Seven Commands Every Dog Should Know

Dogs are pack animals, naturally inclined to follow their leader. By teaching your dog these important commands, you establish yourself as the alpha dog of your pack, and you’ll both be happier for it.

Well-trained dogs will follow your commands even as you continue with other activities.

  1. Come


Making sure your dog will come when called is essential if you’re letting your dog go off-leash in public or if he or she escapes your grasp. This command will help you control the situation so you’re not chasing your dog.

  1. Sit


This is a great command when your dog is overly excited or could be in the way. Tell your dog to sit when they are barking at the doorbell, hyped up to go on a walk, or underfoot when you’re bringing in groceries.

  1. Stay


Telling your dog to “stay” means “stay here until I tell you to move.” A well-trained dog won’t budge an inch, even if you’re not in sight and they see a squirrel.

  1. Heel


This command directs your dog to walk beside you and not to rush ahead. This is especially important if you encounter other dogs or people while out and about.

  1. Drop


Instead of wrestling with your dog to get something out of his or her mouth (errant chicken bone perhaps?), teach them to drop into your hand instead. This also helps when you play fetch and he or she is a little reluctant to give up the ball.

  1. Off


Useful both for getting off furniture and not leaping on people, the “off” command can be necessary when your dog gets overexcited.

  1. Release


Train your dog to keep obeying a command until you tell them to stop. If you don’t train your dog that you will release him or her from a “stay” command, they won’t know how long to obey before he or she can go. Some people use the command “okay” or “take a break” for this.

It takes patience and a positive attitude to teach your dog new commands. And never fear – even senior dogs can still get on the right track and learn obedience! If you’re having trouble teaching your dog new commands, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation to a dog trainer or behaviorist.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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