Owning a puppy is a long-term commitment and a lot of work. It’s also very rewarding. Along with taking care of a puppy comes training your puppy so that you can help them stay safe and healthy and interact safely with others. Here are 10 basic commands every dog should know:
“Sit” is one of the most basic commands your dog should know. This can help make it easier to give them food, put a leash on, or any number of things. It’s also a great tool to redirect your dog’s attention. If they have mastered the “sit” command, you can use it when they’re getting overexcited, moving around too much, or are too distracted in order to re-center their attention.
“Stay” is particularly useful, especially when you are trying to enter or exit your house, the dog park, the car, or anywhere else. This ensures your pup knows to stay put while you move around, get in the door with bags, or leave.
“Come” is a necessary command for any dog, especially if they are training to walk off-leash. It’s also useful for any situation where your dog is running free or on a long lead. If you’re in the dog park and they’re getting too far away, “come” will bring them back to your side.
If you’re anywhere and an unknown element enters the picture, like an unfamiliar person or a potentially wary dog, “come” can be used so you can quickly remove your dog from a situation if need be. It’s also extremely useful when your dog is distracted in the yard and you need them to come back inside.
Dogs can get excited and start jumping on people. In some situations, it’s probably fine. However, you don’t want a dog to jump up unless they have permission to do so. So, “down” is a great command for your dog to know. It’s not only for jumping up on people; it can also be used to direct your dog to get off of something he shouldn’t be on as well.
5. Leave It
“Leave it” is invaluable for a variety of situations. When you’re walking outside and your dog starts to get into something they shouldn’t, “leave it” means they’ll leave it alone and know it’s not for them. This is also helpful at home when you drop something on the floor. You can use “leave it” and then pick things up instead of racing your dog to get to it first.
A variation of “leave it” is “drop it”. You can use “leave it” for both situations, but some dog owners prefer to use “leave it” and “drop it” to train for two different situations. “Leave it” so the dog understands this is not for them and to leave it alone and “drop it” so the dog understands to release whatever is in their mouth. “Drop it” is useful for your dog to know so you can easily remove toys when needed or other objects that could present a choking hazard or other harmful reaction.
No one likes to be dragged around by their dog who is constantly pulling on a leash. So, training your dog to walk on a leash is important. Training your dog to respond to the “heel” command will help them walk with you on a leash and to stop when they hear the command.
If your dog sees something interesting and starts to pull, “heel” can bring their focus back to you and introduce some slack back on the leash. This is particularly helpful when meeting new people or dogs while out walking, especially if your dog is outgoing and friendly.
Training your dog to respond to “no” is incredibly helpful. It can be applied in several situations and communicates to the dog to stop what they are doing.
While “sit” is the standard, “stand” is also helpful. It can make bathing and grooming a lot easier and be helpful in other situations too.
9. Go to Bed
Teaching a dog to go to their place, whether that’s a bed or somewhere else, is incredibly helpful. It simply makes corralling them a bit easier and helps you direct them to a specific place in the home. If you need to crate your dog when you leave the house, this can be a valuable command.
Dogs are generally very excited to see you, excited to see other people they know, excited about a lot of things. When they start to get a little too rambunctious or start barking a bit too loud or too much in their excitement, “settle” is a great command to let them know they need to relax a bit. Usually, this command is paired with gentle, soothing pets.
It’s a valuable command for your dog to know, especially around children, the elderly, or anyone else they could hurt or overwhelm if they got too excited. This is also a useful command for when your dog is becoming stressed out or anxious. When used in this situation, it can offer reassurance and let them know everything is okay.
A few of these commands are nice to have on hand if your dog understands them, but most of them are essential for ensuring your dog stays safe as you navigate the world with them. Once your dog has the basics down, then you can continue training for more complicated commands and tricks. Most dogs love to continue learning, so these basic commands are great building blocks for ongoing training.