What Are The 7 Basic Dog Commands?

Just like in teaching young students, training dogs also requires starting with a few basic lessons. You can think of them as the building blocks that will help you establish an excellent routine, and later on, a good set of habits. If you’re planning to take on the responsibility of training your dog, check out this list of 7 basic dog commands that you need to know.


Teaching your dog how to sit on command is the first lesson you’ll need to ace if you want to handle the training yourself. Arguably, it’s the easiest of all the dog commands, so it won’t take you long before you figure out how to do it. Here are the foolproof steps to teaching your dogs to sit on cue:

  • Prepare your treats and clicker before starting the session.
  • Pick a distraction-free place where you can teach your dog.
  • Familiarize yourself with the correct sitting position.
  • Show the treat to get your dog’s attention.
  • Hold the dog treat above your pup’s nose, then slowly move your hand towards their ears. 
  • Once your dog sits, use your clicker or give your sign of approval to verbal cues like “good dog!”
  • Repeat the process several times, this time including cues like saying “sit” or pointing your fingers down. 
  • Practice helps reinforce the behavior, so do the routine over and over each day.
  • Once your dog masters the command, you can begin practicing outdoors.


Teaching your dog how to stay is crucial to controlling his movements, especially when you’re in a crowded space. It also comes in handy when you need your dog to behave while you’re attending to chores or if you want to avoid overwhelming house guests. 

It’s critical to ensure that your dog already knows how to follow the sit command before you train him/her how to stay put. Otherwise, it’s impossible to see progress during the sessions. 

To start this lesson, you’ll need to introduce a release word or cue after letting your dog sit for a couple of minutes. You can do this by rewarding your dog with a treat after you say the command, and he/she moves away from the original position. Once your dog knows what your release cue means, you can start incorporating other things into the routine, such as: 

  • Increasing the duration between the sitting and releasing period
  • Repeating the procedure a couple of times each day until your dog masters the release command
  • Starting to introduce how to stay in place through the use of commands like “stay”
  • Teaching your dog how to lie down if you have to leave him/her a few minutes

Again, feel free to use treats and your clicker to help your dog remember the lessons better.


Once your dog is well-acquainted with sitting or staying down, you may begin to teach the meaning of the command “come”. This specific command comes in quite handy when you forget to close the door or when you accidentally lose grip on your dog’s leash. Check out the step by step process in teaching the command:

  • AKC recommends using fun ways to teach recall to your dog. The more excited your dog feels about getting close to you, the easier you can call him/her back.
  • Similar to training your dog how to sit, you will also need to stay in a distraction-free environment. 
  • Encourage your dog to come to you by showing a toy or doggy treat.
  • After your dog becomes familiar with the routine, you may begin using verbal commands like “come”, “here boy/girl”. 
  • Once your dog shows mastery of the command, you can start rewarding him/her right after he/she approaches you.
  • You can also move to an outdoor environment and repeat the entire process until he/she completely understands the task.


Another useful command to teach your dog is how to lay down. It allows your dog to relax after you ask him to stay in place for longer than usual. Instead of sitting upright, you can tell your dog to lay down until you call him/her back to play or approach you. 

Teaching this basic command also helps avoid trouble, especially when you’re out in the park or with your family and friends. Below are some tips you can use to teach this lesson properly:

  • Tell your dog to sit down.
  • Prepare another dog treat and tuck it inside your palm.
  • Carefully move your hand containing the treat from the dog’s nose to the chest, then towards the floor. 
  • Once your dog lies down, reward him/her with the hidden snack.
  • Repeat the same routine several times for each training session.
  • After a while, you can use verbal signals like saying “down” or “lie down”.
  • Reward your dog while he/she stays down to encourage the action.


Sometimes, dogs tend to climb up to places they shouldn’t be in, such as dining tables, furniture, or your bed. They can also get too excited and jump on you or other members of the household. Often, while this action may seem adorable and harmless, it could result in a disaster and encourage bad and unwanted behavior. So, before things get worse, you need to teach your dog the command “paws off”.  Here’s how you can pull it off:

  • Look out for the usual places where your dog jumps on – these could include the kitchen, your bedroom, and the living room area.
  • Wait until you catch your dog jumping on the unwanted spaces
  • Discourage the action by sternly saying “off” or “paws off”
  • Lure him/her away from the place where the action took place and be ready to hand out the treats
  • Repeat the process every time your dog jumps on a place or even on someone.


It can be quite annoying and embarrassing when your dog does the walking instead of you. If your dog constantly pulls on the leash whenever you go out for walks, you’ll need to teach him/her how to heel. This way, you can walk side by side, and you get to rest in between the walks without having to tug on the leash because your pup won’t stay put. To discourage this behavior, you will need to follow these tips:

  • Using treats or your dog’s favorite toy, encourage your dog to walk near you.
  • Lure your dog to follow your movements, then treat him/her with the reward each time you reach 10 to 15 steps. 
  • Feel free to repeat the routine each time you go on walks. You can increase the number of steps before you provide the reward. 
  • Once you’ve established the behavior, you can start using verbal commands like saying your dog’s name followed by the word “heel”.
  • After a while, you can gradually eliminate the rewards.


It’s hard to say no to our beloved dogs. However, there are plenty of situations that may require you to do so. Teaching your dog the meaning of the command “no” will help him/her know when to stop a specific behavior such as chewing your shoes or reaching precious objects around the house. 

You can teach this lesson in two ways. One would be through using a non-rewarding signal, where you withhold giving rewards. The second way is through a process called conditioned punishing. This involves the use of compulsive techniques or positive punishment. 

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Teaching your dog how to do certain things such as sitting and staying in one place is not an easy feat. It takes a lot of patience plus a bit of dog training experience if you want to see real results.

Thankfully, you don’t need to end up feeling frustrated after seeing very little progress during your dog training sessions. With the help of Delaware K9 Academy, you can instill proper discipline and introduce essential skills to your most beloved pup in no time.

We offer various training programs that would suit any dog breed. We also cater to a broad range of age groups. Check out our list of training programs today and see which one best works for your canine buddy. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you want to ask questions or enroll in a program today.