The Most Important Dog Training Commands

The list of dog training commands is actually quite lengthy but it would be unreasonable to expect any one animal to perform all of them.

The types of commands a pet owner chooses would be based on several factors but most importantly, the breed and any work the animal does. In other words, specific obedience commands would be essential for high-energy breeds such as the Yorkshire terrier whereas a dog involved in shows, field trials, herding, and so on would be taught different or additional commands.

Keep in mind that there are certain commands that all dog breeds should be taught. Known as obedience training, this simply provides a foundation of expectations on which both owner and pet can build. With obedience training, an animal would learn dog training commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “lie down”, and perhaps “heel”, making pet ownership a more enjoyable experience. Beyond this, a dog owner could choose other commands if wanted.

Establishing a Foundation

Regardless if the breed is large or small, docile or assertive, or used as a companion versus working dog, the commands addressed in this article should be considered by all pet owners. A common misconception is that smaller breeds pose no risk and are easy to control. While a smaller breed would be easier to control than a larger breed simply because of size, even small dogs to include the Yorkshire terrier can still bite, jump, scratch, and show destructive behavior.

However, if the right dog training commands are taught while still a puppy, bad behaviors can be prevented. Of course, there is no reason that an adult dog cannot be taught these same commands, whether to learn a new command or as a refresher for things already known.

Basic Dog Commands

The following are dog training commands that every pet owner should consider, regardless of breed.


  • Come – Of all the recommended commands, this should be one of the first things a puppy is taught. Typically, the dog’s name would become part of the “come” command, which is training used to get an appropriate and immediate response whenever the owner calls out for the pet.


  • Sit – This too is a basic command that every dog should know. The “sit” command is easy to teach and easy for a puppy to learn. This particular training command can be used in a variety of situations to ensure proper behavior such as waiting to be fed, staying beside the owner while out in public, not charging someone at the front door, and so on.


  • Stay – In most cases, the “sit” and “stay” command would be taught in conjunction with one another. In addition to keeping a dog under control, the “stay” command is used as a means of keeping the animal safe.


  • Down – For this, different phrases could be used but the goal is for the animal to lie down on command. Some people prefer to simply use “down” while others use “lie down”. In either case, this is a good command for an animal to be taught in that it prevents a dog from rushing someone or even another animal, regardless if playing or being assertive.


  • Okay – In addition to “okay”, some people prefer to use the word “release”. No matter the preference, this dog training command lets the animal know he is released from the previous command given. For instance, if a dog were taught to “wait”, the “okay” or “release” command would be given once the owner deems it okay for the animal to move about freely.


  • No – For a puppy, the “no” command is very important. This command needs to be given in a firm voice with the purpose of getting the attention of the animal while displaying some kind of bad behavior such as chewing on shoes, clawing at the door, or even excessive barking.


  • Off – Although the “off” command is critical for larger breeds, it is still something that Yorkshire terriers and other small breeds should learn. In simple terms, the “off” command tells an animal not to jump or to get off prohibited furniture.


  • Leave It and Drop It – The “leave it” command could be used for a standard house pet but also for a dog involved with field trials, herding, and other working situations. By nature, dogs are very curious and because of this, they will often pick up or begin to chew on things that could pose risk of some kind. With this command, the animal would know to avoid picking something up. If a dog had already put something in his mouth, the “drop it” command would be used instead.


  • Heel – Although most cities have leash ordinances, having a dog that knows how to heel is considered another great dog training command. While often used with an animal off the leash, the “heel” command can also be used with a dog on a leash to help it keep pace and stay close to the owner.

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