The 7 Dog Commands Every Pet Owner Should Know
Teaching these seven common commands is the best way to train even the most anxious dogs and build their trust.
Updated By: Catie Kovelman, 03/26/2022
Whether you are teaching your new puppy boundaries or rescuing a scared former stray, every reputable animal trainer knows that teaching your pup seven basic commands is essential for all other dog training and establishing a lifelong bond with your dog. The basic commands that every dog should learn are sit, stay, down, come, off, heel, and no.
Establishing these training foundations early on is something that Dog Trainer Brandon McMillan swears by. Brandon believes that before you can start training your dog out of bad habits or teaching him to perform specialized tasks, he will need to understand these basic commands. Even tasks like potty training become easier once you've had the chance to teach your dog basic obedience, ideally building trust throughout the training process.
In this episode of "Lucky Dog," Brandon teaches anxious shelter-pup, Vinnie, the seven common commands that every dog and pet owner must know. Once Brandon evaluates him at the Lucky Dog Ranch, the experienced dog trainer realizes that Vinnie suffers from extreme shyness. If not addressed, the timid dog’s shyness and anxiety will make it difficult for him to find a forever home. Luckily, Brooks, who volunteers at the Lucky Dog Ranch, is already interested. Brooks hopes to follow in Brandon's footsteps and become an animal trainer when he grows up. In addition to gaining experience for his future career, teaching Vinnie these fundamental commands is a great exercise for building trust in and of itself and is a chance to start forming a lifelong bond with his soon-to-be pet. Brooks’ parents told him as long as he learns as much as he can from Brandon, he can finally get a dog!
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Dogs like Vinnie, who come from the streets, are likely used to people pushing them away. They’ve also likely never set foot (or paw?) inside a home before so you may have to correct your dog’s behavior to eliminate bad habits learned on the streets. It’s ultimately a new dog owner's responsibility to build trust and establish boundaries. Where to start? With these seven dog commands:
These basic commands are the most commonly used ones that owners will go to on a daily basis. Forget the "more is better" mentality. Don't confuse your dog by trying to train him or her with tons of commands that they may follow some of the time. Instead, focus on the seven most important ones, and with a commitment to training, you'll have a dog who excels in all of them!
As Brandon explains, "These are the common commands that every dog has to know. This is the basic A, B, C's, and 1, 2, 3's of life." To reward the dog's behavior, use treats, praise, gentle touch, or all three! The ideal environment to train an anxious dog is in a quiet, calm home with no other pets or very young children. If you have an enclosed yard, this is the best place to train your dog, especially with the commands "stay" and "come," which require some distance. It's also recommended to keep your dog on a leash during training until he will reliably come to you at your command.
At Lucky Dog Ranch, where Brandon trains all types of dogs, he uses an approach called "TLC Training." TLC stands for trust, love, and conquer. Once you establish trust, training becomes much easier. This is exactly what Brandon did with Vinnie.
At the end of the day, it’s important to know that repetition and practice are key to nailing these seven basic commands. The more your dog associates following commands with your love and praise, the better trained he or she will be. Your dog may even start to offer the behaviors without being asked because he associates them with your love and praise. In those early days, expect to be frustrated, yet if you can maintain your cool and show your dog you're the boss, you will soon have a well-trained and loving dog in your home!
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