5 basic commands to teach your dog

5 Commands to teach dog

Sit, Come, Down, Stay, Leave It

Having a trained dog isn’t the same as having a balanced dog, but if your dog knows a few basic commands, it can be helpful in tackling problem behaviors — existing ones or those that may develop in the future.

So where do you start to practice dog obedience? You could take a class, but you don’t need to; you can do it yourself. In fact, it can be fun for you and your dog, with the right attitude!

Following are easy 5 commands to teach dog


This is one of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach, so starting with that is a good one.

  • Keep a treat near your dog’s nose.
  • Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and bringing down his bottom.
  • Say “Sit,” give him the treat and share affection, once he’s in sitting position.

Repeat that sequence several times a day until your dog has mastered it. Then ask your dog to sit in front of mealtime, when you leave for walks and in other situations where you would like him to be calm and seated.


This command can help keep a dog out of trouble, if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open, bring him back to you.

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  • Put your dog on a leash and collar.
  • Go down to his level, and say, “Come,” while pulling the leash gently.
  • Reward him with affection and a treat when he approaches you.
  • Once the leash has mastered it, remove it — and exercise the command in a secure, enclosed zone.


This may be one of the more difficult dog-obedience-training commands. Why? For what? Because that position is a submissive stance. You can help, especially with fearful or anxious dogs, by keeping the training positive and relaxed.

  • Find a delightful smelling treat, and hold it in your fist.
  • Hold your hand onto the snout of your dog. Then move your hand to the floor when he sniffs it, so he follows.
  • Then slide your hand in front of him over the ground to encourage his body to follow his head.
  • Say “down,” give him the treat, and share affection, when he is in the down position.

Repeat it every single day. If your dog is trying to sit or lung toward your hand, say “No” and take away your hand. Do not push him down and encourage your dog to take every step towards the right position. He works hard to figure it out, after all!


Make sure your dog is an expert at the “Sit” command before attempting this one.

  • First, ask your dog to “Sit.” Then open the palm of your hand in front of you and say “Stay.” Reward him if he stays, with a treat and affection.
  • Little by little increase the number of steps you take before you give the treat.
  • Always reward your pup for staying put — even though it’s only for a few seconds away.

This is a self-control exercise for your dog so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to master, especially for puppies and high-energy dogs. They want to be on the move after all, and not just sit waiting there.

Leave it

On the ground, this can help keep your dog safe when his curiosity gets better, as if he smells something intriguing but potentially dangerous! The aim is to teach your pup that for ignoring the other item, he gets something even better.

  • Put a gourmet treat in both hands.
  • Show him a fist with the delight inside, and say, “Leave it.” Let him lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try and get it — and ignore the behaviour.
  • Once he stops trying, on the other hand give him the treat.
  • When you say, “Leave it,” repeat until your dog moves away from that first fist. Next, just give your dog the treat when he moves away from that first fist and looks up at you as well.

Once your dog moves away from the first treat consistently and when you say the command gives you eye contact, you’re ready to take it on a notch. Use two different treatments for this — one that’s okay and one that’s a particularly good smelling and tasty pup favorite.

  • Say “Leave it,” put on the floor the less attractive treat and cover it with your hand.
  • Wait until your dog turns a blind eye to treating you. Then remove that treat from the floor, give him the better treatment and immediately share affection.
  • Place the less tasty treat on the floor once he has it … but don’t cover it completely with your hand. Instead, hold over the treat a bit. With the passage of time, gradually move your hand further and further until your hand is about 6 inches above.
  • Now he’s ready to practice and stand up with you! Follow the same steps but cover it with your foot if he tries to snatch the less tasty treat.

Don’t hurry the process. Remember, you ask your dog a lot. Go back to the preceding stage if you take it up a notch and he’s really struggling.

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Just these 5 commands to teach dog can help make your dog safer and communicate with him better. Your time and effort are well worth the investment. Remember, the process takes time, so if you are in the right mindset to practice calm-assertive energy and patience, only start a dog obedience training session.