What Are the 7 Basic Dog Commands Every Pup Should Know?

Learn how to teach your pup the 7 basic dog commands.

7 basic dog commands every pup should know

Once you get a new dog, whether an adult shelter or a puppy, you must train them for obedience and good behavior.

However, training your pup is not just about teaching them cool tricks. It requires apt preparation and involves establishing clear communication and ensuring their safety.

A well-behaved dog should master 7 basic dog commands to become a good canine citizen. These include: Stay, Lie Down, Come, Leave It, Heel, and Off.

This article teaches you how to effectively train your beloved canine to these commands.

1. Sit

Three dogs in a sit position
Photo by Nancy Guth: Pexels

The “Sit” command is a basic command that forms the basis of obedience training. It’s the most familiar concept for dogs, hence one of the easiest to learn.

This command teaches your dog to remain seated until instructed otherwise.

To teach your dog to sit:

  • Hold a treat close to their nose.
  • Slowly move the treat upward, causing their head to follow and the rear end to lower.
  • Once in the sitting position, say “Sit” and offer the treat as a reward.

Repeat this process several times a day to help your pup master it.

Gradually phase out the treat and use the verbal command alone.

2. Stay

A dog responding to stay command
Photo by cottonbro studio

The “Stay” command is crucial for keeping your dog in one place until you permit them to move. It ensures their safety in various situations.

For instance, a pup who responds to the “stay” command won’t run into the streets if they get loose.

To teach your dog to stay:

  • Begin with your dog in the sitting position.
  • Extend your hand, palm facing towards them, and say, “Stay.”
  • Take a step backward and offer praise and a reward if they remain in place.
  • Gradually increase the duration and distance of the “Stay” command, rewarding them each time they successfully comply.

Consider teaching your pup the stay command when hungry and tired, so they will be less active to focus.

Be patient, as most dogs take a few days to understand the stay command. Plus, your pup may take several weeks to master it.

And since it ensures your dog’s safety, have a bag of kibble or treats close and practice until they’re a pro.

3. Lie Down

A dog lying down
Photo by Kelly

The “Lie Down” command teaches your dog to lower its body and lie on the ground. It lets you control your pup by keeping them in place.

Here’s how to teach your dog to lie down:

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position.
  • Hold a treat close to their nose and lower it to the ground between their paws.
  • As they follow the treat, say “Lie Down” and reward them when they assume the correct position.
  • Repeat this process, gradually replacing the hand gesture and treat with the verbal command alone.

The “lie down” command perfectly transitions to more complex techniques like playing dead or rolling over.

4. Come

A dog responding to the "come" command

If you intend to take your pup anywhere off-leash, they need to learn how to come when called.

The “Come” command is vital for recall and ensuring your dog returns to you promptly, even when distracted. It helps:

  • Get your pup out of the street when loose
  • Keep them safe at the park when a scuffle breaks out
  • Ensure they stay close when fooling around in the yard or hiking.

To teach your dog to come:

  • Begin in a quiet, enclosed area.
  • Crouch down, open your arms, and enthusiastically say, “Come.”
  • When your dog approaches you, reward them with praise, petting, and treats.
  • Practice in various environments, gradually increasing distractions and reinforcing the command consistently.

5. Leave It and No

A dog responding to the "no" command
Photo by Lisa Gromova

The “Leave It and No” command teaches your dog to ignore and not touch particular objects or items that may be harmful or undesirable.

Stick to one command to avoid confusing your dog. Consider using the “No” command to keep things simple.

Here are a few steps to teach your dog the “Leave it or No” command:

  • Start with a treat in your closed hand.
  • Present your hand to your dog and say, “Leave it.”
  • When they stop trying to get the treat, praise them and offer an alternate reward.
  • Progress to using different objects and gradually introduce the command in real-life situations.

6. Heel

A dog walking alongside a man
Photo by Snapwire

The “Heel” command trains your dog to walk calmly alongside you without pulling on the leash.

It’s a great skill to teach your pup, especially if you love walking or exercising your dog in busy urban areas with limited space on the sidewalk.

This skill is essential for strong or large dogs naturally pulling on the leash.

To teach your dog to heel:

  • Begin by walking with your dog on a leash, keeping them on your preferred side.
  • Start walking and say “Heel” while encouraging them to stay close.
  • Reward your dog for walking beside you without pulling.
  • Practice this command during walks, gradually increasing distractions and reinforcing good behavior.

7. Off

Off dog command

The “Off” command helps your dog understand that they should remove their paws from people, furniture, or other surfaces.

Here’s how to get your dog to stay off:

  • When your dog jumps on a person or object, calmly say “Off” and turn away.
  • Wait for them to have all four paws on the ground and reward them with attention and praise.
  • Consistently reinforce the command and redirect their behavior to appropriate alternatives.

Final Words

Mastering these 7 basic dog commands helps establish a strong foundation for your dog’s obedience and safety.

Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key when training your furry companion.

So invest time and effort into teaching these commands, and you will create a well-behaved dog and strengthen the bond between you and your beloved pet.

Enjoy the journey of training and nurturing a happy and obedient canine friend!


How Long Does Training a Pup to Learn the 7 Basic Dog Commands Take?

The time required to train a dog varies depending on its breed, age, and individual temperament. However, most dogs can learn these commands with consistent practice and positive reinforcement within a few weeks or months. Every dog is unique, so be patient and adjust your training approach to suit their needs.

Can I Train an Older Pup to Learn the 7 Basic Dog Commands?

Absolutely! Dogs of all ages can learn new commands and behaviors. While training an older dog may take a little more time and patience, the principles remain the same. Tailor your training sessions to be shorter and more frequent, and always use positive reinforcement to motivate and encourage your furry friend.

What If My Pup Doesn’t Respond to the 7 Basic Dog Commands Mentioned?

If your dog seems unresponsive to the 7 basic dog commands, it could be due to various factors. Consider seeking expert help from a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist in such cases. They can assess your dog’s needs, provide personalized training strategies, and address any underlying issues hindering their progress.

Are There Any Alternative Training Methods I Can Use?

Yes, you can explore various training methods and techniques based on your dog’s learning style and preferences. Positive reinforcement, which rewards desired behaviors, is generally effective and recommended.

However, some dogs may respond better to clicker training, shaping, or other positive-based methods. Ensure you prioritize your dog’s well-being and choose training methods that promote a healthy and trusting relationship.

Can I Train My Dog Independently, Or Should I Consider Group Classes?

Training your dog on your own is entirely possible, especially for these essential commands. However, group classes can offer additional benefits. They provide opportunities for socialization, exposure to different distractions, and guidance from experienced trainers.

Consider your dog’s personality and your comfort level in making the decision. Whether you choose solo training or group classes, consistency, and commitment are crucial to success.

How Often Should I Practice The 7 Basic Dog Commands with My Pup?

Regular practice is crucial for reinforcing and maintaining the learned commands. Aim for short, daily training sessions of about 10-15 minutes. Frequent repetition and consistency will help your dog grasp the commands more quickly. Additionally, incorporate the tricks into your daily interactions with your dog to reinforce their understanding and obedience.

Note that each dog is unique, and training progress may vary. So be patient, celebrate small victories, and always approach training with positivity, respect, and love for your furry companion.

Latest Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top