Popular Commands to Teach Your Dog

>> 10/14/09

When you bring a dog into your home, you also take on certain responsibilities and those include teaching your pet some specific, useful commands. These are commands that are going to come in handy throughout your relationship with your pet and that will help your pet be a better companion.

Below is a breakdown of some of these commands and how to teach them to your favorite canine.

Command: Sit

The first command you should ever teach your dog is "Sit." This is going to be integral to so many other commands that it needs to be mastered as soon as possible.

To teach your dog the command, start by holding a tasty treat above his nose. Now move the treat backward over his head. As his nose moves to follow the treat, he'll sit down. The moment his hindquarters hit the ground you should praise him and give him the treat.

Don't try to force your dog to sit by pushing on his rear quarters. This can actually do damage to their vulnerable hindquarters.

When your dog can sit on command, you can move onto the next command.

Command: Stay

Another vital command for your dog to learn is "Stay." This command will help you gain control over your dog which could be very useful in some situations.

To teach this command, you first need to have your dog sit. Now place your hand and a treat in front of your dog's nose. Say the command, "Stay." Now walk away a couple of steps. If the dog remains seated, you can release him by using a command such as "Release" or "Free." When your dog comes to you, put him back into a sit position, reward, and praise him.

Keep repeating the process regularly. Each time you can move further away from your dog or wait longer periods of time before releasing him.

Command: Come

Another command that will help keep you in control of your dog is "Come." Once you have mastered "Sit" and "Stay," you can begin working on this command which can be useful if your dog ends up off leash or is getting into trouble in or out of the house.

To teach this command, you will either need a large area indoors or a long leash outdoors. You can purchase leashes that are up to 30 feet in length.

Start by having your dog stay then move a short distance from your dog and say "Come." Ideally, your dog will come to you and will stand or sit in front of you or beside you. If that happens, praise and reward with a treat. Occasionally, your dog may try to run past you. When that happens, you need to grab his collar before he gets too far. Bring him back to where you want him, put him in the position you want, then reward and praise.

Keep repeating this command with and without distractions. You can also increase the distance between the two of you before you give the command.

Command: Take

Another command you want to teach your dog is "take." This command is going to help you actually teach your dog certain behaviors you don't want. For example, if you want your dog to not steal food off the table, teaching this command can prevent that type of behavior.

To teach this command, put your dog in a sit position. Place a treat in the palm of your hand and hold it out to your dog. If he tries to take it, close your hand. When he moves his nose and mouth away from the treat, open it up again and hold it there. After a bit of time, say "Take" and allow your dog to eat the treat.

Keep repeating this process frequently so you can teach your dog to only take things on command.

Command: Off

To make your dog a good citizen, you want him to also learn "Off." This command is a little different than some of the others. For one, it can be used for a wide range of purposes, including teaching your dog not to jump on people or telling your dog to get off of the couch.

Consider how you are most likely to use the command and start practicing that way. For example, if you want to use the command for keeping your dog off the furniture, encourage your dog to jump up on the couch then say the command and move him off the couch. When he gets down, praise him and reward him.

Keep repeating as long as necessary.

These aren't the only commands you might want to teach your dog but they will serve as the basis for most of the more advanced commands.

David Beart is the owner of the PetYak. Our site covers site covers everything from dog training and raising puppies to nutrition and dog trivia.

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