some special treats with you for the first session with it. Here’s how it should go.

Bring your dog to a quiet area. Then click and immediately give a tasty snack. Repeat about ten times or more. 

So, how to train a dog basic commands with the clicker? Just teach it that the click sound means a treat is coming.

Hand Signals to Teach Your Dog

Do you know that you can use your hand as an alternative to the clicker? To be precise, I’m talking about hand signals — visual cues that accompany a voice command.

They work best at the start of the training and particularly well with puppies.

As humans grow old, some have trouble hearing. It’s the same with our adorable pets, so having a visual command helps a lot during that time.

Let’s see what the basic dog commands hand signals are and how you can teach them to your furry pal.

Before Training

Before you learn how to train a dog with hand signals, let’s go over the basic requirements. 

Your furry pal needs to associate the verbal command with the hand signal. Keep it simple so the pup can understand it. Remember to reinforce good behavior consistently with lots of love, head pats, and tasty treats.

If your pup already knows basic commands like “Sit” and “Stay,” learning hand signals will be a breeze. Make sure you treat this training as a priority and do it daily. As time passes and your dog responds well, slowly stop giving treats.

Sit

It’s among the essential dog commands. 

First, open up your hand with some spacing between your fingers and face the dog. 

Second, move your hand down, and say “Sit” while doing it. 

Once the pup learns the command, reward it with treats and praise.

Come

It’s another one of the basic dog obedience commands that’s always helpful when you’re outside.

Start with your hands by your side. Then, move your hands towards your chest or, in the case of one arm, the opposite shoulder, and say “Come” loudly.

Dish out the rewards when your pup complies.

a husky dog relaxing on the training ground

Stay

Teaching your dog basic commands like “Stay” should come after learning what “Sit” means.

The principle is similar — point your open hand with the palm aiming towards the dog and issue the command. Then, move slowly away from the pup. If it remains in place, throw a treat and praise it.

The “Stay” command can be extremely useful, especially if your dog is following you everywhere.  

Watch Me/Look

How to train a puppy to pay attention to you? 

Dogs have a built-in aptitude for learning human signals, so the “Watch me” or “Look” commands are a good start.

Begin by pointing at your eyes with an index finger and saying either “Watch me” or “Look” while gazing directly at your pup. Once it maintains eye contact for five seconds or longer, reward it.

Then, you can move on to objects. Point your index finger at a toy, say “Look,” and keep looking at the toy yourself. Without moving your head, check if the dog is doing the same. Reward it for success.

Lie Down

Make sure your pup knows the basic dog commands list before moving on to this hand signal. 

Now, hold a delicious treat with your middle finger and thumb while pointing at your chest with an index finger. Point down with it, move the reward to the ground and say “Lie down” or “Down.”

Only praise and reward your pup once it’s entirely on the ground. 

Conclusion

Here are the most significant points to remember:

  • Start basic training as soon as your pup arrives home.
  • Never use physical punishment or yelling.
  • Always have a healthy treat for a reward.
  • Be patient and consistent.

Now you know the basic dog commands and can teach your furry pal with a clicker, or hand signals. 

We wish you success in your upcoming pet training. 

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