The 5 Commands You Must Teach Your Dog

Photo by Jonathan Slater on Unsplash
Photo by Jonathan Slater on Unsplash


Let’s face it: There are tons of tricks and commands for your dog to learn. But which ones are most important? Which ones can help keep your dog safe and make him or her even more fun to be around?


Although there are lots of behaviors that can make your dog a better canine citizen, a few are absolutely essential to their well-being. Here are five commands to teach your dog:




One of the most important commands you can teach your dog is “come.” Not only will this ensure that your pet comes over to you when it’s time to eat, be groomed, or go for a walk, it’s also an essential command for keeping your dog out of trouble.


Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash


Imagine what would happen if your dog were distracted by another pet, or if they managed to run out an open door into the front yard, toward a busy street. If they know the “Come” command, your dog will be far more likely to return to you rather than getting into a fight or being hit by a car.


Luckily, the “Come” command is one of the fastest, easiest commands to teach your dog – and it’s one you’ll use many times each day, so once it’s well-ingrained, it’ll be very easy to reinforce.


Teaching your dog to come is fun for both of you! Start here: This complete guide shows you how to teach your dog to come on command, whatever their age.


Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash
Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash



Sitting is the opposite of jumping, so it’s seen as good, friendly behavior, and it can keep your pet out of trouble. Sitting is also the starting position for many other desirable behaviors: Whether you want your pooch to learn to greet people politely or do cute tricks such as waving goodbye or shaking hands, they need to be sitting consistently before going on to the next trick.


You can also have your dog sit if they’re heading for trouble and you’d rather not have them come all the way back to you. For instance, imagine that your dog managed to run across a street toward a group of children playing. The “sit” command stops them in their tracks before they frighten anyone, and it keeps them from crossing the street again on their own. Sitting is a natural behavior that’s easy to reinforce when you know how.


Drop It

Dogs are curious. They love to play, and lots of that play involves picking things up with their mouths. But the items dogs choose to play with might not always be safe, and they might not be items that you want to have chewed into oblivion.


Photo by Aaron Andary on Unsplash
Photo by Aaron Andary on Unsplash


This guide to teaching the “Drop it” or “Give” command shows you how to teach your dog to eagerly hand over whatever they’ve got, no matter what.


Lie Down

Just like the “sit” command, the “down” or “lie down” command can keep your pet from getting into trouble, plus it can get them to calm down for quiet time, bedtime, visits with guests, and other occasions when calm behavior will be appreciated.


“Lie down” can also be the starting point for other behaviors and fun tricks. You do want to make sure that your dog knows how to lie down on command before you get started with extras, and like every other command that you teach your dog, you’ll want to have a friendly, relaxed approach and be in a positive frame of mind.  


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash


Down Stay

Once your pooch has mastered come, sit, and lie down, you can teach them how to do a down stay. Just like some other important dog commands, this one can keep your pet out of harm’s way in an emergency – just like a good dog harness. Be sure to work gradually and practice the down stay command often. It takes time for dogs to learn patience and in the beginning, it can be tough for them to understand exactly what we want them to do.


These five commands serve as a good foundation for great behavior. They keep your dog safer in all kinds of situations, and they make your pooch even more fun to spend time with. Once your dog knows the basics, be sure to keep working on training!


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Emma Williams

Emma is a pet-parent to two four-legged friends, and enjoys sharing her knowledge on animal behaviour, health and training.

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