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Dog training: Basic commands every dog owner should know

February 2024 | Highpaw stories

Bringing a pet into your life and family is a heartwarming experience, but it comes with many responsibilities, including effective training. Dog training goes beyond simple obedience. It's about forging a deep and harmonious connection between you and your four-legged friend. This is why we will delve into the fundamental dog training commands that every responsible dog owner should master. These commands not only establish control over the dog, but also create the basis for a harmonious and balanced relationship with your beloved pet.


Cornerstone of obedience – the “sit” command

Teaching your dog to sit is the first step in establishing control and setting the tone for obedience training. A dog that understands the “sit” command is easier to manage in various situations. The best way to do this is to hold a treat close to your dog's nose. Then slowly raise your hand with the treat above their head, guide them into a sitting position, and promptly reward them with praise and treats. Consistency is key to reinforcing this fundamental command!



“Stay” – cultivating patience and self-control

The “stay” command is a vital tool for instilling patience and self-control in your dog. It ensures that your furry friend remains in one place until given the signal to move, contributing to a well-mannered pet. Start with your dog in a sitting position, open your palm in front of their face, say “stay”, take a step back, and reward them for maintaining the position. Gradually increase the duration of the stay and introduce distractions for more advanced training.


A lifesaving command – “come”

“Come” is not just a convenient command, it can be a lifesaver in different situations. This command enhances your dog's safety and strengthens the bond between you, allowing you to call your dog back in potentially hazardous situations. The best training technique it to use a long leash for control, crouch down, open your arms, say “come”, and reward your dog with treats and praise. Practice in various environments and slowly increase the distance to reinforce a reliable recall.



The “down” command – encouraging calmness and respect

Teaching your dog to lie down on command promotes calm behavior, especially useful during moments that require stillness, such as when guests arrive or during meals. Start with your dog in a sitting position, hold a treat in your hand, lower it to the ground, say “down”, and reward them when they lie down. Steadiness in commands and positive reinforcement will help solidify this essential behavior.


Preventing unwanted interactions – the “leave it” command

The “leave it” command is a valuable tool for stopping your dog from engaging with something they shouldn't, whether it's a tempting item on the ground or an undesired interaction with another animal.

To teach your dog this command, hold a treat in your closed hand, let your dog sniff and paw it, say “leave it”, and reward your dog with a different treat when they stop showing interest. Little by little raise the level of difficulty by introducing more enticing items.


Ensuring safety and cooperation with the “drop it” command

The “drop it” command is an indispensable command for preventing hazards and fostering cooperation, especially during playtime when dogs may pick up objects they shouldn't. To learn this new skill, offer the dog a toy, show another treat, say “drop it”, and reward them once they release the item. As with all other commands, consistency and positive reinforcement are extra important to make sure that your dog understands and obeys this crucial command.



Mastering leash etiquette 

The “heel” command is a must for mastering leash etiquette and ensuring enjoyable walks and public outings with your young dog full of curiosity and urge for investigation and exploration. A well-behaved dog on a leash contributes to a positive and stress-free walking experience for both the owner and the pet. To train this technique start with your dog on a leash, hold treats close to your leg, say “heel”, and reward them when they stay close. Mastering this command will provide you with greater control during walks.


Acquiring these fundamental dog training commands is a significant step in fostering a well-behaved, obedient, and joyful pet. Dog training requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Tailor your approach to suit your dog's unique personality and learning style, celebrating small victories along the way. Building a strong foundation through effective training creates a fulfilling and lifelong bond between you and your furry friend. Embrace the journey, cherish the successes, and enjoy having a well-behaved and obedient dog by your side.