Five Essential Commands You Should Teach Your Dog

Posted by Jackie Ly on

Pets are certainly one of the greatest joys in life (dogs especially!). However, if they are to be a functional member of your family, they need to be raised with some basic rules. The love and affection received from your new companion can undoubtedly be tested by unruly behaviour. While there should be a period of grace while your new pet adjusts to their surroundings and family, there will come a time when training your dog is appropriate and essential.

“Training can start from as young as 7 weeks old, and they learn fast!”

Training your dog communicates what is and what is not expected of them. The earlier you can ingrain these positive habits in your pet, the less behaviour-related trouble you'll have later. Training can start from as young as 7-8 weeks old, and they learn fast! Here are our top five essential commands to teach your pet.


Command #1: "Sit"

The 'sit' command is one of the most essential and common commands that all dogs should learn. It will be useful throughout their whole life and teaching this command sets up a basic training dynamic between your dog and you, their owner.


How to Teach It:

  1. Grab a tasty treat!
  2. Put the treat to their nose and let them smell.
  3. As you lift your hand upwards, tell them to "Sit".
  4. Make sure they sit. If your puppy's head moves up or they jump for the treat, try patting their behind to guide them into the correct sitting position.
  5. Repeat the command "Sit."
  6. As your dog successfully sits, reward them with the treat and make sure they feel special.

Sitting is fundamental, where possible, practice the command with your pal multiple times a day to nail it. 


Command #2: "Down"

The 'down' command is more advanced than 'sit.' It's also an extremely convenient tool to have in your command repertoire. The 'down' command can be used to control your dog's impulses or to get them to stay put for a long time.


How to Teach It:

  1. Get your dog to 'sit' in front of you and show them that tasty treat!
  2. Slowly lower the treat to the ground and towards you, making sure your dog follows the treat's lead.
  3. They should now be in the 'down' position. Say the word "down" and give them the treat while praising them.
  4. They may not get it right the first time, so keep practising every day. Also, you can try changing the treat 'path' to encourage the right movement from your dog.

Over time, reduce the frequency of treats until your canine student gets an A+.


Command #3: "Stay"

Ahh, the infamous 'stay' command. If you can get this right, your pet will truly be at your command! Essentially, you're telling your dog to remain still until they are told it's OK to move again. Try combining it with the 'sit' or 'down' commands for added usability.


How to Teach It:

  1. Command your dog to 'sit' or 'down,' or you can have someone hold them with a lead.
  2. Put your treat on your hand and show it to your pet.
  3. Say "Stay" as you take a step backwards.
  4. At first, your puppy pupil will move and go for the treat. Only reward them if they don't move.
  5. As you both get better, take more steps before rewarding their behaviour.

Keep building up distance while always rewarding your dog. The stay command can be handy when out and about or without a lead.


Command #4: "Leave It"

This command will be more useful for certain breeds than others. Have you ever had a curious pet that has to put everything in their mouth? Such as that lovely dinner you just prepared or a shard of glass on the side of the read. Your dog's safety might depend on this command!


How to Teach It:

  1. Get two treats, one for each hand.
  2. Display the treat to your dog, closing your fist after. 
  3. As your dog attempts to get the treat, say "Leave It."
  4. When your pet stops trying to get the treat, give them the other reward (from your other hand).
  5. You may have to repeat the command a few times. Try waiting longer before giving your dog the treat, giving them a chance to move away from your fist.
  6. As a bonus, wait for them to look at you. Then they'll really understand how serious you are!


Command #5: "Heel"

Most dogs never learn to stay under control when they're out for a walk. The 'heel' command aims to teach your dog to walk calmly next to you, not to tug and pull on the leash all the time.

How to Teach It:

  1. Put their lead on.
  2. Get your dog to 'sit.'
  3. Get a toy, ideally one that makes a noise that grabs their attention. Hold in your other hand, above and in front of your dog's head.
  4. Start walking while commanding "Heel."
  5. Use the toy to get your dog's attention. If they become distracted or unruly, stop the walk.
  6. Wait patiently until they start paying attention, squeaking the toy as needed.
  7. Once they are back paying attention, you can start walking again.

You'll need a lot of patience to train this skill successfully. Keep at it and repeat often, they'll get it eventually!

Looking to get some training time in with your canine pal? Dog Gear offers free shipping and same-day dispatch. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!




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