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4 Essential Dog Commands

What are the main basic dog commands?

Kathy and her yellow lab Layla are walking together at the beach.Teaching your dog to walk with you is an important basic dog command.
Kathy and her yellow lab Layla are walking together at the beach. Teaching your dog to walk with you is an important basic dog command.

How to teach your dog to heel.


Heel or walking with you is a key dog command. I have never been a fan when it comes to teaching a dog to walk in line with the knee or walk only to one side of a person. In this day and age we have more reasons to train our dog to be very good. Teaching a dog to heel is so yesterday with the traditional expectation to walk on the left side of the person walking the dog.

Version 2.0 is better for you, your dog and the general public.


2.0 has strong positive benefits which surpass past outdated methods.

First we teach the dog to move from left to right. Teach the dog by guiding the dog and allowing the dog to engage their brain and begin to understand they are permitted to change sides when needed. All of this is permitted and taught, with one major rule – no pulling on the leash for a extended period of time. Dogs will learn to walk with you and accommodate you and themselves with give and take between you and your dog.


When should a dog transfer to the other side? I hear this question often. When you are in crowded people congestion, walking along a side walk, passing others, inside a store and the dog navigates obstacles.


A border collie heeler Bodhi learns the basic dog command sit at dog training Vancouver.
A border collie heeler Bodhi learns the basic dog command sit at dog training Vancouver.

How to Teach a Dog to Sit without treats.


Sit is an obvious request, need and want. Generally speaking, the dog command of "sit" is taught incorrectly with too many steps to have the dog learn a basic request. Forget treats, using a repetitive phrase where you are repeating yourself.

Instead let’s simplify the process. Easy to do, minimal steps with successful results.


Put a martingale collar on your dog.

Attach the leash to the floating ring.

Walk a few steps, stop, draw up on the leash and keep your feet where they are. Do not step to your dog during this process. Hold the leash up and guide the dog into a sit.


This is the first step a person needs to do when teaching sit. Do not push down on the dogs bum or hips. Once your dog begins to sit as you draw upwards with the leash you can implement the sit word, snap the fingers for a sit and much more.


A large group of dogs are learning the basic dog commands of sit and stay at group dog training class.
A large group of dogs are learning the basic dog commands of sit and stay at group dog training class.

How to teach a dog to stay.


Wait and Stay are not the same dog command. Wait is for the dog to move if need be. Stay is for the dog not to move and stay in the exact place the dog was asked too.

Example the dog is in a store, outside of a store, waiting to dry off on a mat inside and you either need the dog to wait or stay. A wet dog on mat would be "stay".


A border collie Kya runs towards her owner at dog training Vancouver class. The basic dog command of "come" or "hustle" is so important.
A border collie Kya runs towards her owner at dog training Vancouver class. The basic dog command of "come" or "hustle" is so important.

How to teach a dog to come when called.


Hustle or Come people find this to be tricky, it certainly is if you are not educated on the do’s and don’ts of this basic dog command.


Don’t repeat yourself, instead call once and go get the dog if he or she did not come.


Remember one important rule… Never repeat yourself, dogs will innately listen to your last call and dogs will learn quickly you will call and call and when the dog figures it’ll come to you the dog will have trained you to repeat yourself numerous times.

2 errors are made and we don’t realize it until it’s too late.

1. Dogs are let off leash too early with no training expectation.

2. Off leash is an earned privilege, there for enforce the right to be off leash. Don’t be lazy!



About the Author

Brad Pattison is a Dog Behaviourist, Founder & Lead Instructor at Hustle Up Dog Trainer Academy

Star & Host of TV shows At the End of My Leash & Puppy SOS, author of four books on the subject of dog training & dog behaviour including National Bestseller, Brad Pattison, UNLEASHED.

If you would like to join group dog training Vancouver classes or have a private one-on-one dog training lesson with Brad or if you would like to become a Certified Dog Trainer Educator (CTE) please reach out to find out more info! Tel: (250) 317-0274 or by email at info@hustleupdogtraining.ca


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