Life-Changing Commands That You Should Teach Your Dog

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There are a few essential commands that are super important to teach your dog. All dogs should know the basics of sit, lay down, and come so that they can be a well-mannered dog. These simple commands could even potentially save your dog’s life! When they listen to basic commands you give them it can help them avoid dangerous situations. The best part is that these life-changing commands are really simple to teach your dog. Most dogs can master them after a few tries (and lots of treats)! Start with the basics of sit, lay down, and come, to set the foundations to ensure you have a well-behaved dog!

The best way to teach your dog the basics are to start at the beginning! Start your training with the sit command and then once they master that, you can work your way up to the others. Follow these easy steps to teach your dog the essential communication commands they need to know:

Command #1: Sit

“Sit” is a basic command that every dog needs to know. When you teach your dog to sit, it will help you keep your dog in control. If they are sitting, then they can’t be running and jumping! The best way to approach this command is to simply lure your pup into sitting position. Here’s how to teach your dog to “sit”:

  1. First, grab a treat.
  2. Show your dog the treat and let them smell it so they understand it is a treat.
  3. While keeping the treat in your hand and saying “sit”, pull your hand slightly over his/her head. Their natural reaction will be to look up, and eventually put their butt down. Tip: If your dog just isn’t getting it, you can also help show them what you want by gently pushing their rear down into the sitting position while saying “sit”.
  4. Once your dog is in the sitting position, you should give him the treat right away. You want to reward them for doing what you asked. As you give the treat, also give positive speech reinforcement, such as “good dog”, so they know you are pleased with them! Remember to only give the treat if your dog sits for you, otherwise, you are rewarding them for not doing it. Then they’ll realize they don’t have to listen but they’ll still get a treat. So stick to your guns and only reward with a treat when they actually do sit.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 over and over a few times a day. Most dogs pick the sit command up pretty quickly. Once they’ve got it down, you can just use positive speech reinforcement when they sit for you instead of continuing to give a treat every time.

Command #2: Lay Down

This is a great command, especially when you need a little bit of a break. Teach your dog it is time for them to go lay down. The best way to teach this command is to use a similar technique as with teaching sit only you will be moving your “treat hand” differently. Here are the steps:

  1. Follow the “Sit” steps 1-3 to first make your dog sit.
  2. Once they are sitting, say “lay down” and move your treat hand farther down towards the floor. This should influence your dog to move their head down to follow your hand, and then their body should follow the same movement. It may take a few tries for them to understand what you’re asking them to do, but once they are laying, reward your dog with the treat and lots of praise right away!
  3. Practice makes perfect, so keep practicing “lay down” frequently with your dog so they get the hang of it.

Command #3: Come

The “come” command will be very useful when you need to get your dog’s attention and have them come to you. This can help if your dog is getting into something that they shouldn’t or when you need them to avoid others! The easiest and most fun way to teach your dog the “come” command is to start with a game:

  1. Grab a tennis ball or your dog’s favorite toy.
  2. Simply throw the toy and once your dog picks up the toy, loudly say “come”.
  3. When your dog brings the toy back to you, reward them with a tiny treat and lots of praise.
  4. As always, keep practicing. The goal is to for your dog to understand “come” without the toy needing to be in the picture. Once your dog does well with coming back with the toy, start introducing the word “come” in other situations. If your dog is in a different room or across the yard start using “come” so they always associate it with coming to you. Reward them in each situation so it continues to be something they get excited to do!

Command #4: Rollover 

The “rollover” command isn’t necessarily an essential command, but we wanted to throw a fun command in, too! Rollover can be a bit trickier for some dogs to understand, but it’s one that is really exciting to help them learn. When they’ve mastered it, it’s also a great trick to show off how cool your dog is to your friends! Here’s how to master it:

  1. First have your dog sit.
  2. Then have your dog lay down.
  3. Once they are laying down, slowly and cautiously roll your dog over the first time while saying “rollover”.
  4. Now that they know the end goal, have them lay down again. This time, with a treat in your hand, say “rollover” while passing your treat hand over the top of their head, from one side of their head to the other. They will follow the motion with their eyes, which will help their body start the motion of rolling over. Keep repeating the motion, while saying “rollover” until your dog starts to do it. They may need some assistance at first.
  5. Rolling over typically takes a little while for dogs to learn, so keep repeating these steps until your dog starts to rollover on their own! Give them lots of praise and treats every time they successfully rollover.

It’s Worth The Training

You will be so happy when your dog masters each of these simple communication commands! Make sure to have lots of your dog’s favorite training treats, since motivation is key! Enjoy your time teaching and learning with your dog. It’s a great way to bond with your dog, and your dog will love you for it!


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