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Top 11 Commands Your Dog Should Know

Training your dog is one of the most important things you can do to make your life as a dog owner better. Even if your dog only learns a few basic commands, it will make handling him easier, whether you are taking him for a walk or having company over to your house. More importantly, these commands may even be able to save your dog’s life. For example, if your dog is about to run into traffic or he has something dangerous in his mouth, your commands can prevent a tragic accident.

When to Start Training Your Dog

Essentially, the best time to start training your dog or puppy is the day you bring him home. Dogs are pack animals by nature and every dog will look for a pack leader to guide him. If at least one member of your household does not step up to the plate and take this pack leader role over, your dog will assume the responsibility. This could lead to a variety of behavior problems and make your dog hard to train and control.

It is best to establish your role as the leader as soon as possible, and early obedience training can help with this process. Training does take patience, commitment, and consistency, but life with your dog will be a lot easier once the basic commands are well established.

Top 11 Commands

There are dozens of commands you could teach your dog, but some commands are more important than other ones. You should start with the basic commands that will make it easier to handle your dog when you are at home or when you are out and about, like when playing at the dog park, visiting the dog groomers, or going to the vets.

1. His Name

Your dog should learn his name as quickly as possible. Make sure everyone in the household is using the same name when talking directly to the dog. Nicknames can be cute and fun, but they can also be confusing to your dog. Understanding this basic command is very important if your dog is not listening to you. It will draw his attention back to you. In addition, if your dog is ever lost, it is important to know that he will respond to you calling his name.

2. Come

“Come” is a very basic command that is pretty simple to teach a dog of any age. This order will teach your dog to stop whatever he is doing and to return to you immediately. This can be very beneficial if your dog breaks loose because it will command him to return to you immediately. It can also be used when playing fetch to tell your dog to bring the ball back to you.

3. Sit

“Sit” is another basic command that every dog should know. Using this order can calm your dog down if he becomes overly excited. For example, if the doorbell rings, your dog may instantly be excited and run towards the door. The “sit” command will give you time to settle him down briefly before opening the door. This command can also be used before going on a walk because it will give you time to attach your dog’s leash to his collar.

4. Stay

The “stay” command takes the “sit” order one step further and forces your dog to remain still in one location, until you release him from the position. This is a crucial command for your dog to learn, but it is also more difficult to teach, especially during times when your dog is very excited. However, it is an important command that can stop your dog from approaching a stranger or from getting into a dangerous situation.

5. Lie Down

If your dog is very excited and having a difficult time remaining in the “stay” position then the “lie down” command may be helpful. This will order your dog not just to remain in place, but also to lie down right where he is. Just the act of lying down can help to calm your dog and reduce his excitement level. It also reduces the risk of him running off.

6. No

All dogs should learn the “no” command as early as possible. Just like with a baby, this command will tell your dog instantly that he cannot do whatever action he is either doing or about to be doing. This order can do everything from stopping your dog from chewing on your shoes to jumping up on people to taking food off the table, and everything in-between.

7. Heal

This command is most often used when walking your dog on a leash. It can be used if your dog starts to pull on the leash or if he is not following your directions. Dogs are easily distracted, especially while walking. Other animals, unfamiliar sounds or sights, and strangers can all distract your dog and cause him to stop allowing you to lead him on the walk. A simple command, like “heal” will bring his attention back to you.

8. Get It

While this is not necessarily a command that will be used to protect your dog, it will help you have a lot of fun playing catch. This command will direct your dog to go get something, such as a ball or Frisbee. If you use the “get it” command consistently when playing fetch, this will not be a difficult command to teach your dog.

9. Drop It

The “drop it” command will also help when playing fetch because it will order your dog to drop whatever is in his mouth instantly. However, this order can also be used if your dog picked up something that could be dangerous, such as a chicken bone, electric wires, or chocolate. It can also stop him from chewing on things that you do not want destroyed, like your shoes.

10. Okay

If you are going to train your dog in obedience, he must learn the “okay” command. This will release him from some types of orders, such as “stay” or “lie down.” Your dog should learn to remain in these commands until you release him with a simple “okay” order.

11. Go Potty

This command should be taught in conjunction with housebreaking training. You can use the command “go potty,” “get busy,” “do your business,” or any other similar command to direct you dog to relieve himself. This should be taught as soon as you start housebreaking and consistently throughout the life of your dog.

The trick really is to start training your puppy as soon as possible. If you find yourself having trouble teaching your dog any of these command, you can seek out help from a professional dog trainer. The trainer will help you establish a leadership role with your dog and help you teach him at least the basic commands, such as sit, down, and stay. Once these commands are taught, you can continue working on the other orders.

Once your dog is fully trained, things like going for a walk, playing at the local dog park, or even going to dog groomers Tucson will be less stressful. You will even have an easier time handling your dog when you have guests over to your home. While it will take some time and dedication to train your dog properly, it will be well worth it in the end.

Looking for more training ideas? ASPCA

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