How To Teach A Dog To Sit? Here’s A Guide To The 5 Basic Commands!

A good Rottweiler walking beside his owner

Why and how to teach a dog to sit, stay, lay down, come and walk on a leash?

These commands are what makes him a good member of the community as they keep him, the neighbors, and other pets safe.

If your dog does not master these commands, your time with him outside the comfort of your home is very limited. Also, without these commands, your best friend may be causing the most trouble at the house.

None of these 5 basic commands will be mastered in a day, but with consistency and positive reinforcement, your puppy will be glad to repeat them every day.

So, let’s see how you can teach your dog the 5 basic commands starting today.

How to Teach a Dog to Sit?

One of the most important commands any dog should master is the “sit” command. It helps control his behavior and makes it easier to train him for other more important commands. On top of that, sit is the easiest of them all as it requires most of the work to be done by you.

Two shetland sheepdogs sitting patiently

Good dogs doing what their owner said: sit.

Here’s what to do:

  • Get on the same level as your dog.
  • Hold a treat closer to your dog’s nose.
  • Move the treat up and let his head follow your hand.
  • He’ll have to physically lower his bottom to the ground to get the treat.
  • As soon as his butt touches the ground, give him the treat and praise him for good behavior.
  • Repeat these steps until the dog masters the command which you should pair with the word “sit”.

Keep the treat on your hand but don’t put the latter too high. If you do so, your dog will be more inclined to jump and catch rather than sit down for it. Always praise him with “ good sit” when he does it correctly and start over when he does not.

Here are 4 methods to train your dog to sit from WikiHow.

How to Teach a Dog to Stay?

The “stay” command is a little more advanced than sit. It is asking a little bit much of a puppy that all he wants to do is jump and run around. It’s asking too much for two reasons: a puppy wants to be near you at all times, and he does not want to stay still at all. And that’s exactly what you are asking from him with this command.

White puppy Samoyed learning to stay

A puppy learning to stay and he is asking why.

So, here’s how to train him to do it:

  • Start the process in an area familiar to your dog, and that’s a distraction-free zone. You want him to focus entirely on you.
  • Ask him to sit and wait for him to hold the position for a few seconds before giving him his treat.
  • Add the verbal command “stay” when your dog successfully stays still for a few seconds.
  • Gradually increase the time between giving him the verbal cue and praising him for “good stay”.
  • Gradually increase the space between you and your puppy.

Teaching your dog to follow this command can help him stay calm in nervous, unfamiliar situation to him. Imagine your dog goes after something he can’t fully understand how dangerous it is. This command should stop him until you give him another command to start moving again.

Here is how to do it according to QuickAndDirtyTips.

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down?

One of the most difficult commands is to ask your dog to lay down. Being a submissive position, dogs aren’t really ready to follow your orders on this one. Your puppy will need more time to feel comfortable laying down for you, especially if he is a strong, willful dog breed.

A puppy Pug learning to lay down

Okay! I’m down. Where’s the treat?

So, here is how to train your puppy to lay down:

  • Bring out the tastiest dog treat you have and make sure it smells really good for your dog.
  • Show your dog that you have it on your hand then close it and ask him to sit.
  • Start lowering down your closed hand until your dog’s nose hit the ground.
  • Keep your hand on the ground and move it away from his nose. Your dog will have to lay down to reach the treat.
  • As soon as your puppy’s belly hits the floor, give him the treat and praise him for a “good down”.
  • Repeat consistently and pair the process with a gentle “down” command. You may have to gently pressure on his shoulder to lay down if he insists on getting the treat without laying.
  • Remember that this posture is not natural for your dog and needs a lot of praise when he performs it perfectly.

Teaching your dog to lay down is the best you to show how safe and secure it is to be around him when you’re out having fun. That submissive posture is a sign to everyone that your dog is harmless.

Here is another way to train your dog to lay down according to the American Kennel Club.

Watch this expert teach hyperactive dog the basic commands so easily.

How to Teach a Dog to Come?

This command is how you will be able to control your dog from a distance. He needs to fully master this command before you can take him off-leash. Therefore, you need to pay very close attention to how fast he responds and what distracts him from following your command.

A Golden Retriever running back to his owner

He comes back as soon as he heard his owner call for him.

So, here’s how to do it:

  • You want to teach this command in a quiet area where there isn’t too much distraction, and the area should be enclosed.
  • Squat in a spot away from your puppy and open your arms in a welcoming matter.
  • Call for him with “come” just once. Never repeat the command or you will confuse your dog later.
  • As the puppy starts walking toward you, praise him for being a good dog.
  • Motivate your dog with treats and toys if they are motivated in such a way.
  • Stop praising your dog as soon as he stops moving toward you.
  • If successful, praise your dog when you rub his belly and tell him to go play for a while before repeating the exercise.
  • If unsuccessful, use a short leash and walk your dog to the spot where you want him to come. Stay positive all the way with a lot of praise to encourage him to follow your command.

Never use “come” when you are trying to discipline your dog. That will only teach him to avoid the command at all costs. Instead, walk up to him and discipline him the right way.

Follow this comprehensive guide from the American Kennel Club to do it properly.

How to Teach a Dog to Heel?

This is without a doubt the command that’s going to take your dog a lot of time to understand and follow. However, it is a must. You cannot have your dog dragging in the streets, and you follow him. When you are walking your dog, YOU should be walking the dog, not the other way around.

Black and white Poodle walking with his owner

This exactly how you want to walk your dog.

So, here’s how to do it:

  • First, figure out what would be the vocal cue for this command. “Let’s go” seems to be a very popular one. However, whichever you choose, stick to it FOREVER.
  • Put a leash on your dog and say “let’s go”. Keep the dog your left side, while holding a squeaky toy on your right hand.
  • Walk a step and stop. If your dog remains next to you, praise and reward him.
  • Walk two steps and stop. If your dog remains next to you, praise and reward him.
  • Walk three steps and stop. Well, I think you can see where I am going with this.
  • If your dog starts dragging you around, stop right at your place and take a few steps back. You can even go the opposite direction of your dog. Eventually, he’ll come back to you. Reward him when he does.
  • If your dog seems to be distracted, squeak the toy to gain his attention again. Walk a step and reward him for being a good dog.

Remember that a dog loves to go for a walk and he wants to discover much of the world too. Asking him to stick to you is hard for him to understand, especially when he is an active, intelligent dog. Therefore, take your time and walk step by step until it feels like a real walk. Then, slowly limit the use of the toy and the treats when you are walking.

Here is a full guide on how to teach your dog to heel from SitStay.

How about your dog? Can he or she walk on a leash? Does your puppy know how to sit and stay? Let us know in the comments down below. Tell us how you have trained your dog to be the best dog ever.

About the Author Youness Bermime

Hi, there! My name is Youness, a professional content writer and marketer. I love dogs, and I think Huskies are, for most of the time, better than humans. I am, also, the owner and editor of WritersDo. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post because I enjoyed writing it. Don't forget to share it with your friends!

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1 comment
Jessica says February 2, 2018

Such great tips, I got a pup and I’m teaching him to so simple commands and this helped! I also read another article just so I can get a hint of another way of how to train them both of these articles really helped me. 🙂

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