The Ultimate Must Have Dog Training Command List

Dogs are naturally intelligent animals. Regardless of the breed, a dog can eventually learn the command you teach if you do it the right way. Living with your dog can be much easier if it recognizes essential dog commands.

So if you are planning to adopt a dog or you already have a dog, teaching them dog commands is an activity that you wouldn’t want to miss. To give you an idea about dog commands, the types, and some examples of the basic dog commands, I compiled everything you need in one short read. Let’s get into it.

Dog Commands: Explained

Dog commands are messages which owners can use to make their dogs perform a given behavior. You can use them as a method to tell your dogs what you want it to do, or how you want it to respond to a given situation. Dog commands also varies from verbal to hand signals and it comes from the most basic such as the “no” to the most advanced dog commands called dog tricks.

Hand Signals Dog Commands

Just like how humans communicate using hand signals, dogs also understand dog commands through hand gestures. You can use hand signals to tell your dog how to behave in situations where verbal commands are not effective. For example, you can use hand signs in loud environments or when your canine is far away from you.

Dogs are more sensitive to sound so verbal commands are easier to teach in quiet environments. So if you are planning to use hand signals, you need to train your dog to give most attention to you so they can quickly receive your commands. Teach your dog to look at you frequently if you plan to teach more hand signal dog commands. The best thing about hand commands is that there is a corresponding hand cue to every verbal dog command.

Verbal Dog Commands

Verbal dog commands are audible signals that allow you to instruct your dog to show a particular behavior. Unlike hand signals, verbal dog commands are still applicable even when your canine is not looking at you.

Verbal commands come with a lot of information such as tone and volume. Your dog can have a lot of hints from your command, allowing it to determine your intent. It is also easier for canines to learn verbal commands than hand signals.

But since the tone and volume of your voice determine your intent, make sure to deliver verbal commands accurately. Doing this will help you to avoid confusing your dog. Mixed messages will not make the training process productive. So if you are irritated by a lost key or spilled coffee, remember to keep your voice clear before giving a command.

Things To Know Before Training Your Dog

Before starting the command training, make sure that your dog shows a relaxed, positive mood and it is well-rested. Also, make sure that one hour has passed after it meal so it is in good condition for training. Training a dog right after finishing a meal can lead to bloating. You can get better results when you train a slightly hungry dog since it will be opting to earn the treats.

Consistency Is Important

Among the important things you need to know before starting the training is that consistency is the key to success. For example, changing the place where you train, the reward you give, and the consequences you impose for every failure can make your dog confused. Training your dog requires you to build a rapport with your pet can and showing consistency is one of the most effective ways to do it.

Start Teaching Common Dog Commands

It is a rule of thumb to start with the basics. Introduce the most common dog commands to your dog first before moving on to the advanced. Doing this can help your dog to establish confidence, which is essential when it starts to learn the advanced dog commands.

Never Redo A Dog Command

Even professionals find it difficult to follow this rule. Using the same verbal or hand signal for a different dog command can confuse your dog. Also, saying the same command twice will make an impression to your pet that it is not so important to follow commands.

Give Treats As A Reward

Giving treats is effective to motivate your dogs to follow your commands. It can help your dog to remain focused throughout your training sessions and avoid it to lose interest.

Take note that treats must only be given as a positive reinforcement for your pet for every command it successfully performs. Aside from treats, you can also give your canine a soft ear scratching and verbal praise as a reward.

Immediate Reinforcement After Immediate Compliance

Require a dog to comply immediately after every command to make your training more effective. After successful completion, reward your pet right away so it can learn that speed is important to complete its mission.

Stop Giving Treats Over Time

It is not healthy and practical for your dog to require a treat every time it performs a command. So after the dog command training, cease giving treats to your dogs and switch it to giving verbal praise and petting instead. You can also give your dog a durable and safe toy as a reward for doing a great job. This way, it stays motivated and attentive to your commands.

Keep The Training Short

The attention span of a dog depends on their age. But in general, the best training sessions for dogs are no longer than 20 minutes and are more effective when only done for 5 to 10 minutes.

Dog Command List

Here are some of the basic dog commands that your dog must learn during the training:


Among the basic dog commands is “come”. While being one of the simplest, it is difficult to teach if your pet is distracted or if it is kind of clingy. For this reason, you have to be patient when teaching this verbal dog command.

To start, secure your dog with a long lead then let it run away from you. If your dog is being clingy, throw away a treat so it will follow. Afterward, tug the lead gently while saying “come” so it can understand what you want it to do. Make sure to present a treat at the end of the long leash to keep it motivated. Your dog will no longer need the leash over time.


“No” is another important dog command that you must teach your dog. But most dog learns this command even without formal training. Dogs can learn this command from your facial expressions and tone of your voice. If you are having difficulty teaching this command to your dog, tug on your pet’s leash and stopping it from doing the action you want to stop will also do.

When teaching this command, do not use treats as a reward. Doing this will only confuse your dog so when it does a great job, gently scratch its ear instead or use verbal praise to motivate it.


One of the most basic dog commands is “sit”. This command can help you out further as the training continues. Making your dog sit at the beginning and after a hard session is a good discipline that it needs to establish. However, never force your canine to sit by pushing his haunches, instead, move toward your dog and lean over it a little. This will make your dog look up and their rear end to touch the floor.


Before moving to this command, teach your dog the “sit” command first. Teach this command by saying stay to your dog right after starting to walk away, locking eyes to your dog. If your dog tries to stand and follow you, as it will normally do, tell it to sit again then stay.

Once your dog ceases to follow you and it stays on a sit position, move on to the next level. Un-learning the sitting part of the stay command will require more training.


Teaching the wait command might be a bit similar to the stay command. The difference is that it comes with “okay” command after. Teach your dog “wait” by stopping your dog to do its desired action until you allow it by saying “okay”.


The okay command indicates that your canine can continue doing its original intent. Your dog can easily get this command based on your facial expression and tone even without the help of hand signals.


Another command that comes after the “sit” command is “shake”. Use a verbal cue along with physical guidance of the paw of your dog to meet your other hand.


To summarize, dog command training is every dog must-have. Dog commands can allow you to communicate your desire to your pet, allowing you to control its behavior either in public places or at home. While most of the dog commands I shared are basic, teaching it to your dog can still be difficult.

For this reason, you have to take note of the things every owner must learn before starting a dog command training. Be patient when training your dog because eventually, it will learn the command you are trying to teach.

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