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100+ Dog Training Commands
Basic to Advanced (Free PDF)

Need a list of dog training commands? I have compiled a list of dog training cues and hand signals for you to have the best time with your dog! You will also find step-by-step tutorials to get you started. Teach your pet basic to advanced behaviors on cue and even teach your dog to respond with distractions!

Teaching your dog cues and signals creates a language between you and him/her. When your dog understand you, he feels safer because he knows what to do (and know he will also earn a reward!).

100 dog training commands, Advanced dog training commands

What are dog training cues?

Dog training commands can be hand signals, voice commands, even tactile cues, or a mix of them. Most dogs will learn hand signals more easily than verbal cues but you can eventually teach them to recognize many different dog obedience commands. Tactile cues are ideal for blind and deaf dogs.

You can even use words in a different language, for example it is very popular to use German dog commands, specially with German Shepherds, or dog commands in Spanish. 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.

list of dog commands

List of basic dog commands and hand signals

I consider the following dog training commands 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.

What are the 7 basic commands for dog training?

Yes, I know...there are 9 in this list. But a marker word is technically not a command, just a signal (a very important one to teach your dog!) and "Free" is technically part of "stay", they are usually taught together. So, 7 commands + 2 important components of training!

Command Hand signal Description
1. Good dog!
One hand doing a "thumbs up" signal
This is also known as a marker word, used to mark the correct behavior and signal the dog he/she has earned a treat.
2. Name recognition Your dog is unique! You can make up any hand signal if you want to use one with your dog, otherwise it is usually a verbal command. This is also known as a marker word, used to mark the correct behavior and signal the dog he/she has earned a treat.
3. Sit
Hand moves palm up from leg to shoulder. Alternative, index finger points down.
Request the dog to sit on its hindquarters.
4. Down
Hand moves from shoulder to leg with palm down.
Requests the dog to lay down.
5. Stand
Hand moves like a swing with pal up from leg backwards.
This command asks the dog to stand from a sitting or a down position.
6. Stay
Hand with palm up (like saying "stop").
Requests the dog to stay in a specific place and position (sit, down or stand) for a specific time. The dog should be released with a marker word or another word.
7. Free or Go
Both hands move with palms upto the sides of the hear (similar to ASL for "all done").
This is a release word used to tell the dog he is free to stop the previous request, for example he is free to move from a "Stay" cue. Go (Los) can also be used to let the dog know he is free to go outside, walk, etc.
8. Settle
Hands to the side, thumb and index finger touch like in Yoga mudras. Alternative:Both hands palms down make a downward movement from chest to floor.
Calm down, go from an active state to a quieter relaxed state.
9. Come
Standing or crouching with arms opened wide. Alternative: patting on the legs alternating with opening arms wide.
Asks your dog to come to you when called.

List of Advanced Dog Training Commands

If you already taught your dog the 7 most essential dog training commands, then it is time to step it up! For most of these advanced commands you won't need to know more, just practice a different set of skills. When you move on to the advanced, working or tricks commands, you may want to learn clicker training and shaping.

Need to review dog training methods: Luring, Capturing, Shaping, Target Training and how to get a reliable dog command!

30 Advanced Dog Training Commands

Command Best Method to teach it to your dog Description
1. Take-it Capturing Take or grab an object or item in its mouth.
2. Drop-it Luring, then capturing Drop or let go of an item in your mouth.
3. Leave-it Capturing Do not grab or approach and object or individual.
4. Kennel Capturing, could start with luring if necessary. Go to your kennel
5. Go to Bed Capturing, could start with luring if necessary. Go to your mat or bed and relax.
6. Target or touch beginner Lure then capturing, or capturing from the beginning. Touch my hand/fist with your nose. Alternative, touch a target stick with your nose.
7. Gentle Capturing Take a treat or object with your mouth gently, without biting.
8. Go potty Capturing Pee on command.
9. Heel Luring, then capturing. If you are a skilled trainer capturing from the beginning. Walk next to me at the same speed. Dog should not be lagging behind or walking ahead of the person.
10. Turn left on heel Capturing The dog turns left as you also turn left on heel position.
11. Turn right on heel Capturing The dog turns right as you also turn righ on heel position.
12. Back-up on heel Capturing Walk backwards on heel position.
13. Fast on heel Capturing Walk at a faster pace on heel position.
14. Slow on heel Capturing Walk at a lower pace on heel position.
15. Watch Luring Look at me, it could be in a stationary position or while walking on heel position.
16. Wait Capturing, maybe use a body block. Pause what your are doing momentarily. Tells your dog to wait for you to reach him or her.
17. Still Capturing Stay still in the position you are. This command indicates the dog to freeze in place.
18. Fetch Capturing Bring an item to me and place it in my hands or indicate place.
19. Put away Shaping Put your toys away in a designated box or place.
20. Stop That! Luring or capturing depending on the case. Similar to Leave-it, the difference is that the dog is already engaging in an unwanted behavior and we ask him/her to stop.
21. Speak Capturing with a stimulus that makes the dog bark. To bark on command.
22. Quiet Luring, then capturing. In some cases it can also be capturing alone. To stop barking on command.
23. Go to Sleep Capturing Go to your mat or bed and lay down to relax or sleep.
24. Touch an object or person Capturing Touch the object or person that I am pointing at.
25. Chin rest Capturing, targeting or Shaping for more advanced behavior. Lower your chin to the floor or surface.
26. Find keys Capturing and Shaping Find my lost keys
27. Wipe your paws Capturing and Shaping When the dog comes home from a muddy walk, to wipe its pays on a rug.
28. Bring your dish Capturing and Shaping Bring your empty dish to me.
29. Bring me ... an item Capturing and Shaping Bring me the item I ask for (Newspaper, Sleepers, tissue paper, etc.)
30. Ask for permission Capturing Technically not a command, but your dog should know this in certain situation (like out for walks).

List of dog training commands free PDF

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List of training dog commands free PDF

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Our newsletter name ("The YES dog") was created to promote positive dog training methods (say -yes- instead of punishment) and the acronym also tells you what you will get into your inbox:

Yeehaw with your dog (find joy with fun activities)

Explore dog science (learn about your best friend)

Sayings that inspire (a quote to help you bond with your dog)

Working or Sports Dog Training Commands

Your dog may not be a working dog (police, military, search and rescue, tracking or scent work, service, for the blind, therapy, etc.) but many of the skills taught to these dogs can be very useful too. Also, dogs that play sports like agility and disc-dog learn certain commands that can be useful, fun and will definitely make your dog smarter and more resourceful!

33 Working or Sports Dog Training Commands

Command Best Method Description
1. Search/Find Capturing and shaping Find a lost item or person or search an area for a specific odor.
2. Track Capturing and shaping Follow a scent trail.
3. Stop Capturing and shaping When the dog is in active movement, we ask them to stop in their tracks.
4. Crawl Shaping Move forward with your belly touching the ground.
5. Attack Capturing and shaping Jump and grab the arm of the person threatening me.
6. Guard Capturing Guard and protect and area, a person or a group of animals or people.
7. Howl Capturing Howl on command.
8. Growl Capturing Growl on command
9. Jump Luring Jump over an obstacle
10. On top Luring Jump on top of an elevated surface and stay there.
11. Under Luring Go under an obstacle
12. Through Luring Go Through an obstacle, example: agility tunnel
13. Jump Through Luring Jump Through an obstacle, example: hoop or your arms
14. Go in Luring Get inside a box like obstacle.
15. Two paws Luring Place two paws on top or inside an obstacle.
16. Go around clockwise Luring, then capturing Go around an object or obstacle in a clockwise manner.
17. Go around counterclockwise Luring, then capturing Go around an object or obstacle in a counter-clockwise.
18. Turn left (ahead of human) Luring, then capturing While the dog goes ahead of the person, the dog has to turn to it's left side and continue.
19. Turn right (ahead of human) Luring, then capturing While the dog goes ahead of the person, the dog has to turn to it's right side and continue.
20. Onwards Capturing This is a signal to keep going forward.
21. Teeter Capturing This is a signal for the dog to walk or run above a see-saw type obstacle.
22. Weave Capturing and shaping, luring for beginners Slalom in between poles or objects in a row.
23. Outside Luring This is a signal to tell the dog to go outside.
24. Inside Luring This is a signal to tell the dog to go outside.
25. Hold it Shaping Your dog should grab and hold in its mouth an item or object.
26. Carry Shaping Carry an item in your mouth (for example: a basket, bag, etc).
27. Go to person Luring or capturing Your dog goes to the person you are signaling.
28. Open a door/drawer Shaping or target training Open a door by putting your front paws on the handle.
29. Close a door/drawer Shaping or target training Close a door by pushing it with your nose.
30. Bring me a soda/beer Shaping and chaining Open the fridge, bring me a soda/beer, then close the fridge.
31. Lights! Shaping or target training Turn the lights on or off.
32. Point Capturing and shaping Point to alert me of something (Ex: point to where an animal is to hunt).
33. Alert Capturing and shaping Alert the owner of something important (Sound for people with hearing disabilities, low blood sugar for people with diabetes, imminent migraine or seizure for people with migraines or prone to seizures, etc.).

Trick Training Commands for Dogs

Trick training is the most fun! Why? Because when you teach tricks to your pet, you are not pressured by your dog's ability to quickly grasp something and stop doing a "bad" behavior, you are just having fun. Teaching your dog trick commands is a great to bond and keep your dog sharp and motivated.

40 Trick Training Commands

Command Best Method Description
1. Shake hands (Paw) Luring and capturing Ask your dog to place its paw on your hand while you shake it.
2. Belly/ Dead (Play dead) Luring Cue to ask your dog to lay down and show his/her belly, aka "play dead"
3. Roll Over Luring Command to ask your dog to roll-over on the floor.
4. High-five Capturing Ask your dog to give you a high-five
5. Wave "goodbye" or "hello" Luring or shaping Wave with your paw.
6. Sit pretty or beg Luring To raise both paws up front while the rear remains on the floor.
7. Bow Luring Take a bow, the dog lowers its fron shoulders while living it's rump up. A play-bow.
8. Spin Luring Spin around in a complete circle clockwise.
9. Twirl Luring Spin around in a complete circle counter-clockwise.
10. Go hide Shaping Ask your dog to hide behind a wall or big piece of furniture.
11. Jump into my arms Shaping Usually for small dogs, ask them to jump into your arms.
12. Weave Luring (for beginners), Capturing (with the right set up), Shaping Weave through my legs.
13. Kiss Capturing Ask your dog to kiss you or lick you on your cheek.
14. Shake your body Capturing Dog shakes as if it was trying to shake off water.
15. Say your prayers Shaping Dog puts both front paws on an elvated surface (like a bed) and lowers it's chin down as if in prayer.
16. Handstand or Spiderman Shaping Dog climbs a wall with its bag legs.
17. Peek-a-boo or bridge Luring Dog moves around the person and comes half way through its open legs looking up.
18. Tuck yourself in bed Shaping and reverse chain Dog lays down on a blanker, grabs a corner of the blanket and rolls-around covering himself with it.
19. Yawn Capturing Cue that tells your dog to yawn.
20. Limp Capturing or Shaping Dog walks with a limp front paw.
21. Find your leash Capturing Ask your dog to find the leash and bring it to you.
22. where is your ball? Capturing Ask your dog to find a ball and bring it to you.
23. Stand in two legs Luring Cue for your dog to stand on its back legs only.
24. Moonwalk Shaping Cue for your dog to walk backwards in a bow position.
25. Whisper Shaping Bark very softly
26. Tell me a secret Shaping Put you nose in my ear while I cover it with my hand as if dog is telling you a secret into your ear.
27. Ring a bell Shaping Ring a bell with your paw.
28. Smile Shaping Curl your lips up as if in smiling.
29. Balance on your head Shaping Balance and object on your head
30. Balance on your nose Shaping Balance and object or cookie on your nose
31. Take socks off Shaping Pull socks of my feet with your mouth without biting.
32. Send a message Shaping Take a note to someone else.
33. Play piano Shaping Play the piano with your paws.
34. Walk on two legs Shaping Walk on your two hind legs standing tall.
35. Walk on my toes Shaping The dog stands under your legs, puts its front legs on top of your feet and you walk together.
36. Leap over people Luring and shaping The dog runs and jumps on a person's back (person on four on the floor) to jump even higher.
37. Go around me Luring The dog walks around the person.
38. Jump the rope Capturing and shaping The dog jumps the rope with the person.
39. Play basketball Capturing and shaping Pass the ball to your dog (dog sitting in "sit pretty position"), dog has to push it with its front legs to pass it back to you.
40. Act ashamed Capturing and shaping Dog places one paw over its nose while looking down as if ashamed.

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.

Dog training without commands

One of the important aspects of this movement towards and even more positive dog training world, is to teach dogs to make the right choices when facing a situation.

Did you know that dog training can be MORE than teaching your dog commands? There are many things you can teach your dog to do on its own, meaning you are giving the dog control over his/her own life and choose what to do in a specific situation (of course you will also teach your dog to MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE!).

Examples of this are to train your dog to:

  • Not jump on people when they come in the home (they dog doesn't need to do anything specific, just NOT jump).
  • The commands leave-it, stay, settle and many others can also be taught without a "command". The idea is to teach the dog that those are the "correct choices" in certain situation and if they choose it, they get rewarded! But they have a choice!
  • Consent training teaches your dog to let you know when he/she is uncomfortable and would like to stop. For example, you can teach your dog to receive eye drops, but with the possibility to let you know to stop and then continue when he/she is ready.

Start your journey towards consent training with The Bucket Game (See Youtube video below!).

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.

The culture clash dog training book review

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.

when pigs fly book review

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 teach your dog agility specific dog training commands.

Agility Right from the Start Book Review

Best Dog Training Books

If you are looking for the best information about dog training, this list of best dog training books has the titles that only professional dog trainers will recommend! As a Certified Professional Dog Trainer I have read them all (and more) and trust me, you will learn amazing things!

Click for joy book review

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This article was written by Natalia Rozas, Ph.D. and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA #4071465) and updated on March 28th, 2024. Case studies and anecdotes are real but to protect the privacy of our clients the names and details are changed.

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