Basic Commands for your Dog

Having a core set of commands that your dog understands and follows is a good idea when establishing the relationship. Canines are pack animals and also look for rules to the power hierarchy. Remembering that you are always the alpha dog will help keep them both happy and safe.

It is innate for the canine to want to serve or please their master. This dynamic will help keep them safe while they are young and vulnerable. And it will help keep them content that they know their role in the pack. Additionally, when you as a fur parent can be confident that they know what is expected of them, you can foster a more loving and healthy environment. Without undue worries that your pet will either hurt themselves or others, you can reduce your stress in keeping a pet and sharing that experience with other people who come into your life.

There may be no singular set of rules that your dog must learn from the get-go, so I have cobbled together some of the most popular to begin with has well as the essential ideas to keep in mind as you begin their training. In my opinion, the biggest concept to idea to grasp is that you are not only training your dog, but also yourself. And that means being both clear in your communications and consistent.

On a personal note, I must admit that my dogs basically ignore me unless they think they might get a treat. They are very well behaved generally. And I do think small dogs are pretty smart (I adore Chihuahuas as you know) but they tend to do as they please. So yeah… some of this may seem like pie in the sky, but I also believe it is never to late to start a new good habit. Maybe one day we will get there in the Newcomb household!


Some other action points of good training to consider include: [source]

  • Be patient and regular
  • Do not to push the dog too hard at the start
  • Find a quiet place for the exercises – to avoid distractions
  • Make learning sessions short and simple
  • Make training exercises consistent and a regular thing
  • Never punish your dog
  • Practice at home or garden first before exercising commands publicly
  • Reward the dog for being good
  • Show him what you want him to know- force will not help
  • Teach the dog new commands as soon as he properly learns an old one
  • Make training fun & entertaining

50 Dog Training Commands


An article by Juliana Weiss-Roessler at very clearly explains five basic commands to start with:


  • Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
  • Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.
  • Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection.


  • Put a leash and collar on your dog.
  • Go down to his level and say, “Come,” while gently pulling on the leash.
  • When he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.


  • Find a particularly good smelling treat, and hold it in your closed fist.
  • Hold your hand up to your dog’s snout. When he sniffs it, move your hand to the floor, so he follows.
  • Then slide your hand along the ground in front of him to encourage his body to follow his head.
  • Once he’s in the down position, say “Down,” give him the treat, and share affection.


  • First, ask your dog to “Sit.”
  • Then open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say “Stay.”
  • Take a few steps back. Reward him with a treat and affection if he stays.
  • Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.
  • Always reward your pup for staying put — even if it’s just for a few seconds.

Leave it

  • Place a treat in both hands.
  • Show him one enclosed fist with the treat inside, and say, “Leave it.”
  • Let him lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try to get it — and ignore the behaviors.
  • Once he stops trying, give him the treat from the other hand.
  • Repeat until your dog moves away from that first fist when you say, “Leave it.”
  • Next, only give your dog the treat when he moves away from that first fist and also looks up at you.



The more I researched this topic in order to boil it down to a concise list, the more I realized that I could probably go on for pages discussing important commands. There were lists for “Top 10 Basic Cue Words,” “7 Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know,” “15 Essential Commands to teach Your Dog,” “Dog Training Commands: Basic to Advanced” and so on.

On YouTube there are countless videos on basic training and instruction. I especially prefer ones that are a little more focused with clear visual tutorials like Robert Cabral’s “Dog Training Video Playlist.” His video on How to Teach Your Puppy to STAY is a good place to start as well. Remember, your dog won’t be learning or practicing these commands in a vacuum. there will be plenty of distractions that include sounds, smells, wild animals like squirrels and birds, and of course other dogs. I like the fact that many of Cabral’s videos include multiple pets at once.




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