Dog Training Commands: Basic to Advanced

This list of dog training commands and step-by-step tutorials will help you teach your dog to be obedient and friendly. You will be able to teach your pet basic to advanced behaviors on cue and even teach your dog to respond with distractions.

Dog commands can be hand signals, voice commands or a mix of both. Most dogs will learn hand signals more easily than verbal cues but you can eventually teach them to recognize many different dog obedience commands.

You can even use words in a different language, for example it is very popular to use German dog commands, specially with German Shepherds. The advantage of using words in a different language is that your dog will learn to recognize and differentiate the sounds you make when talking to someone else vs talking to your dog.

Regardless of which language or dog training cue you want to use with your pet, you will find a list of basic dog commands and advance obedience commands to teach along with easy to follow tutorials.

What you will find in this article:

List of Basic Dog Training Commands

list of dog commands

I consider them basic because every dog parent should teach them to their pet. They will make living with your furry friend easier and more enjoyable!

As you learn more about them you will see links to pages for more information on a particular training method and other canine obedience tips.



Marker Word: A marker word is any word or sound (like a clicker) used to mark when your dog did something correct. But first, you must teach the meaning of this word to your dog.



Name recognition: It seems a little silly to formally teach your dog it's name, but this dog training command can be very useful to call your dog's attention. When formally trained it can be more reliable too.



Sit: this is the most basic of all dog obedience commands. All dogs can learn this cue in 5 minutes. I separated this command into 3 articles, from basic to advance levels to teach you how to progress with ANY dog training command until you get a reliable response.

Sit Level 2 - Sit Level 3



Down: Also a basic dog command but very useful. A dog that is laying down cannot jump, steal things and if you train down with a head down, he can't bark either!



Stand: Why would you ever want to teach the dog command stand to your dog? Many reasons, you can get him to stand up from the couch/bed easily and you can keep him in a stand position at the vet.



Stay: Very useful command to keep your dog in one position for a longer period of time.



Settle: if you need your dog to stop running around like crazy, this is the command to teach him.



Come when called: one of the most important dog training commands to teach your canine friend. If he can be recalled, he won't run away.

List of Advanced Dog Training Commands

I consider these advanced because you will need them if you and your pet participate in many activities like dog sports, dog service, competition obedience, etc. Even if you do not do any of those activities, some are very useful for every family dog.

For more advanced dog commands also read "Clicker Training".



Bark or speak: There are many reasons to teach your dog to bark. It can be a cure dog trick, it can scare off people and you can train it along with "quiet".



Quiet: If you have barking dog, teaching the dog training command quiet can be a blessing.



Leave-it: Teach your dog to NOT pick up things from the floor. It can be used at home or during walks.



Ask for permission: This is technically not a command, but something you need to teach your dog to do automatically before he runs away to chase something.



Touch or Target: This is actually a very easy dog obedience command to teach your dog, they love it and it can also be very useful to teach other more advanced dog training commands.

The Future of Dog Training "Commands"

Cue is a better word

It's all about giving our pets choices and let them decide. When animals (including humans) have the choice to make a decision, they feel empowered. Dog training is heading that way because as we give out pets the chance to make a guided decision, they tend to choose what we wanted anyway! And their lives are better for it too.

This page is titled "Dog training commands" because that is the most popular search term. However I want you all to know that dog training is constantly changing and improving, specially as more and more humane methods are discovered and we understand more and more about dog behavior.

The term "command" was originally used in dog training when this discipline was about "the dog MUST do what I ask because I AM THE BOSS".  We have now moved away from that type of training, the dominance and alpha theories have been disproved and we understand that positive reinforcement is easier, less dangerous and more fun to use with our pets.

In light of these changes a lot of trainers are choosing to use the word "cue" instead of "command". Why is this? the word command implies that the dog must do what I say but the word cue leaves a little room for choice. And this is where the future of dog (and animal) training is heading. When we train out pets and give them choice and decision power, their lives are enhanced and they feel better and more eager to participate. This may seem a little crazy if you are just beginning to learn about dog training but I promise it will start making more and more sense as you keep learning.

Recommended Dog Training Commands Books

If you are enjoying learning about dog training but want more! Here are some of my favorite books on the subject.

The Culture Clash

This is a must read book for any person with a dog. Jean Donaldson is an excellent writer that explains how dogs learn in a fun and easy way. The book also has tutorials of how to train many dog training commands at the end.


When Pigs Fly

Maybe you have a dog that seems impossible to train, maybe you have tried to teach your pooch a few things but he does what he wants instead. This is a great book for you then! A well written and excellent book to understand why our dogs seem "stubborn" and how to work with them and achieve the training we want.


Agility Right From the Start

If you are ready for some advance work with your dog, agility is a great sport to begin. You don't need to compete or even have a big backyard to start. This book will tell you how to train your dog to go through the basic agility equipment with positive and fun methods. It's a great book to read and will take your training to another level!




How to advance your dog training



How to get a reliable dog behavior on cue?

You will notice that most dogs learn the most basic dog training commands very quickly. However, you will also notice that they do not reliably respond when you ask. For example, your pet may obey every single time when you are at home, but as soon as you go to the park it's like he doesn't know anything!

This article takes you through the steps necessary to achieve that reliable dog command.


Teach your dog hand signals

Dogs are more visually oriented than they are verbal. That is why they will learn to predict many things about your behavior based on your body language. Hand signals are a great way to teach your furry friend commands. Your pet will understand them faster than words!


Teach your dog new words!

We, humans, are more verbally oriented than visual. That is why learning to teach your dog verbal cues is a must! Besides, it's always good to be able to talk when your hands are full. This may take a bit more time than hand signals, but is fun and challenging for you pet.


Teach your dog German cues...

Make your dog training commands stand out! We, humans, like to chat and chat. To dogs it sounds much like - blah blah blah - so, what happens when you say a command to your pet in the middle of a flurry of words? Can your puppy understand them? A way to bypass this problem is to use cues in a different language. These will sound very distinct from English and will help your hound discriminate a command from your day to day talking!


How about words in Spanish?

Don't like German, how about Spanish? Any language will do if you want to use words that sound different to your dog (than English). Here is a list of Spanish dog commands to start you off.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrea_arden/6551398337

Best Dog Training Books

If you are looking for the best information about dog training, this list has the titles that only professional dog trainers will recommend!


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