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The 7 Basic Dog Commands and How to Do Them Right

The 7 Basic Dog Commands and How to Do Them Right

Teaching your pet dog basic commands provides the foundation for further training. Starting the process early helps your puppy mature into a well-behaved adult dog. As soon as a new pup comes into your home, they start taking in their surroundings. They start storing information. This is an excellent opportunity to teach them basic manners. You do not want to have a dog that never learned and thus bring acquired bad behavior well into adulthood.

Of course, some pet owners adopt their furry companions and have much older dogs. Can you still teach an old dog new tricks? Fortunately, there's no truth to the old saying. You can, in fact, still train an older dog.

Even the most excitable, boisterous dogs may be taught polite behavior that will make them safer and turn them into good dogs. However, it does require a lot of effort.

Dogs do not speak the way humans do. Instead, they read our body language and tone. Using verbal cues encourages them to learn the rules and know our expectations. It's crucial to use the exact words consistently to avoid confusing your dog. Coupled with hand signals, they can be very effective forms of giving orders. Hand signals help encourage dogs to concentrate harder throughout training. They are also essential for training deaf dogs.

At PetsTEK, we encourage teaching your dogs the basic commands before even starting with remote e-collar training.  What are the seven basic dog commands? Let’s go through them and learn how to do them right!

Before getting started, though, here are a few recommendations:

  • Prepare high-value treats like small pieces of chicken or turkey before training.
  • Be patient. Not all dogs learn at the same pace.

Command #1: Attention!

Black and White Image of Dog Looking Up 

The basis of all engagements with your dog is getting their attention. You are merely issuing an order to the air if they are not paying attention to you.

You can get your dog's attention by using their name.

How to do it right: 

  1. Say your dog’s name.
  2. When they look at you, mark the behavior by saying “Yes!”
  3. Give a small treat as a reward.
  4. Repeat a few times to reinforce.

Your goal is to have your dog consistently look at you whenever their name is called. 

Command #2: Sit

Black and White Photo of Dog Sitting Against White Background

The "sit" command is one of the most basic. It allows your dog to take a break. It’s also a way to rein in their impulses at locations like street crossings. The “sit” command also helps teach them good manners when meeting new people. 

How to do it right:

  1. Hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose.
  2. Slowly move the treat back over their muzzle and between their eyes. Make sure the treat is at least an inch away the entire time.
  3. Your dog’s head will tilt as they follow the treat.
  4. Move the treat towards the back of their head until their rear hits the floor.
  5. Mark his behavior by saying, “Yes!”
  6. Give him the treat as a reward.
  7. Repeat a few times.
  8. Once your dog gets the hang of the exercise, introduce the verbal command, “sit.”
  9. Show the treat, but before moving it up and over their head, say, "sit."
  10. Repeat until your dog can follow the verbal command consistently.

Command #3: Come

Brown and White Running Forward on Grass

A strong recall could save your dog's life! Everybody is familiar with dogs that flee when called. It's awkward and frustrating. The chasing game will go their way. We only have two legs, but they have four. So, having the "come" command in your arsenal will significantly help. 

How to do it right:

  1. Stand in front of your dog.
  2. Lure your dog with a treat.
  3. In a “happy” tone, say, “Come!”
  4. As he gets to you, mark his behavior by saying “Yes!”
  5. Reward him with a treat. 

Command #4: Down

Brown and White French Bulldog Lying Down

You may train your dog to lie down once he can sit when asked. "Down" should not be confused with the jumping command "off." With "down," your pet's stomach and legs should rest flat on the ground.

A trained dog can be made to go to a spot like a dog bed and relax. They can go with you to a restaurant outdoors without stealing food. Additionally, they won't be able to jump onto people or objects.

How to do it right:

  1. Place a strong-smelling treat in front of your dog. Ensure that he smells it.
  2. Move the treat slowly to the ground.
  3. As his body touches the floor, mark it by saying, “Yes!”
  4. Let him eat the treat.
  5. Repeat until your dog gets it.
  6. Once they can reliably follow, introduce the verbal cue, “down.”
  7. Show your dog the treat and say “down” as you move the treat downwards.
  8. Repeat until your dog can follow the verbal command consistently.

Command #5: No

Beagle with Toy in Mouth

The “no” command should be used when your dog has something you don't want them to have in their mouth. This can prevent your dog from ingesting something from the street that could harm them or make them sick.

How to do it right:

  1. Place an object on the ground.
  2. Wait until your dog has the object in their mouth.
  3. Show them the treat and say, “No!”
  4. When they drop the object, mark the behavior by saying, “Yes!” or “Good.”
  5. Reward with a treat.
  6. Repeat until your dog can reliably follow the verbal cue.

Command #6: Stay

Dog Looking Up at Human Palm Held Out 

"Stay" is probably the most significant command to teach your dog because it is used daily. Teaching this command at an early age helps ensure their safety as well as the safety of others.

How to do it right:

  1. Make your dog “sit.”
  2. Gradually back away from your dog. When they try to move towards you, say “No!”
  3. Once they stop, say, “Stay.”
  4. Mark the behavior by saying, “Yes!” or “Good,” and reward with a treat.
  5. Repeat the exercise a few times until your dog gets it right.

Command #7: Heel

Three Dogs on a Leash Walking with Human 

All dogs, regardless of size, should learn to heel or calmly follow you while walking. This is especially important if you take your dog for walks in crowded urban areas with limited sidewalk space. The ability is even more crucial for large or strong dogs who typically pull on the leash. Walking your dog will be simpler and more enjoyable if they can heel, not to mention easier on your arm.

How to do it right:

  1. Position your dog on your left. Give simple commands like “sit” to ensure they are listening. This helps them focus and gets them ready for further commands.
  2. With a treat on your left hand, start walking slowly. The treat should be out and at least an inch away from your dog’s face. This is to help guide him along.
  3. Reward your dog every few steps if he stays on course.
  4. If your dog veers off, stop immediately. Call their name to get their attention.
  5. Give the “sit” command and start over.

You can use a clicker to help mark the behavior with any of the basic commands. Once your dog starts to respond consistently and reliably follow, slowly wean them off the food treats. You don't want a dog that only complies when there is food on offer. Instead, replace treats with praise or pets.

You may also have a pet that is not food driven. That’s usually rare in dogs but not unheard of. In that case, find what your dog prefers and use that instead. Other motivations could be toys or simple attention.

After learning the simple commands, you can start teaching your dog more advanced ones. Using an e-collar can help. Because your pet already knows the basics, you can ensure they understand what you are asking them to do. They won't associate the "shock" with something negative. The remote trainer can also be used to reinforce what they already know, ensuring more consistency.

Why Should I Buy a Remote Training Collar for My Dog? 

E-collars allow you to communicate with your dog in off-leash conditions. It helps in guiding them and avoiding potentially hazardous situations. Dogs being taught by a trainer are frequently talked to, petted, and aroused excessively. The e-collar creates a less invasive technique to assist the dog in learning and making the right decisions. This is done while also allowing us and the dog to be calmer. It is an excellent way to save treats for further obedience training.

Numerous makes and models of remote training collars for obedience training are available for purchase, like Dogtra and E-Collar Technologies. It could be challenging to choose between them all, especially if this is your first e-collar buy.

Here are our recommendations for the best e-collars for basic dog training. 

  1. Dogtra CUE Remote Training Collar
Dogtra CUE Remote Training Collar

The Dogtra CUE remote trainer is the latest addition to the Dogtra e-collar lineup. Currently only available through Amazon, this 400-yard collar has a 400-yard range, 24 levels of static stimulation, vibration, and a carabiner-design remote transmitter. The receiver is convertible for a vertical or horizontal fit, making it flexible for any dog size.

  1. Pager Only PG-300 Remote Training Collar by E-Collar Technologies
Pager Only PG-300 Remote Training Collar by E-Collar Technologies

The PG-300 is a vibration-only Educator collar. With its 100 levels of vibration, the Educator PG-300 Remote Trainer is a great solution for people who prefer not to use static stimulation. This e-collar also has a tone, allowing you to teach your dog various commands depending on your signal type.

  1. SportDOG SD-425X FieldTrainer Remote Training Collar


The SportDog brand was initially created for hunting dogs. However, it doesn't mean SportDog collars are restricted to that purpose. The SD-425X FieldTrainer is a very efficient device for basic obedience training.

With a 500-yard range, and 21 levels of static stimulation, vibration, and tone, finding the right combo to complement your training is easy.

  1. Micro Educator ME-300 Remote Dog Training Collar
ME-300 Micro Educator by E-Collar Technologies

The Educator ME-300 Micro Educator dog training collar is the smallest Educator dog collar available. Weighing just 1.8 ounces, the ME-300 is gentle enough for even the most miniature dogs with sensitive temperaments. It has gentler vibration and tone-only modes, 100 levels of medical-grade static stimulation, and a Lock & Set feature to ensure no accidental correction is issued.

  1. Mini Educator ET-300 Remote Dog Training Collar
Mini Educator ET-300 Remote Training Collar Yellow by E-Collar Technologies

There's a lot to love about the Mini Educator. The stopwatch-style remote is small enough to fit in your palm for one-handed operation. It also comes in vibrant yellow color, making it easy to spot if you drop it. It even floats in water! (Incidentally, black and Educator Zen 300 variants if yellow is not your cup of tea. There are even replacement skins available for purchase in a variety of other colors.)

But this Educator remote trainer takes dog training seriously more than the aesthetics. It has 127 levels of static stimulation, vibration, and tone. With a range of ½-mile, it can go from backyard to field training without issues.

  1. Dogtra 200C Remote Training Collar
Dogtra 200C Remote Training Collar

The Dogtra 200C has low to medium correction strength, so it is a fantastic option for dogs with gentle temperaments or shy canines. This e-collar is 29% smaller than previous models and comes with a collar receiver designed for a more comfortable fit around your dog's neck.

  1. Dogtra 1900S Remote Training Collar
Dogtra 1900S Remote Training Collar

The Dogtra 1900S is one of the best ecollar for medium and large dogs. This remote dog trainer is ideal for dogs weighing 35 pounds or more. It has 127 levels of static stimulation. The low to high power output means this e-collar can handle dogs of all temperaments, even very stubborn ones. It also has a high-performance non-stimulating pager vibration.

The remote transmitter has checkered grips for better hold. This remote training e-collar can go with you from basic to more advanced training, making it well worth the money.

Basic training is a must for all dogs. Training lets them exercise both their mental and physical prowess. More importantly, it helps dogs become better-mannered, which may keep them, you, and other people safer in the long run.


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