dog walking with leash

What are the 7 basic dog commands? (Simple Steps!)

Dogs are the most loyal animals on earth. They can make you feel good when you’re feeling down, and they will always be there for you. But in order to have a happy relationship with your pet, it’s important that they know what commands to obey.

In this article, we will explore the topic What are the 7 basic dog commands? It’s crucial that every owner understands their pets, so they can take care of them better and train them to do tricks or live together in harmony.

What are the 7 basic dog commands?

At the very least, all dogs should know the basic dog commands of sit, stay, heel, come, down, off and no. Teaching your dog these 7 commands will help you control your dog in various situations and give him a sense of purpose and structure. There’s no need to get a trainer or buy expensive equipment-all it takes is patience and these helpful tips.

1.) Sit

Teaching your dog to sit is one of the easiest and most important commands you can teach. Teaching your dog to sit will make your walks together much more enjoyable, help keep your dog safe, and help you prevent behavior problems such as jumping up on guests or barking for attention.

Follow these steps to teach your dog to sit:

  • Get Ready

Choose a quiet place in your house where you can work with him without distractions. Make sure there are no treats or toys around that could distract him.

If he finishes his training session without making a mistake, give him a few minutes to play with a favorite toy so that he ends on a positive note.

  • Give the Command

Say “sit” in a firm, clear voice as you push gently down on his rear end. If he doesn’t sit right away, take your hand off his backside and wait until he sits of his own accord. Then praise him enthusiastically and give him a treat while he’s still sitting.

If he sits down but then gets up right away, give the command again and repeat the procedure until he stays sitting for several seconds before getting his reward.

It may take several repetitions before he understands what “sit” means, but be patient and continue giving the command and enforcing it

2.) Stay

The stay command can be one of the more challenging commands in dog obedience. That’s why it’s important to start with a good foundation before you begin teaching your dog to stay.

This means your dog should already know how to sit and lie down on command without getting up until you release him. Once your dog knows how to sit and lie down on command, he is ready to learn how to stay.

The first step in teaching your dog to stay is to ask him to sit or lie down on your left side, with his shoulder in line with your knee. Then, with your palm facing out and your fingers pointing up, say ‘stay’ while taking one big step directly in front of him.

If he stays put, reward him immediately with a treat. If he gets up and follows you, say ‘no’ but don’t give him a treat this time. Instead, get back into position for another try.

At first, keep the stay short – only about three seconds – so that your dog can succeed more often than not. After several repetitions, gradually increase the length of time you expect him to stay before giving him a treat.*

3.) Lay down

How to Teach Your Dog to Lay Down – Step by Step.

The trick, “lay down,” is also called “down.” To teach your dog this trick, you’ll want to use a treat as a reward. Follow these steps:

  • Hold the treat in your closed hand near your dog’s nose
  • Move your hand slowly down to the ground and away from your body.
  • As soon as your dog lies down, say “down” and give him the treat. The key is that you want to reward him quickly for lying down. Don’t wait for him to lie all the way down on his belly.
  • Repeat Steps 1 through 3 until your dog begins to lie down when you move your hand away from his nose and toward the ground.
  • When he begins to lie down with the motion of your hand, stop giving him a treat every time he goes into a down position. Instead, give him a treat just when he does it without the motion of your hand or after holding it for about five seconds or longer

4.) Come

Dog owners are often amazed at how quickly their dog can learn to come when called if they make the exercise fun and rewarding. It’s easy to teach your dog to come back to you, no matter how far away he is or what he’s doing.

The first step is to choose a command word or phrase. You may want to use “come,” or you may want to use another word or phrase such as “here,” “back,” “to me,” or “this way.”

Choose something that is easy for your dog to understand and that is also easy for you to say in an emergency situation. For example, it might not be a good idea to choose a command word that sounds like other words you commonly use in conversation, such as “come on in” or “excuse me.”

Next, get your dog excited about coming to you whenever you call his name by using your command word and then offering him a treat or reward when he gets to you.

Initially, it may help if someone else holds onto your dog while you stand 10 feet away with the treat in your hand. Get your dog excited by praising him, shaking the treat until he/she comes to you. Repeat several times daily for best success.

5.) Heel

Teaching your dog to heel is the best way to control his behavior when out on a walk, and is therefore essential if you want to enjoy the experience. Heeling is a learned behavior and takes time, patience and training.

Start off with a training collar. The most effective collar for teaching a dog to heel is a head collar or halter. These fit around your dog’s nose like a horse halter, with a loop around his neck. Once you put the collar on, your dog’s head will be turned toward you, and he will be much easier to control.

Stand by your dog’s left side, facing forward, with a leash attached to the head collar and held in your right hand at waist level. Hold the end of the leash in your left hand. Take one step forward and say “heel” as your dog moves with you.

This tells him that he should stay next to you at all times while walking. He might resist this at first, but continue practicing until he understands what’s expected of him.

It may take several weeks before he gets it right every single time, so give it time and don’t get frustrated with him if he can’t do it immediately.

6.) Drop Command

The ‘drop’ command is a handy one to teach your dog, but it’s not always an easy one. Many people have a problem with their dog letting go of objects they like. It could be anything from a ball to a shoe, or even your arm! The best way to teach ‘drop’ is by using treats.

Ask your dog to drop, and as he does so, reward him with a treat. If he doesn’t take the treat straight away, you can use it to get his attention and encourage him to take it out of your hand, but don’t put it down on the floor where he might think you want him to lie down.

If your dog has a favorite toy, use that as his reward instead, and keep it separate from other toys. When he drops the object you are asking for, you can give him his favorite toy as his reward. This will increase the value of that toy and make sure that he is motivated by it, because he knows he only gets it if he does what you ask.

7.) Off Command

The off command is very useful, because it allows you to keep your dog from jumping up on people or damaging things. To teach the off command, start by having your dog sit.

Using a treat and repeating the command, move your hand up and over the dog’s head so that he has to lie down in order to follow it. Once he is lying down, praise him and give him a treat.

Practice this several times until your dog gets the hang of it. Next, have your dog lie down and repeat the command while moving your hand up and over his head so he has to get into a standing position in order to follow it.

When he is standing, praise him and give him a treat. Keep practicing this until your dog gets the idea that off means standup as well as lie down. When training, always remember to keep things fun for you and your pet by keeping sessions short and sweet!

Image by Katrin B. from Pixabay

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the first thing you should train your puppy?

The first thing you should train your puppy is how to respond to the word “no.” It’s not enough just to say it once. You need to repeat it over and over again until they get it. This will help them learn boundaries in their own life, as well as with other people and animals. Once they know what this word means, then you can teach them some of the more complicated commands like sit or stay. 

When should I start socializing my puppy?

A dog’s socialization window is a very important time for them to learn about the world. Dogs that are not properly socialized can become fearful, anxious, and aggressive later in life. What experts recommend, is that it’s best to start as early as possible – ideally around 5-7 weeks old.

Why do dogs lick you?

Dogs do tend to lick their owner’s faces as an affectionate gesture. This behaviour often occurs when they are separated from their owners and when they greet them upon their return home after a long absence. The licking behaviour can also occur when humans are sick, fearful, excited or happy.

Can I train my dog myself?

No matter how big or small your dog is, you can train them yourself. However, some dogs will be easier to train than others. You’ll need patience and the willingness to spend time with your dog every day for a few weeks in order to see results. The most important thing you can do when training your pup is establishing who’s boss – don’t let him push you around! Start by teaching basic commands like “sit” and “stay.”

What age should a puppy be house trained by?

Puppies are often house-trained by the age of 3 to 4 months. This means that they should be potty-trained before their first birthday, and most puppies have mastered this skill before 6 months old. Puppies who haven’t been potty-trained by this time will need more supervision from their owners. 

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  • Karin S

    Welcome to All About My Small Dog, where my love for small dogs and years of hands-on experience meet your need for trusted information. As a dedicated small dog enthusiast and pet parent, I'm deeply committed to sharing expert insights, reliable advice, and a community of support. Every blog you read here is crafted with the utmost care, guided by my passion and expertise. You can trust that you're in the right place for valuable insights and a warm community that understands the unique joys and challenges of small dog ownership. Together, we'll make sure your small dog's world is filled with love, care, and knowledge.