Essential Dog Training Commands

Few of us are paid dog trainers, and so training might seem like a daunting and dreadful task! However, there are a few basic, simple techniques and principles even a small child could execute; these are extremely simple to teach!

‘Sit’ Training Command

This is one of the simplest dog training commands you will ever teach, and won’t take very long at all! Start off with your pup leashed, and a bag of treats in hand. Placing your hand behind your dog’s back so he can’t back up, ‘lure’ his body upward with a treat. His nose will follow the treat like a hook, eventually causing him to sit.

Simultaneously, say sit (name of dog following), reward him immediately after he does, and praise the accomplishment. Repeat this a few times, then a few times the following day; before long, your pup will make the connection- When master says sit, it means I sit down and get a treat! Consider researching the ‘lure and reward’ principle!


"Down" Command

This usually comes second, after the ‘sit’ command, and is also very easy to teach! Have your pup ‘sit’. Now, ‘lure’ his nose downward to a lying position with the treat. Once he is in the desired position, say ‘down’, and give him the treat. Be sure to praise successful completions. It is as simple as that!

You’ll need to repeat this several times, but space them out. Like ‘sit’ above, it won’t take your pup long before he makes the connection!


Recall Command

This is one of the easiest commands in the book! It is also perhaps one of the most important commands you will ever teach your pet; in the case of dangerous animals (snakes) or busy roads, it could save your dog’s life.

Step 1: Start out with your pup sitting directly in front of you; speak a command word (“Here” works nicely), and offer the treat simultaneously. Repeat this a few times.

Step 2: Move a distance away, and repeat step one. Continue to do this a few times.

Step 3: Now- try your recall from behind doors, around corners or in other rooms. By this time, your dog has solidified ‘Here (or whatever word you use) means I will get a treat! Add lots of praise! Try to make yourself the most interesting thing in the world! Dogs have a short attention span and are easily distracted.

There are several ways to teach a recall; this being the easiest. The simple fact is- if your dog’s attention is diverted to something else more desirable, they will ignore your recall and continue with what they are doing. So- make yourself more desirable than everything else!

In the old days, trainers would attach long ropes to their dogs, ‘yanking’ them sharply if they were ignored; that is no longer suggested. Today, many handlers prefer the simple correction a ‘shock’ collar offers, but that is still uncomfortable and not suggested by most. The method recommended above avoids any aversive form of pain or punishment/correction.


You could consider attaching a long training rope, offering a slight ‘tug’, only to get your pup’s attention. Don’t yank him or tug overly hard.



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