Introduction to Basic Dog Obedience Training

Every pet owner should provide basic dog obedience training. Regardless if the breed is large, perhaps a Great Dane or small such as a Yorkshire terrier, basic commands should be taught.

In fact, the dog’s age should not be a factor. Although it would be easier to teach a puppy, every dog can learn basic obedience although some modifications might be necessary. The bottom line - having a pet that responds to simple commands makes life easier for the dog and owner alike.

Keep in mind that along with basic dog obedience training, an individual could choose to provide a pet with additional training, whether for obedience or actual tricks. However, before moving on to advanced level training, an animal would need to have mastered the basics.

In this article, we wanted to provide a few helpful tips pertaining to training, as well as an overview of the three most important basic training commands.

Helpful Tips for Getting Started

As mentioned, advanced level commands could also be taught specific to obedience but first basic dog obedience training would be required, which works as a foundation on which to build. While the outcome is a dog that behaves and responds appropriately, training also gives an animal confidence needed to learn harder and more demanding commands and tricks.

We also want to emphasize the importance of using the right training tools. For instance, a person would need to provide the animal with a proper fitting collar and six-foot leash. In addition, small treats would be needed as part of each training session. Along with this, we strongly recommend clicker training, which is highly effective but also completely safe. Besides the necessary tools, training should always be conducted in a quiet place without distractions.

Something else to consider is that at first, a dog is not going to respond favorably. As with any type of training, it would be important to have realistic expectations and set achievable goals. For this, initial training sessions should last no more than 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, only one basic obedience command should be worked on, waiting for it to be mastered before moving on to an additional command.

Most importantly, only positive reinforcement should be used as both confirmation and a motivator. Years ago, dog training consisted of punishment but research and studies have proven time and time again that offering positive reinforcement is a much more effective means of training a dog, regardless of breed or age. This is why using treats and clicker training along with praise goes a long way.

Key Commands

Now, as far as basic dog obedience training, we strongly recommend the following three commands, at least initially.

  • Sit – Every dog should be able to sit on command. This makes handling the animal easier but also creates a level of protection. The easiest way to accomplish this is by holding a small treat above the animal’s head while in a standing position. The animal’s body will naturally follow suit, pushing the backend down. If needed, the rear of the dog could be gently guided into a seated position. The clicker would then be used as soon as the backend is on the ground to reinforce the action, followed by praise.
  • Stay – This is another basic dog obedience training command that goes along with the “sit” command. Once the dog is seated, the “stay” command would be given. This should be done initially with the animal on a leash. The owner would walk just a few feet away from the animal while holding onto the leash. If the animal stays, the clicker would be used and a treat provided. Slowly, the distance between owner and dog would increase, eventually having the animal stay without being on a leash.
  • Down – In this case, the dog would be taught to lie down. This command can be used in place of or in addition to the “sit” command but also with the “stay” command. After the dog has mastered “sit”, the owner would move on to the “down” command. For this, a small treat would be placed at eye level with the dog sitting. Then slowly, it would be lowered to the ground. Again, the body naturally follows to a lying position but if necessary, slight pressure could be placed on the back of the dog to encourage the proper action. To confirm a correct behavior, the clicker would be used once in the down position.


As mentioned there are many basic dog obedience training commands that a pet owner could choose but when first getting started, the three mentioned are considered by experts to be the most critical.

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