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The 4 Basic Dog Commands Every Dog Should Know

Updated on July 6, 2012

Robbie - My first Malinois

A properly positioned "sit"
A properly positioned "sit"

There are a 4 basic obedience dog commands every dog can and should know. With these four commands you and your dog will find that you will enjoy each other more.

The first command is a "correction" command. Whether you use "No", "Stop", "Bad", etc... is probably the most important command. Lets face it, dogs are not robots, nor should they be. We have dogs for their love, personalities and usefulness. Every dog at some point will do something they should not be, or something that you do not want them to do. This is why you need a strong correction command to stop the behavior.

The second command that all dog should know and have is a Reliable recall ("Come") command. A great example of the usefulness of this command would be: You and your dog are out for a walk and they see a rabbit that just starts to run a way from the dog. Your dog instinctually starts to chase the rabbit. What you dog does not see is the four-lane road that the rabbit just crossed. Do you think your dog will stop and look for cars? You need to be able to tell your dog to stop and come back to you.

The third command will help lead into other obedience. "Down" in which I mean "Lie-down". There are so many time in which the "down" command is useful. Think of every time you are out with your dog, and need to do something else, answer the door for a delivery, or let you friends in. The reason that I feel the "down" command is such a necessity is that it will lead into so many other uses, such as not jumping up on people, waiting at doorways, etc.

The fourth command that every dog should know is "Stay". I look at the "stay command as an extension of the "down" command, just reinforced for a longer time. If you happen to see a competition obedience dog a "down" command means drop into a position and do not move, but stay means drop and stay there. Stay lying down, but i you need to shift your weight around its ok, you will be there for a few minutes.

With the four above commands you and your dog will realize how much easier and more enjoyable life can and will be with an obedient dog. Speaking from my life experiences always having a dog growing up, I loved my dogs as a child, but as an adult now and having obedient dogs life is so much more enjoyable, an truly love spending time with my dogs.

Beyond the four basic and necessary commands you can also consider: Sit, take your place (go lie on your bed), Pick up your toys (Yes you can teach your dog to pick up after itself), there are a multitude of commands you can teach your dog. Even to advance your dogs training and spend more time with your best friend you ca also try a dog sport such as; Dock Diving, agility, fly ball, therapy, hunting (retrieving, Gun Dog and flushing of birds), or even a protection sport like Schutzhund (A German sport involving Obedeince, Protection - Bite work, and Tracking), IPO, French Ring, or KNPV (The Dutch Police Dog Certification). If any of these other activities sound fun, please check for a local club in your area so that you can see more first hand.

If you are considering a European dog sport please think a lot about it, it is challenging training that comes with a lot of liability. So Please contact a qualified trainer. Thank you for reading my hubs, Please feel free to leave comments, questions, or ideas for other articles. Thanks ;)

Desert Dog Police K9 Trials (Scottsdale, AZ)


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    • Beelady profile image


      6 years ago

      Great stuff! Voted useful. I'm loving the pic of Robbie!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great information! Thank you!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      6 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      This is informative indeed. Well, my Kuvasz boy knows all of them. He choses to ignore these commands when he sees other dogs, especially of his age, and toddlers. He is extremely friendly with them.

    • Bugg Adventures profile image

      Bugg Adventures 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Interesting & useful information! More pictures would be helpful though the police video is a great addition. Thanks for sharing!

    • wynnestudios profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Great information but that video of the police dog competition rocks!


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