Dog giving handshake to person

Do you know these eight tricks to teach your dog commands?‍

Teaching a dog to sit, stay or lie down is necessary for everyday life. But how does a dog learn the most important commands? We have some tips for you.


Teaching a dog to sit, stay or lie down is simply necessary in mastering your everyday life together. It’s best to start when the dog is just a puppy. But as the owner, what should you bear in mind so that your dog hears you perfectly in the future? And how exactly does your new flatmate learn the most important commands?

Read the following tips and concrete instructions for training a dog:

8 tips to teach your dog commands

When your dog has to learn commands, it’s not a one-way street. You’re in the same boat and your dog will always only behave as well as you’ve taught him. But what should you consider when you want to teach your dog to sit, stay or lie down?

Tip 1: Use gestures, facial expressions and your voice!

Dogs may not understand our language, but they can read your face. So, emphasise your commands with appropriate facial expressions, and also to show when it’s especially serious. In addition, you can combine commands with specific hand movements, which make it easier for the dog to understand. The same goes for your tone of voice. Your dog has a fine sense as to whether a “sit” or “stay” is said cheerfully or contains a strict command.

Tip 2: Stick to uniform, short commands!

It’s best to think about which commands you’d like to teach your dog before it moves in with you. Name them clearly for yourself and stick to this choice of words for your dog. Nothing is more confusing than when the sounds are always different to the dog’s ear. Brevity is the spice of life here! Long explanations are just an incomprehensible torrent of words to a dog.

Tip 3: Be consistent!

Of course, you should avoid force when training your dog. After all, you don’t want to frighten him, but ideally learn with him in a playful way. However, he must know who’s boss. That’s why consistency is so important when it comes to commands. A certain action produces a certain reaction. These should always be the same so that your dog always knows what to expect from you.

Tip 4:  Entice your dog with rewards!

Instead of punishing your dog, you should reward him for correct behaviour. Treats and toys are the right bait here. However, you should use them in moderation. Repeated rewards will train your dog’s behaviour.

Tip 5: Think about the right timing!

Dogs have a very short reaction time. So, you should immediately reward a correctly executed command. If you wait, your dog won’t understand the connection. Similarly, if you punish him for something that happened, for example, hours or minutes ago, he won’t understand. The reaction must directly follow the behaviour.

Tip 6: Learn the dog’s language!

Your dog is trying to understand you – you should try to do the same. Pay attention to your dog’s physical signals. Is he excited? Is he afraid?

Does he enjoy learning? If you can interpret these signs, then you can adapt teaching the commands accordingly, e.g. praise and reward more when your shelter dog is anxiously waiting for a punishment as a result of a previously learned behaviour.

Tip 7: Adapt the commands to the dog’s age!

Puppies shouldn’t learn too many commands at the same time. With tricks like offering a paw, you should always make sure your dog is physically fit. If he’s still growing, then learning jumps, for example, should be postponed until later.

Tip 8: Find a place with no distractions!

Your dog will learn best if he’s not constantly distracted. The quietest place is probably at home. Outside, there are other dogs, people, animals, noises and other exciting things.

The most important dog commands

The basic commands “sit”, “stay” and “drop it” should be learned by every dog in order to master everyday life. Of course, there are also dog commands which serve for your entertainment, e.g. offering a paw or learning to roll over. Depending upon the breed, such a command can also be a meaningful learning process, since your dog has an activity it finds fun.

Teaching a dog to sit

  • Hold a treat in your hand and show it to your dog.
  • Move it slowly over his head so that he has to sit in order to keep an eye on it. Give your dog his reward.
  • Show him with a word like “done” that the exercise is over.
  • What should you pay attention to?

First, you can also practise this process without words, but emphasise your actions with a gesture like an outstretched index finger. Then add the command “sit”. Don’t forget to praise your dog in addition to the treat.

Gradually, you can replace tasty rewards with petting or affectionate words. Incidentally, this command is less recommended for dogs during the cold months, as they can catch a cold. In winter, it’s best to practise inside or not let your dog sit on the cold ground for too long.

Teaching a dog to lie down

  • Get your dog to “sit”!
  • Lower a treat in front of him to get him to lie down. Reward the dog with a treat as soon as he lies down.
  • End the exercise.

What should you pay attention to?

“Down” should not be a cautionary tale for dogs, rather a comfortable position. A basic condition is that your dog has already mastered “sit”. Emphasise this command with a hand signal so that it can also work from a greater distance later on. Reduce the treats little by little and replace them with praise and petting.

Teaching a dog to stay

  • Get your dog to lie down.
  • Slowly back away from him while saying “stay”.
  • If he stands up, start the exercise again from scratch.
  • If he stays lying down, increase the distance and praise him generously.

What should you pay attention to?

The temptation to constantly say “stay” is great. But giving the command once is enough. In the beginning, it can make sense to practise in a comfortable place, e.g. his basket at home.

Teaching a dog to drop it

  • Offer your dog an alternative to what he already has in his mouth, e.g. his favourite toy. Try not to reach into your dog’s mouth. This may work the first time, but after that your dog will remember the experience and swallow the spoils before you can get to his mouth. Therefore, always offer an alternative!
  • Say “drop it” loud and clear when he gives up the “booty.”
  • Praise him exuberantly and let him have his new conquest.

What should you pay attention to?

The “drop it” command can be vital in an emergency, for example, if your dog has something poisonous in his mouth. If you don't want to wait until you get into such a situation, then put an old sock or something similar in the apartment for practice.

Teaching a dog to roll over

  • Get your dog to lie down.
  • To get your dog to roll over, tempt him with a treat.
  • Hold this directly in front of his muzzle and move it slowly over his back.
  • Support the movement by helping slightly with your hand.
  • Reward your trickster.

What should you pay attention to?

Like all tricks, it will take time until your dog masters it. Patience and repetition are the key here. Gestures help to support rolling over. Little by little, you can replace the treats with praise.

Teaching a dog to offer a paw

  • Get your dog to “sit”.
  • Take one of his paws and say the command clearly.
  • Reward your dog with a treat.

What should you pay attention to?

Comparatively speaking, offering a paw is a simple trick. Here too, the art lies in replacing the reward after a while with words and petting.

If your dog doesn’t listen…

Your dog doesn’t follow your commands 100%? dog liability insurance makes sure that you’re covered in case “stay” is ignored and the neighbour’s silk dress suffers, or another dog gets hurt. It’s best to take out dog liability insurance before your new flatmate moves in. Find out now what advantages Coya can offer you if an ignored command turns into a major mishap.

 

Interesting? Then share the article. 


This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

Share it if you liked it!

Our dog liability

top of page

Other interesting topics for dog owners

TOP OF PAGE