Basic Dog Training: 5 Commands All Dogs Should Know!

Here at Tailster we have put together a list of basic dog training tips to help you teach your four legged friend the essentials! Dogs bring so much joy to our lives even when they are causing chaos, but sometimes obedience problems can get out of hand.

Read on to find out more on basic dog training…
basic dog training

Basic Dog Training Tips

Basic dog training is essential for a harmonious relationship between you and your dog. It’s never too late to teach your dog the basic commands, not only is it much more enjoyable to have a well behaved dog but it will also help to keep them safe.

Dogs should ideally go through basic dog training when they are puppies as this is when they learn the quickest. But contrary to common phrase, old dogs are still very capable of learning new tricks. Although the earlier they the learn the better!

Basic dog training should be an enjoyable way to bond with your pet. We suggest using a positive reward system, dogs are much more receptive when they know treats are involved. High value treats can range from snacks they love to their favourite toy, basically anything they really want. When giving your dog the treat it’s important to always give them verbal praise at the same time.

When teaching your dog a new command you will need to reward them every time they do it. To start with always reward them with a treat and verbal praise. As they get the hang of the basic dog training keep giving them verbal praise but only reward them occasionally with treats. This will make your dog work harder!

1. Sit 

  • Start with your dog standing in front of you, let them know that you have some tasty food in your hand.
  • Then you need to slowly move your hand over your dog’s head towards its tail, whilst telling them to sit.
  • This should naturally encourage your dog to lift its head whilst lowering its bottom into the sit position. Don’t push your dog’s bottom down as they will likely resist this.
  • Once your dog is in the sitting position you should reward them with the treat and praise.
  • Keep your commands simple, such as “sit” not “sit down” as the latter may confuse your dog when you teach them the ‘down’ command.

2. Down

  • Once you have mastered the ‘sit’ command, it’s time to attempt the ‘down’ command.
  • Get your dog into their newly perfected sitting position, let them know you’ve got a treat in your hand.
  • Move your hand with the treat in a downwards motion from their nose, past their chest to the ground between their feet.
  • Repeat “down” as you move the treat to the ground.
  • This should encourage your dog into the down position, once lying down reward your dog with the treat in your hand.

3. Stay

  • First ask your dog to sit.
  • When they are sitting happily take a step away from them whilst repeating “stay”.
  • Count to three in your head, then step back towards them and reward them with a treat and verbal praise.
  • You can slowly start to increase the distance between you and your dog. If they get up whilst you’re teaching them begin the command again by putting them into the sitting position.

4. Leave 

  • The top trick for the ‘leave’ command is to persuade your dog that you have something more interesting than what they have in their mouths.
  • Start with a treat in either hand, show your dog one of the treats. Repeat the ‘leave’ command until your dog stops nudging and moves away from your hand.
  • You can then reward your dog with the treat from the other hand.
  • Keep repeating this process until your dog actively move away from your hand when you command them to ‘leave’.

5. Heel

  • There is nothing worse than your dog constantly pulling on the lead, this is why the ‘heel’ command is vital for you and your dog to share an enjoyable walk.
  • Get your dog onto their lead, allow them to have the full length of the lead while you stand still. When they start to pay attention to you allow them to have a treat and praise them.
  • Once you have their attention start to walk, whenever your dog is walking next to you with a loose lead tell them to ‘heel’ and reward them.
  • If your dog starts to move away from your heel, stop and stand still until they move back towards you. You can then reward them and start to walk again. Repeat this every time your dog starts to move away from you.
  • For a more advanced lesson try adding some some distractions such as toys on the floor. When your dog starts to pull, stop and wait until you have their attention again. Begin to walk and tell them to ‘heel’ if they follow your instruction give them a treat.
  • They will soon learn that they will receive a treat and praise when walking by your heel.


Practice makes perfect, keep commands clear and consistent! If your dog doesn’t initially pick up on the command, keep persevering with short regular sessions. Practice at home before trying the commands in public, as there will be far more distractions for your dog in a public place. Remember once a command has be learnt only treat your dog on a random basis. Always end the training session on a positive note so your dog will be keen to train again!

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Work, family and social commitments mean that there often aren’t enough hours in the day take our dogs to all the parks London has to offer! Click here to find out how Tailster can put you in contact with hundreds of pet carers in your local area, meaning that you can rest in the knowledge that your pets are being well looked after.

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