How to Train Your Dog

The idea of training your dog might fill you with excitement or dread. You might have an old dog who could use a few new tricks, or perhaps a new pup you want to start teaching. No matter your situation, you can try training your dog and add a little order to your canine life.

If you don’t feel equipped for dog training, you can ask your veterinarian for obedience school recommendations. Your vet can also suggest some healthy snacks that you can use as rewards while training your pup.

Basic Commands to Teach Your Dog

There are many things you can teach your dog. However, these five basic commands are things all dogs should learn. They come in handy in many situations, and you’ll be likely to use some of them just about every day.

When training your dog, use one word commands, preferably a single syllable. You can offer treats, attention, or a combination of the two to reward correct responses to your commands. Be firm with your commands but not angry. Remember, you’re in charge. As with any learning, repetition is key.


When you walk your dog, does she tug at the leash and pull you along the way? You might wonder who is walking whom? Heel is the command used to teach your dog to walk at your side, even with your knee. You can say ‘heel’ while moving your dog to where she should be walking. It may take a while to set in, but it will make walks so much easier.


This key command is useful when you need your dog to get down from a person or surface, await instruction, display submission, or stay out of trouble.

Lie Down

Less necessary than the sit command, teaching your dog to lie down is good for getting your dog to calm down, go to bed, or just to show off and earn a reward.


This is one everyone would like their dogs to learn. If your dog likes to help you answer the door, teaching him to sit at a comfortable distance or stay in the yard is very important.


There are many times when you need your dog to come to you. They might be in danger, or it might just be time to go somewhere. Whatever the case, this command is helpful on a daily basis.

Ask your vet for more training tips or for referrals. Remember to be firm with your commands, stick to one consistent word for each command, and be patient with your dog while training.