Mastering 9 Must-Know Dog Commands

Dog commands

Dog commands training is not just a recommended practice but an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. It provides numerous benefits to both dogs and their owners. This essay explores the reasons why it is necessary to train commands for dogs, emphasising the importance of safety, communication, behavioural control, bonding, social interaction, mental stimulation, and confidence building.

Dog commands training contributes to the overall well-being and happiness of both dogs and their owners. By investing time and effort in training their pets to correctly respond to dog commands, dog owners can create a positive and fulfilling relationship with their pets. Dog commands training also teaches dogs to respond appropriately to dynamic social situations. It also enhances the owner’s experience and ability to effectively manage their furry companions.

The question now is, which dog commands are most important for a pet dog to learn? Which commands help with their holistic development, while also enabling them to happily and peacefully co-exist with humans? Here is a list of the top 10 essential dog commands to teach your dog:


Dog commands

Teaching your dog to sit on command is one of the fundamental commands. It helps with control and encourages polite behaviour. Here’s how to train your dog to sit:

  • Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose, and then slowly move your hand upward. This will cause your dog to follow the treat and naturally lower their rear end into a sitting position.
  • Once your dog is in a sitting position, say the command “Sit” in a clear, firm voice.
  • Immediately after saying the command, praise your dog and give them the treat as a reward.
  • Repeat this process several times, gradually phasing out the use of the treat and relying more on the verbal command and praise.


Dog commands

Teaching your dog to stay in one place until given permission to movel is important for their safety and control. Here are some tips for training your dog to stay:

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position. Hold your hand out in front of their face, palm toward them, and say the command “Stay” in a clear, firm voice.
  • Take a step back, but stay close to your dog. If they remain in the sitting position without moving, immediately return to them, offer verbal praise, and reward them with a treat.
  • Gradually increase the distance and duration of the stay, always returning to your dog to reward them for staying.
  • Practice the “Stay” command in different areas and gradually introduce distractions, reinforcing the behavior with positive reinforcement.

Lie Down

Dog commands

Teaching your dog to lie down on command provides them with a comfortable resting position and helps with control. Here’s how to train your dog to lie down:

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position. Hold a treat close to their nose and slowly lower it straight down towards the ground, between their front paws.
  • As your dog follows the treat and begins to lower their body to reach it, say the command “Lie Down” in a clear, firm voice.
  • Once your dog is in the down position, reward them with the treat and provide verbal praise.
  • Repeat the process, gradually reducing the lure of the treat and using an empty hand gesture instead.
  • Practice the “Lie Down” command in different locations and gradually introduce distractions, reinforcing the behavior with rewards.


Teaching your dog to come when called is crucial for their safety and control. Here’s how to train your dog to come:

  • Begin in a quiet, contained place with few distractions. Get down to your dog’s level and say their name followed by the command “Come” in a clear, enthusiastic voice.
  • Encourage your dog to come to you by patting your legs, opening your arms, or using other inviting gestures.
  • When your dog starts coming towards you, provide verbal praise and reinforcement.
  • When your dog reaches you, reward them immediately with a treat and plenty of praise.
  • Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog and practice in different environments, reinforcing the behavior with positive responses.

Leave it

Dog commands

Teaching your dog to leave items alone is essential for their safety and helps prevent them from picking up or engaging with unwanted or potentially harmful objects. Here’s how to train your dog to leave it:

  • Start with a low-value item in your closed fist. Allow your dog to sniff and investigate your hand.
  • When your dog shows interest, say the command “Leave it” in a clear, firm voice.
  • Close your hand and withhold the item. When your dog loses interest, praise them and offer a different, more desirable treat or toy.
  • Gradually progress to placing items on the ground and practicing with higher-value objects, thereby reinforcing the behavior. Remember to employ positive reinforcement as motivation to follow your command. 


Teaching your dog to get off or down from furniture or people is essential for their manners and respect for personal space. Here’s how to train your dog to get off:

  • When your dog is on furniture or jumps up on someone, use a firm and clear command, such as “Off” or “Down.”
  • Simultaneously, use a hand gesture or gently guide your dog off the furniture or away from the person.
  • Once your dog complies and gets off, immediately praise them and provide a reward or attention.
  • Be consistent in using the command and reinforce the desired behavior by rewarding your dog when they respond appropriately.

Drop it

Teaching your dog to release objects from their mouth helps prevent them from swallowing harmful items or engaging in undesirable behavior. Here’s how to train your dog to drop it:

  • Start by offering your dog a toy or object they enjoy playing with.
  • Allow them to hold it in their mouth for a moment, and then show them a high-value treat.
  • Say the command “Drop it” in a clear, firm voice while presenting the treat.
  • As your dog drops the object to take the treat, praise them and reward them with the treat.
  • Practice this command with different toys and objects, gradually phasing out the treat rewards but continuing to offer verbal praise and occasional treats for compliance.


Teaching your dog to wait helps with impulse control and can prevent them from rushing through doors or boundaries. Here’s how to train your dog to wait:

  • Begin with your dog on a leash or in a controlled environment.
  • Ask your dog to sit or stand, and then put your hand up, palm facing them, and say the command “Wait” in a clear, firm voice.
  • Take a step or two back while maintaining eye contact with your dog.
  • If your dog stays in position and doesn’t move forward, return to them, praise them, and offer a reward.
  • Gradually increase the duration and distance of the wait command, reinforcing the behavior with treats and rewards.


Teaching your dog to walk politely by your side on a loose leash is important for enjoyable walks. To train your dog to heel, follow these steps:

  • Start with your dog on a leash and hold it in your preferred walking position.
  • Begin walking and say the command “Heel” in a clear, firm voice.
  • Keep your dog close to your side, using treats or verbal cues to encourage them to maintain the position.
  • Reward your dog for walking nicely by your side without pulling or lagging behind.
  • Practice the heel command during walks, reinforcing the behavior with praise and occasional treats.

Remember, consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key when training your dog. Break down each command into smaller steps, gradually increase difficulty, and practice in different environments to generalise the behaviour. Reward your dog for their successes and provide clear, consistent cues and praise. With time and practice, your dog will learn these essential commands and become a well-behaved companion.

In conclusion, dog commands training is not merely a luxury or optional activity, but a necessary responsibility for dog owners. It ensures the safety, well-being, and social adaptability of dogs while strengthening the bond and communication between dogs and their owners. Also check out our other blog on Mastering pet training to create a harmonious relationship with your pet. By investing in training, dog owners create an enriching environment that promotes positive behaviour, mental stimulation, and a harmonious coexistence. Dog commands training sets the foundation for a well-behaved and happy dog, resulting in a more enjoyable and fulfilling companionship for both the owner and the pet.

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