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6 Essential Commands To Teach Your Dog - Daragan's Dog Guide

Dog training is an ongoing process, and one that some owners overlook. Dogs will naturally form associations with patterns, such as a bedtime routine or that putting on shoes means they might be going on a walk. Effective training uses this same pattern recognition. It is not only about teaching commands, but it is also about communication and giving you tools to keep them safe and under control when needed. For example, strong communication can keep your dog from eating something they’re not supposed to and keep them safe when out in public spaces. An untrained dog increases the risk of injury to itself and others, both inside and outside your home.

Training your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend, but it requires patience, consistency, and understanding. These are some of essential commands that every dog should learn and provide simple instructions on how to teach them.


The "sit" command is one of the most basic and essential commands for any dog. It's an excellent starting point for teaching your dog obedience and can be used to redirect their focus and help calm them down in a variety of situations.

How to teach sit:

  • Hold a treat close to your dog's nose, and slowly move your hand up, so their head follows the treat and their bottom hits the ground.

  • Say the word "sit" as soon as their bottom touches the ground.

  • Give your dog the treat and praise them.

Repeat this process several times a day until your dog can sit on command without the treat. Be sure to use positive reinforcement and praise to encourage good behavior.

Stay / Wait

The "stay" command is an essential command for keeping your dog safe in potentially dangerous situations. It's important to teach your dog to stay in one place until you tell them it's okay to move. “Wait” is another common word used for this command.

The key to success for this command is creating a clear start and finish, which means combining the initial “stay” command with a clear release command. For some people, this second command can be “release” or “ok” to let them know it’s ok to get up.

How to teach stay:

  • Start with your dog in the "sit" position.

  • Say the word "stay" and take a step back.

  • If your dog stays put, give them a treat and praise them.

  • Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog, and the amount of time you ask them to stay.

If your dog gets up before you release them, start again from the beginning and shorten the distance or time you ask them to stay.

Beware of common pitfalls that can make teaching this command difficult. First, don’t give the command with food in your hand (at least any food your dog can see). This will encourage them to follow you. Second, don’t always release your dog from a stay by calling them towards you. Practice by having them stay as you walk away and release them after you walk back to the starting point.

Come (or “Here”)

The "come" command is crucial for keeping your dog safe and ensuring that they come to you when called. It's also helpful for getting your dog's attention when they're distracted. Associating this command with high-value treats, like cheese, will encourage your dog to return more reliably. This is ideal for especially stubborn dogs.

How to teach sit:

  • Start by calling your dog's name in a happy voice.

  • When your dog looks at you, say the word "come" and pat your leg to encourage them to come to you.

  • When your dog reaches you, give them a treat and praise them.

Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog when calling them to come. Always use positive reinforcement and praise to encourage good behavior. If you use this command and then discipline your dog, they will be less likely to listen in the future.

Leave it

The "leave it" command is important for keeping your dog safe and preventing them from eating or playing with dangerous objects. It's also helpful for preventing your dog from bothering other animals or people.

How to teach “Leave It”:

  • Hold a treat in one hand and a toy or object in the other.

  • Offer the object to your dog and say "leave it."

  • When your dog looks away from the object, reward them with the treat and praise them.

Repeat this process with different objects until your dog can leave anything on command.

Drop It

Teaching your dog to drop something is excellent if they happen to get to something before you can tell them to leave it.

Teaching your dog to "drop it" is an important command that can prevent them from swallowing dangerous objects or prevent them from chewing on items that they shouldn't. Here's a simple method to teach your dog how to drop it:

  • Start with a toy that your dog enjoys playing with. Give them the toy and let them play with it for a few seconds.

  • Take another toy or treat and hold it out to your dog while saying "drop it" in a calm but firm voice.

  • As your dog drops the first toy to take the new one, give them the treat and praise them enthusiastically.

  • Repeat this process several times, gradually extending the amount of time you ask your dog to hold the toy before asking them to drop it.

Once your dog has got the hang of dropping the toy, try practicing the command in different situations and with different toys. Remember to always reward your dog with treats and praise when they drop the toy on command.

With patience and consistency, you can teach your dog to drop it and keep them safe from harmful objects.

If you are looking for support when training your dog or are looking to address more than basic training, get in touch with Daragan's Dog Care! We offer one-on-one training services.


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