What Are the 7 Basic Dog Commands?

Teach your dog these essential commands for a well-behaved pup

What Are the 7 Basic Dog Commands?
What are the 7 basic dog commands?

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Have you ever seen a really well-behaved dog and imagined having one of your own? Are you wondering how to make sure your dog will be as well behaved?

As a dog dad, knowing what commands to teach your dog from day 1 will make your life 100x easier. But remember, you'll need plenty of patience.

I'm 99% sure about that.

Related: 5 things every future dog owner needs to know

In this post, we'll examine the 7 basic dog commands, show a few examples of how I taught them to Luna (my English Bulldog), and provide an excellent book to consider reading.

What are the 7 basic dog commands?

Mastering the common commands: SIT, STAY, DOWN, COME, HEEL, OFF and NO will help transform your dog, and overcome behavioural problems, so you have a well-mannered pup.

Why is knowing these basic commands Important?

When you get a new dog, whether it's a puppy or an adult rescue, obedience training is an essential part of pet parenting.

Choosing to skip obedience training may cause more problems in the future, which ultimately were preventable.

Additionally, teaching the basic commands as soon as you bring your new dog home will confirm who's boss - which by the way, needs to be you!

1.  Sit

Sit is probably the easiest lesson your dog can learn and the easiest to train too. Not only does training a dog to sit patiently at dinner times calm this chaotic time down, but sitting is also a transition command, meaning it helpfully leads to other commands like stay and down.

Try this: grab a tasty treat and slowly move the treat past your dog's nose and forehead until your dog looks up - eventually, they'll sit, say 'sit' and repeat.

2. Stay

Speaking of transitions, from training your dog to sit, you can move swiftly on to stay. Teaching a dog to stay is vital for preventing door dashing, which is where your dog sprints out of the front door. It's also helpful for keeping your dog calm when a guest enters your property.

Keeping your dog out of danger should be one of your highest priorities, hence why this is such an essential command.

Try this: get your dog into the sit position, then holding your palm facing your dog say 'stay', once your dog stays in position, reward with a treat and repeat. Continue by waiting longer each time before rewarding.  

3. Down

On a similar note, training your dog to move from the sitting position to lying on the floor is helpful when your dog jumps up on guests. It's also a useful command for asking your dog to go to their bed where it's natural for them to lay down.

Additionally, when a dog is lying down, it takes longer for them to rush out the door so it goes hand in hand with stay.

4. Come

Recalling your dog by shouting 'come' is crucial if you plan on taking your dog off its leash in a park or open space. Dogs are inquisitive by nature, they like to explore and when given the freedom to do so in a large open space, you need to be able to call them back if they stray too far or have an altercation with another dog.

Try this: from the stay position, while holding a treat, say your dog's name and swiftly 'come'. When your dog shoots over to you, say the 'come' command once more and reward with the treat - and repeat.

5. Heel

Teaching the heel command is useful for keeping your dog close to your side, which is useful when walking on a busy street with lots of moving traffic. Even while leash walking on a street, dogs can easily be startled by cars and loud lorries, so being able to 'heel' your dog keeps them calm and out of harm's way.

6. Off

Jumping on guests or furniture is common behaviour of dogs, without teaching them that this is unwanted behaviour they'll continue to do it. You may be okay with it as a dog owner until they knock over an elderly person or child, then you'll regret your decision. This is where the 'off' command comes in.

Try this: grab an empty plastic bottle and fill it slightly with spare change like pennies, then when your dog jumps up, shake the bottle, your dog will startle and stop what they're doing, say 'off' and reward with a treat.

7. No

In their own way, all 7 commands are vital in keeping your dog safe. Although teaching your dog 'no' is in my view, the most important. As mentioned previously, dogs are inquisitive, they use their mouth to explore the world, which can be life-threatening if your dog ingests something they shouldn't like poison, chocolate, or chicken bones.

So if your dog looks like they're about to eat something it shouldn't say no. If they're doing something you don't want them to do, say no. No is universal in human languages just as it is in dog lingo.

Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days

Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days

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I didn't learn these seven basic dog commands by chance, oh no, I learned them from expert trainer Brandon McMillian, author of "Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days".

In his book, McMillian begins with the basics - building trust, establishing focus and control, and mastering training techniques. With several 1o to 15-minute practice sessions each day, your dog will be able to master these basic commands pretty quickly. It's possible you can learn how to train a puppy in 7 days.

I can honestly say that if I hadn't read his book, I'd probably be waving a white flag right now, asking to surrender. So if you've recently got a new dog or you're wondering how to train a bulldog quickly, I highly recommend reading McMillian's book and training these 7 essential dog commands with ease.


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