Dog Training: 10 Basic Commands to Train A Dog, from a Dog Trainer Expert

Published: 12/18/2020
Do you have a frolicking new puppy in your life who could use a little training? Or perhaps your faithful older dog needs a brush-up on commands learned in the past.

The old saying, “it’s never too late to train an old dog new tricks” still holds true. And in the same vein, it is also never too early to start teaching a puppy the tried and true rules of great doggo behavior.

Canines thrive on dog training! Using their super-keen brains to the max, along with moving their athletic bodies is just what our treasured tail-waggers love to do! Allow your pupster to show you their incredible smarts by teaching them the following 10 basic commands, provided by Darlene Stott, one of the dog training experts that work with Wag!.

You’ll enjoy yourself immensely, your pooch will be very proud, and no doubt, the two of you will further cement the most special bond between pet parent and furry best friend.

Before you start training, there are a few key things to know:
  • Patience is essential! Your doggo will not pick up every command “just like that”.
  • Practice every day for between 5 and 20 minutes
  • When you first start training, work in an area free of distractions. Get the commands down pat at home and then practice in public.
  • Always reward your pooch, whether it is with a high-value healthy treat or loving praise.
  • Never punish your dog in any circumstance.
  • Perfect one command first and then move on to the next.
  • Keep the training FUN and plan activities that you can do afterward as a well-deserved reward.
  • When releasing your dog from a task, always use a cheerful tone and a release word such as “okay!” to excite your dog about their good work.
  • Always end the session on a high note before your furry buddy is tired and has had enough.
    Stop the training at a point when your pooch has had success and is content with their efforts.
#1. Sit

Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most vital commands. It is an excellent “stepping stone” to pawsome behavior and a good basis for the lessons to follow. There are a few methods you can use to train your dog on how to “sit”.

The Food Lure Method, for example, involves you leading your dog to the desired position. Kneel in front of your dog, say “sit”, and lead the treat over the head. Your pooch will naturally move into a sitting position. You can also guide the hind end down. For more detail, see instructions here: Train Your Dog to Sit.

#2. Come

A foolproof recall is necessary. This requisite command keeps your pupster safe. If they run in the road after a squirrel or in pursuit of a wayward tennis ball, the “come” command will have them return to you no matter what.

Using the Round Robin Method makes fine-tuning the “come” command to perfection a fun training exercise. Learn three foolproof methods for teaching recall here: Train Your Dog to Come.


#3. Down

Some dogs will find this a tricky task because they don’t necessarily want to be put in this passive position. It’s an indispensable command, however, to train your dog to stay in place and wait for further instructions.

Have one of your pupster’s favorite rewards in hand and guide them to the floor, giving the command “down” as they move. Perfect it with the easy steps: Train Your Dog Down”.

#4. Leave It

This command may protect your pooch. Imagine that your curious canine heads for a piece of garbage on the sidewalk when you are out for a walk. The “leave it” command will prevent your pup from eating something that could potentially make them sick.

Make training fun with the Obstacle Course Method taught here: Train Your Dog to Leave It.


#5. Stay

Another essential command, “stay” ensures that your woofer waits where you have placed them until you give the “okay!” signal. A dog that knows “stay” is a true pleasure to have around, for example, when guests arrive and the dog calmly waits in place before greeting them.

Building on the “sit” command is the From Sit Method. Your dog will be taught to “stay” by gradually increasing time increments of staying put: Train Your Dog to Stay.


#6. Drop It

The “drop it” command is similar to “leave it”. Drop it comes in handy if you have a puppy that likes to chew, or if your dog picks up something without you noticing. Save them from a potentially noxious substance or from ingesting something that could cause an intestinal blockage.

“Drop it” can be taught via a few fun methods. The Exchange Method is particularly useful for training a dog who gets excited over toys: Train Your Dog to Drop It.

#7. Heel

When a dog learns the “heel” command, they are benefitting from knowing how to focus. Focusing lays the groundwork for many commands. Training your dog to walk beside you also means that your neighborhood promenades will be both fun and pleasant—fun for the dog because they’ll be exploring and training at the same time, and pleasant for you because your dog will be well-behaved.

The Stop and Go Method makes learning to “heel” a game: Train Your Dog to Heel.


#8. Wait

When needing to check if Mr. Bunny has left the fenced-in yard before you let your dog out, “wait” is an essential command for a critter-loving canine to know. Keep your pooch from pouncing on wildlife by having them wait inside while you send the bunny on their way.

Your dog can sit, stand, or lie down while waiting: Train Your Dog to Wait.

#9. Off

It’s important to differentiate between “down” and “off”. They are not the same at all. A dog who jumps on people or counter-surfs, for instance, should be taught “off”. 

Make sure that your dog masters “down” as it is meant to be used, and “off” as a way to keep your pupster off the furniture or to order them to stop jumping on people: Train Your Dog Off.


#10. Stand

“Stand” may seem like a simple thing to ask, but training your dog to stand properly for grooming, for being examined at the vet, and for participating in dog shows and fun competitions is all-important.

The “stand” command also gets your dog familiar with being touched, so the vet visits are not so intimidating: Train Your Dog to Stand.

Last thoughts..so why should you train your dog? 
Why is dog training important? 

  • To keep your dog under control
  • To give your dog confidence
  • To provide leadership for your dog
  • To keep them safe
  • To avoid behavioral problems 
  • To help your dog focus
  • To help them use up mental and physical energy
Teach your dogs these commands and have a puptastic time doing so. By using the tips provided and keeping a pawsitive attitude, you’ll soon have the best-behaved dog on the block!