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29 Best Commands to Teach Your Dog – Essential Training Guide

 Knowing the best commands to teach your Dog is essential to living happily with them.


It’s more than just teaching your dog basic obedience.

Commands for Dogs establish a two-way street of communication.

And when you know how to talk to one of the world’s most intelligent dogs, both you and your Dog will gain confidence in training.

Below I’ve gathered the most essential Dog commands to teach your dog. First, there are basic commands, and then I jump right into more advanced commands and tricks.

So let’s get started teaching you the most useful Dog training commands to build a successful relationship.

Dog Training Commands

Teaching your Dog commands gives you both a way to communicate.

After getting a Dog, new owners often complain about a lack of communication with their dogs. As a result, they feel frustrated and anxious about how they’re spending their time training their Dog.

Let’s tackle this problem together!

While there are unlimited commands you can teach your Dog, you’ll want to know the basic commands first. This makes teaching your Dog easier since you have an essential foundation built.

You can also teach different commands for Dogs for fun, fitness, impulse control, and even bonding.

Basic Commands for Dogs

Your goal for training commands for your Dog is to master the basics first.

Dog Dog training commands generally begin with the basics. Teaching your dog good manners and how to behave in public helps you to handle a large breed dog with confidence.

These basic commands for your Dog are useful in your daily life and are a great place to start.

1. Positive Marker

First, teach your Dog the yes command so they know they’re doing well.

A marker word is any word or sound (such as a clicker) used to mark when your Dog does something correctly. The most common marker words are yes and good.

But first, you must teach the meaning of this word to your dog so they understand. You must say the marker word (or click the clicker) followed immediately by a treat.

Repeat your word, along with giving them a treat, until your dog becomes excited about the word.

2. Name Recognition

The foundation of Dog training is teaching your dog their name. When your dog knows their name they’ll look toward you to pay attention to what you say.

If you have a multi-dog home, then training their name will let your dogs know who needs to obey. It’s best to teach this as soon as your dog comes to live with you. Only use your dog’s name with respect. Your Dog’s name isn’t a command — it’s a greeting and used as a courtesy to alert her you’re speaking to them.

3. Sit

The sit command is part of basic training.

Teaching your Dog to sit is a basic command that you’ll find one of the most useful. It helps them settle down, stay still, and keeps them from jumping on guests.

Sit is a great behavior to have on cue to teach your Dog to ask for something they want, prevent them from darting out open doors, and keep them in the car for you to leash them before releasing them.

4. Down

The next command is downDown teaches your Dog to relax, settle for longer periods, and to rest until their next command. While in the down position, your Dog can’t pull you on their leash down the sidewalk or run into the street.

Down helps keep your dog safe by keeping them out of trouble’s way.

Having your Dog in a relaxed down position provides you with better control. But, the most important command will be your following stay command.

5. Stay

Stay, while a basic command, is actually a more complex behavior. This is because in order for you to teach your Dog to stay they need to resist distractions.

Plus, you’ll need to train them in different scenarios so you’re sure they don’t run away.  This training is called proofing a behavior.

That means you’ll need to reinforce your dog’s behavior in three ways:

  • Duration – the time they hold the position
  • Distance – how far away you can go and they’ll still hold the position
  • Distraction – to resist what’s going on around them and keep their position

While this might sound like a lot to teach, it’ll become routine after a few sessions.

Once you give the stay command, you’ll want to follow with a release word (such as free or break).

6. Come

Teaching your puppy the come command is a life-saving skill.

The come command, also called the recall, is an essential life-saving skill you must teach your Dog.  The come command teaches your Dog to return back to you, even when they’re not wearing a leash.

Mastering this command not only gives your dog more freedom but also allows you to take your dog more places. When your dog understands the come command gives you more confidence because you know your dog will return when called.

When you want to train this command, then follow this guide: Training Your Dog to Come When Called

7. Speak

Most owners find that teaching their Dog to speak is much easier than training them to be quiet. The Dog is bred as a watchful and alert companion and is a notorious barker.

Generally, when your Dog barks you can add in a command, such as speak, to capture their barking. Once your dog understands they’ll earn rewards for barking you’ll need to add a stop barking cue.

8. Quiet

As a herding breed, one of the jobs of the Dog was to bark at predators or hazards. This is engrained in the breed. It’s also a sore spot for owners as the Dog is prone to develop a barking habit.

Early on, teach your Dog to be quiet to help counteract their barking. This is actually a difficult command since you’re going against their DNA. They bark a lot by nature to ward off danger from their home and keep their family safe.

Don’t plan on teaching this command overnight. Going against your dog’s natural instinct takes time.

Need help with your dog barking at strangers?

Then read Why Your Dog Barks at Strangers to get solutions.

9. Wait

The wait is a general command that could be useful in many different situations like keeping them from bolting out the door, gobbling up their meal while you’re still preparing it, or when they’re asking for some scratches but you’re not quite ready. Like staywait helps you control your dog’s impulses.

Often thought of as one of the most useful Dog training commands, the cue wait means to respect the boundary. It’s great to keep your dog at doorways to let her know she must remain for permission to go through. The wait is also valuable when you need to have your dog pause in certain areas or rooms of your house.

This cue doesn’t require your Dog to hold a specific position (such as sit or down). It only means your dog must hesitate until you give your permission to cross over the boundary where the wait due was delivered.

10. Watch Me

Get your dog’s attention and focus with the watch me cue.

Watch me (or look at me) is another great command to teach your Dog. This gets your dog’s attention by having her maintain eye contact with you.

Dogs that learn this training are less likely to become distracted in public settings, learn patience while waiting for rewards, and develop better self-control skills. With everything else going on, watch me can get your dog in a better frame of mind. Plus, it allows you to give your dog another command to follow.

There are also other ways to get your Dog to listen to you, without a command.

11. Leave It

When your dog begins focusing on anything you don’t want her to, the leave it command comes in handy. While out on walks you might need your dog to ignore old food in the dirt or a neighborhood cat or dog that has her attention. Telling her to leave it keeps her away from those distracting objects for a moment.

Teaching your Dog to leave it so she always stays away from what you want means you’ll have to practice the command many times, under many conditions, until she generalizes that you want her to never pay attention to whatever it is.

This is such an important cue, so follow this in-depth article – Train A Dog to Leave It: The Ultimate Guide

12. Drop It

Has your dog ever grabbed your shoes and ran through the house with them? If so, then you must teach your Dog the drop it command. Train your dog to drop it by using the reward method to make the training positive.

Basically, you’ll offer a tasty treat whenever your dog has something that you want. Instead of her losing her toy, she’ll earn a treat instead. Repeating this training with different items of value, and always keeping your reward worth more than what she has to drop, will give you better results.

13. Stand

Why would you ever want to teach your Dog the stand command? There are so many reasons — when grooming, it’s easier to brush a dog when they’re standing, at the vet your dog needs to stand up for their exam, and there are lots of training tricks that tie into the stand.

Stand also gets your dog up from another position like down or from a trick like a rollover.

14. Settle

It’s going to happen… You’ll want your dog to be calm and settle.

It’s inevitable…

You’ll need to train your Dog to settle if you want her to stop running around like crazy. Especially useful for puppies, the settle cue lets your dog know they need to behave calmly.

Don’t also add the down cue accidentally because down and settle and two different commands. Training your Dog to use a crate can help you teach more calming behaviors that’ll help them to settle.

15. Heel

The purpose of the heel command is to teach your Dog to walk on a loose leash beside you. Start training this to your Dog by holding your dog’s leash with your right hand. Have your Dog on your left side, which is the traditional heel side.

Hold a treat in your left hand and guide your dog along the seam of your left leg while walking a few steps. Give her the treat for following along on a loose leash.

Don’t expect your Dog to execute a perfect heel easily. For most herding breeds loose lead walking is a difficult behavior since dogs naturally walk faster than us. Training this command will help you to enjoy safer and more relaxed walks.

You can also start training your Dog to walk on a leash right now.

More Fun Dog Training Commands

Besides the basic Dog training commands, there are plenty more cues that you’ll have fun teaching. You can introduce your dog to new commands to keep up their training skills or purely for entertainment.

With the right set of commands, you can give your Dog a job around the house to keep them mentally stimulated and out of trouble. Plus, who couldn’t use more help with their chores?

Here are some training commands to give you something fun to teach your Dog and keep their intelligent minds engaged.

16. Let’s Go

Get your puppy to move with you by teaching her to let’s go.

Sometimes you’ll need a command to keep your Dog moving. Maybe you want them to continue walking and pass another dog. Then use the words let’s go to tell them to keep walking.

Let’s go is especially helpful if your Dog is reactive on a leash because it’s difficult to have them focus by saying watch me or sit when they’re so upset. Instead, keep them moving with you while on leash with a quick let’s go.

This cue is the equivalent of “I’m moving now, so move with me.”

17. Up

Training your Dog to get up on something is a great trick. Plus, if your dog learns to jump up when you ask, then they can join you on the couch for movie night, jump onto a stool for easier grooming time, or even increase their activity on walks.

Dog puppies under 18 months of age shouldn’t jump higher than their elbow since they’re not done growing. And senior or arthritic Dogs should get a vet’s approval first.

After teaching the up cue, you’ll need a way to get your dog back onto the ground easily. That’s where the off command will help you.

18. Off

The off command tells your dog they need to place all four paws back on the ground. This means if they have paws on you, on someone else, or on the furniture they should get all of their paws onto the floor.

Don’t just push your Dog off of you. Instead, teach them the off command so you can guide them with your voice.

19. Shake

An easy and cute trick to teach your Dog is shake, also known as give paw. It’s a cute behavior you can have your dog perform when they meet new people or your friends come over.

Teaching your dog to give you their paw even helps to desensitize your Dog to having her paws touched. To spice things up with this trick, teach your dog to shake with each paw by naming them different commands.

20. Rollover

When your dog is comfortable learning tricks then you’ll want to include a cute rollover into their routine. You’ll lure your Dog with a tasty treat, moving the reward over to the side of their head as they’re lying down to start the trick.

Little by little, your dog will slowly start to lean over to reach the reward. Some Dogs are more reserved and will need time to go into the rollover. It’s a vulnerable position for Dogs because it shows off their bellies.

Training this trick will help build your dog’s confidence and increase your bond, so add this to your training checklist for your Dog.

21. Fetch

When your Dog learns to fetch you’ll have a new game to play.

Not all Dogs understand how to return a toy or ball to you once thrown. So, training your Dog to fetch (or bring) will help them learn how to carry their toys to you for a game.

Plus, fetch is a great way to exercise your dog to keep them fit and happy.

Did you know there’s more to playing with your Dog than fetch?

Try these fun games for Dogs that’ll keep you both coming back for more.

22. Take It

If you teach your dog to wait for something, such as a treat or for a toy, then you’ll want to let them know it’s OK for them to have the item.

Use take it to give them permission to have their food, treat, or toy.

23. Go Potty

If you want to train your dog to use the bathroom on cue then a potty command is useful. Go potty is a good cue to pair when your puppy does their business outside.

After pairing the cue enough times, your Dog learns that go potty is their command for using the toilet.

24. Place

It’s best to have a place command for your Dog. Place instructs your dog to go to a designated spot, sometimes a platform or mat, and wait for the next cue.

This is a great behavior to have in your repertoire. Imagine being able to send your Dog to their place when someone knocks on your door. Instead of having them running around, they’ll know what to do and wait on their mat for your next command.

25. Play Dead

Once your Dog knows rollover she’s ready to play dead. This trick takes more patience than rollover because your dog must stay very still to make the trick convincing.

Pair this trick with a few others and you have a complete show for your next party.

26. Go to Bed

Go to bed means your Dog needs to rest, lying down, for an extended time.

Go to bed is different from your Dog’s place command. When your dog goes to bed she will lay down and remain there quietly. Unlike with her place command where she waits for your next words.

You can also give your dog a treat to keep her busy and make her go to bed cue rewarding. Try a Kong toy for your Dog that she chews to help relax her while in her bed.

You can get your dog to stay in their bed longer by offering them the best bed for your Dog.

27. Hug

If you’re like me then you’ll want to put your Dog’s hugs on cue. In this behavior, you’ll teach your dog to place her front paws on your shoulders to hug you. Once you have bonded with your Dog you’ll find they’ll easily want to stay close to you.

But, in the beginning, you might notice your new Dog is hesitant to put her paws on you. Especially if you’ve practiced the off cue excessively. Take your time, use plenty of praise, and don’t rush your Dog to teach this command.

28. Spin

Spin is a beginner trick for Dogs. It’s easy to train puppies and even older dogs. Use a bit of tasty food to lure your dog into a turn. Keep repeating this action, then pair the word spin with the behavior.

For another challenge, teach your Dog to spin the other way. You’ll need to name the opposite spin a different name, such as turn. Most dogs have a dominant side of their bodies, so you’ll see that your Dog tends to spin easier on one side than the other. Spin also helps your dog stay limber by stretching her neck and back muscles.

29. Free

After having your dog waitstaysit, or down she’ll need to have a cue that lets her know she’s released. Use the word free to tell your Dog that she can go about her own way.

For example, use free when releasing your dog from a wait at your back door into an enclosed yard. Before you give the free cue, always make sure the surroundings are safe and free from dangers. Free also tells your Dog she’s able to go play and run.

So, don’t use the free command if you want your dog to stay close by. Instead, try the break command to teach your Dog to stay near you for her next cue.

Dog Dog Training Commands

Follow this checklist as your Dog learns their dog training commands. Then, move on to the next cue so your dog keeps learning and improving.

Training CommandBehavior
Positive MarkerA word that tells your dog “Good job!”
NameName recognition gets your dog’s attention.
SitA beginner command that’s easy enough for puppies.
DownKeeps your dog on the ground on her belly.
StayThis means your dog remains in place until released.
ComeAn essential skill for your dog to return to you.
SpeakMost Dogs bark (or speak) naturally.
QuietMore difficult to teach since it goes against a Dog’s nature.
WaitA temporary hold that’s usually given at doorways.
Watch MeA way to get your Dog to look at you.
Leave ItTo walk away from something they’re interested in.
Drop ItTells your dog to let go of an item in her mouth.
StandA useful command to get your dog on all four paws to groom.
SettleInstructs your dog to relax and calm their behavior.
HeelKeeps your dog at your side, not pulling on her leash.
Let’s GoA command to get your Dog to move along with you.
UpGenerally tells your dog to jump onto a place.
OffHas your dog place all four paws on the floor and off an item.
ShakeAlso known as “Give paw,” is a cute trick.
RolloverDifficult for shy dogs because their stomachs are exposed.
FetchAsks your Dog to return an item to you.
Take ItGives permission to your dog that she can have an object.
Go PottyPair this when your puppy goes to the bathroom to help train a potty cue.
PlaceA spot your dog must go to until released.
Play DeadThis advanced trick has your dog “fall over,” as if they’ve been injured.
Go To BedDifferent from place; a relaxing spot that’s never used as punishment.
HugA great trick where your Dog places their paws on your shoulders.
SpinMoves your dog in a tight circle, either left or right.
FreeA release command that lets your dog enjoy their own time.
Dog Dog Training Commands

Why should I teach commands to my Dog?

Teaching your Dog commands will make living with her more comfortable for both of you.

Training a Dog using commands helps teach them to act in harmony with your house rules. Without training, your Dog will make your life chaotic.

Humans and Dogs are social animals and need some form of training in order to function effectively with you. If there wasn’t any training in their lives they’d eventually use their own set of rules. This leads to unwanted behaviors and an unhappy relationship with your dog.

This means:

  • Teaching your Dog commands will help you stay more satisfied living with them
  • You should have regular, positive interactions with your Dog to encourage good behavior
  • Practice daily lessons your dog needs to know so they learn their commands quickly

It’s vital you teach your Dog commands so they can understand how their pack (you and your family) function and how they must act.  Plus, you must be able to control your Dog around others who visit your home and when in public.

How to Teach Commands to Your Dog

Teaching your Dog their commands doesn’t have to be stressful. Even if you’re new to training there’s plenty of help to get you through their basic commands, as well as begin more advanced training.

Here’s how to teach your Dog commands:

  1. Have training lessons with your Dog every day in several short segments. Three to five times a day for a few minutes at a time is ideal.
  2. Don’t have long practice sessions. Your dog will become bored, lose interest, and not learn as quickly as they will in shorter lessons.
  3. Never practice when you or your Dog are tired, ill, worried, or in an otherwise negative mood. Both you and your dog must be in the right frame of mind, ready to learn. If you force your dog or yourself to practice training when either one of you isn’t up to it the performance will suffer.
  4. End each session on a high note. Rather than having your dog fail at an exercise make sure to give her lots of praise and perform a cue you know she can do well.
  5. Think fun, short, and above all keep the sessions POSITIVE to enjoy the training and help your Dog enjoy it, too!

Training Equipment

When teaching commands to your Dog you’ll only need a few pieces of training equipment. These items will help you speed up your training.

More importantly, the right training tools help keep your dog safe while they’re learning their commands.


This safe, breakaway collar is best for both Dog puppies and adults. This collar ensures if your dog is running loose and gets hung up on something they’ll be able to escape.

There are also metal rings to attach to your leash. So, the safety mechanism isn’t engaged and you can use the collar as your regular walking collar. It’s safest to always remove your dog’s collar when they’re at home to avoid unintentional injuries.


I recommend (and use) a dual-clip training harness for Dogs. Especially puppies that pull on their leashes. A harness is better than a collar for Dogs to avoid injuries to their necks. Although you might think you’re not jerking on your dog’s leash, the necks of dogs are very sensitive.

When choosing a harness, select a harness with both a front and back clip. This style of harness encourages your dog to not pull and can help you control them better than a collar and leash alone.


6-foot training leash is recommended, preferably made of nylon, which is easy to clean and durable. A chain lead isn’t recommended since it can break, get caught and pull apart, and cut into your hands if you need to grab the leash quickly.

And I don’t recommend using a retractable leash since it can allow your dog to go too far without stopping.


Have a bag or pocket of tasty treats on hand. The best training treats are small, and moist to motivate your Dog to help them learn their new commands. You can buy healthy treats like these or even use small chopped carrots, apples, or even pieces of chicken.

Moist treats are preferred because dry treats will make your dog thirsty, take longer to eat, and might lack the scent your dog needs to encourage them to earn the reward. When selecting food rewards for training follow this guide — The Best Treats for Dogs 🦴

Training Classes

There are helpful options to teach your Dog commands.

If things aren’t going as well as you want or you feel that you want more support, consider using a ready-made training plan.

There’s no lack of training programs for dogs, but you’ll want to consider a few things before enrolling:

  • Give you an easy way to follow along with the training, without using confusing jargon
  • Be able to give you adequate attention
  • Have a way to answer your questions or help you along
  • Not allow shouting at dogs or belittling owners
  • Never use or encourage physical punishment of dogs for any reason

If you’re looking for an online program where you can train your Dog from the comfort of home, then check out the Brain Training for Dogs program. You can follow the steps to teach your Dog training commands while also solving behavior issues or concerns. 💡

Top Dog German Training Commands

Another way to teach your Dog their obedience commands is by using a second language. While commands in German are typical for owners who plan to participate in Schutzhund, you can also teach your dogs the same commands.

How many people do you know who train their dogs using German?

Not many. So, this gives you an advantage when in public since you can command your dog in another language.

Teaching your Dog their commands in German is also a great option because the nature of the language sounds forceful with sharp consonants. This makes the sound more commanding for dogs and tends to catch their attention.

The most common German Commands for Dogs are found below.

German Commands for Dogs

English CommandsGerman CommandsPronunciations
Good Dog (For Praise)Braver Hundbraffer hoont
SpeakGib Lautgheblout
Leave ItLass eslos S
Out (Drop)Ausous
Track (Search)Suchtsuuk
Dog Training Commands in German

Best Language to Train A Dog

Some owners might wonder what language they should use to train their Dogs. The breed is so intelligent they can learn more than one language if you train them.

But, at the end of the day the best language to teach your Dog their commands in is the one that you’re the most comfortable using daily. What’s more essential is the frequency and consistency you train your dog so that she’s able to build her training vocabulary.

Wrap-Up: Teaching Your Dog Commands

Teaching your Dog commands is building a unique language together.

Developing a language to share with your Dog helps you bond, communicate, and enjoy working with your dog. Start with the basic commands, then work on teaching your Dog fun and more advanced commands.

Remember these tips for teaching your dog:

  • Train in short sessions
  • Don’t let your dog get bored or stressed during sessions
  • Once they learn one command, move on to the next to keep it fun

The language you train your Dog isn’t as important as staying consistent with your training. As one of the most intelligent breeds in the world, your Dog is ever-ready to learn with you.

So, what should you teach your Dog next?

Try out these essential step-by-step Dog basic obedience commands to build your communication skills.

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