Basic commands in training your dog


Basic commands in training your dog

Dog training is the process of modifying the behavior of a dog, either for it to undertake specific activities (search and rescue, hunting, helping people with disabilities, protecting people or properties) or to help it adapt to domestic life.

There are many methods of dog training (Koehler method, clicker training, dominance-based training, relationship-based training), each having its pros and cons, but one must keep in mind that the dog must never be hit or beaten and that an accurate timing of reinforcement and a good communication between the trainer and the trainee has been proven most effective.

If you cannot afford to take your dog to a professional trainer or you simply don’t want to be apart from your dog there are a series of basic commands that you can teach your dog at home using only a leash and treats. Before starting to train your dog there are a few things that you must know:

  • a lot of people think there is a specific age at which the training can start: wrong. The training should start as soon as possible: if the dog is healthy and responds to its name, the training can begin. A balanced and obedient puppy will turn into a balanced and obedient adult;
  • dogs are pack animals and for that reason they need a pack leader. A pack leader must be strong and confident and this status must be maintained throughout the entire training process so the puppy trusts and respects its trainer;
  • between two to four months of age puppies generally cause household damage, by peeing or pooping in the house. These “accidents” must never be punished: associating its bodily functions with a punishment can cause problems later on. This situation must be handled with calm, simply by taking the puppy to place you want him to go.

A few simple commands such as: no\okay, come, sit, lie down, drop it, can make your life and your dog’s life easier and improve the communication between you two’


One of the most important things when training your dog is that it knows the meaning of “no”. It must know the meaning of “no” and “okay” before you teach it something else. Teaching this is rather easy: place a small treat in front of your dog and hold him by the leash. When he tries to eat the treat, pull slightly on the leash and firmly say no. After doing this a couple of times, say okay in an enthusiastic tone of voice and let him eat the treat.


Teaching your dog to come when called is extremely important and very easy to do. Let your dog run freely in an enclosed yard and call him. When he comes to you reward him with a treat and praise him.


The sit command is probably the best known command and can make your life easier especially when you are with your dog in public, especially in crowded places. Take a treat, make sure that your dog sees it and hold it slightly higher than your dog’s head, slowly taking it towards its back until the dog sits. While holding the treat above the dog’s head, say the command “sit” firmly and give him the treat and praise him after he sits.

Lie down

There are many ways to teach this command, but there is a method that only requires a treat. To begin you must sit down at the same level as your dog and make sure he sees the treat. Then, extend one of your legs in such a way that your dog can fit under your knee only if lying down. Say the command “lie down” as you show your dog the treat while keeping in under your knee. When the dog is correctly lying down let him have the treat and praise him.

Drop it

This is a very useful command to teach your dog, especially if it’s a puppy, because he will have the tendency to eat, bite or pick up things he finds on the ground. These things are potentially dangerous and with this command you can teach your dog to drop them. This command can be easily taught through shared possession: this means that you give your dog an object, such as a stick or toy, you let him keep it in its mouth while holding on to it yourself. While you both are holding on to the object say “drop it” firmly and when the dog drops it take the object and reward your dog.
There is another way to teach this command, the distraction method. First of all you need to get your dog’s favourite toy and let him play with it. Let him play with the toy for a minute then distract his attention from the toy by throwing treats in front of him and saying the command “drop it” at the same time. This way he will associate the command with positive reinforcement. This command as well as all other commands must be practiced over and over again, because practice is the mother of all skills.

Although there are many other useful commands, these are some basic commands that can help improve the relationship with your dog and help him become an obedient and balanced adult. If you are having difficulties in training your dog, just remember that with a calm and positive attitude even the most stubborn dog can be trained.

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