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Five Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know

Updated on December 23, 2015
Five Commands Every Dog Should Know
Their name

Their Name


First things first - every dog should know their name. This is your attention grabber. You should be able to say your dog's name, and they should stop what they are doing and look at you. Having the ability to get your dog's attention is vital for them to be a good training companion.

Many people think it is as simple as calling the dog by their name regularly; there is more to it than that. You want your dog to not only know their name, but also answer to it. The trick here is to reward your pup every time they look at you after you say their name. This teaches them that their name means "it's time to pay attention to my person".

Does your pup listen when you say their name?

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This is a handy command! This asks your pup to go to a designated area (i.e. dog bed) and stay there until asked otherwise. They can do whatever they want as long as they stay on their "area". This takes patience by rewarding your dog for stay on their "area" and slowly extending the amount of time they stay there. Eventually, they'll be happy to be on their designated area.

This is a great tool for when company is coming over, and you don't want your pup bombarding them. It's also useful when your sitting down for dinner and don't want your pup right in your lap begging.



This is a simple command that most dogs are taught at some point. Many of them pick it up, because this is the go-to begging position. Most people don't know that you can get so much more out of this command!

Most dogs sit, get a treat, then wander off to do whatever they want. As a handler, you should be able to ask your dog to sit, reward them, and they should stay in that position until you "free" them. This becomes useful in similar ways to the "climb" command. You can use it to restrict your pup while company comes through the door or while putting dinner together.


I've have been talking about it this whole article, so of course it makes the list! The "free" command releases your dog from any previously given command. Any command you give should be followed until you say "free". This give you the flexibility and reliability that comes with having a dog that will follow your lead until told otherwise, rather than them choosing when they get to stop listening.

As important as this is to release your pup, it is equally important to reward them for listening when you say "free". Give them a treat or toy when they listen to you, and let them go about their business until the next command is given!



This isn't typically viewed as a command. Most handlers know this command as "the word they scream at their dog when they're stealing food off the counter". However, this is an actual command that has to be taught. In order to teach your pup what "no" means, follow any unwanted behavior with a firm "no" and some sort of correction (i.e. collar correction or whatever your training style suggests).

Training your dog to understand and listen to these commands is the first step in finding a truly healthy relationship between you and your companion!


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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 23 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Like knowing these basic commands. We don't have dogs but often have dogs around as guests so these are handy to know.