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How To Train Your Dog Basic Commands Waggle Mail | Dog Training 101

How To Train Your Dog: Basic Commands! Dog Training 101

The basic commands

Five basic commands that are useful for your dog to know are; sit, down, stay, come and walking nicely on the lead. This is our guide to training in a kind and effective way:


1) Have your dog standing in front of you.
2) Show him that you have a food treat in your hand.
3) Slowly move your hand and treat above and over his head towards his tail, as you give the command “sit”.
4) His head should go up as he tries to reach the treat, and his bottom should go down into the ‘sit’ position.
5) Give him the treat and praise him.

Do not push his bottom down to make him sit, as he is likely to push up against your hand as a result and this may hurt his back. When training your dog to sit, use the command “sit”. Do not use “sit down” as this may confuse your dog when you try to teach the ‘down’ command.


1) Ask your dog to sit and show him the treat in your hand.
2) Slowly move your hand down towards the ground in front of him (just in front of his feet), as you use the command “down”. He should follow your hand with his nose and
lay down.
3) Give him the treat and praise him. If you have trouble getting him to lie down in this way, put an object such as a coffee table or a chair between you and your dog and try again. He will have to lie down to get under the barrier to get the treat. Remove the barrier when he gets the hang of it.

Do not push or force his back down as he will push against you and this may hurt his back.


1) Ask him to sit or lay down.
2) Take one step away from him as you command him to “stay”. Silently count to three.
3) Step back to him, treat and praise.
4) If he gets up, ask him to sit again and repeat the procedure. Once he is doing this short ‘stay’ command correctly, gradually increase the distance between you and your dog and/or the time that he is asked to stay. If he gets up when he is not supposed to, go back a stage to a shorter distance or time, and then increase again slowly until he is doing as he is told every time.

Walking on a lead without pulling

Practice in your home and garden first as there are fewer distractions for your dog than in the street.

1) Choose which side you would like your dog to walk on and then stick to it.
2) Hold the lead in the opposite hand – keep it loose (if it is too tight, your dog will pull into it) – and put a treat in the hand nearest your dog.
3) Show your dog the treat and walk forwards.
4) As he follows your hand, say “heel” and give him a small bit of the treat.
5) Keep some treat in your hand and keep going. As he keeps to your side, say “heel” and give him some more treat. Don’t stop walking.
6) If he doesn’t keep up with you, or pulls in a different direction, suddenly change direction and encourage him to come with you. Praise him when he catches up and give him some treat. He’ll soon get the idea.

It is a natural, enjoyable behaviour for a dog to want to find out what is happening in his local area by sniffing the ground, lamp posts and fences for scents left by other dogs. On walks you should allow him to have a sniff around. When you are ready to let him do this, use a command such as “off you go”, so that he can learn when he is allowed to do this. You could use this loose lead ‘freedom’ as a reward for when he has been performing well on the lead.

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Comment (1)

  • Peter

    Bang on instructions! Walking without a lead was what i was after. Worked well.

    23 December 2020 at 5:41 pm

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