True, there are some basic commands all dogs should know. The universal Sit/Stay/Lay Down can actually make the difference between unruly animals and loveable household companions. We took this quite a step further for our dogs, ever since the oldest was a puppy and we made a list of all the commands we could possibly think of to teach him! We found a much-needed outlet for all of that magnificent intelligence and energy that dogs are known for.
Creating a smart, well-mannered dog is not as hard as you might think and it doesn’t require any special expertise in obedience training. All you need is a strong desire to see an improvement in your dog and the willingness to apply some time, patience, and a little common sense to their learning–you won’t ever regret it!
Knowing the commands is just the first step. When a stranger sees the list of things our dogs can do they feel a bit overwhelmed… Some typical responses include:
“Oh wow, look at that!”
“How can they possibly know so much?”
“My dog(s) can never behave like this!”
But handing that list over to a petsitter or a newly introduced person is like a golden ticket to fun, excitement, awe, and enthusiasm. They begin to play with the animals, interact more fully, and truly enjoy the experience. It is like being handed a remote control (with instructions) for our three loveable pooches.
Here are the commands they follow:
Our dogs will usually respond to the following commands no matter who delivers them, so long as they are focused on the person and the commands are delivered in a firm, direct manner. No begging or pleading here, think about the leader or person in a position of authority, when they tell you to sit, they expect you to sit–so there is no pleading or repeating over and over again what you already heard.
- Lay down
- Paw (for a handshake or to wipe muddy, wet feet)
- Other Paw (they hand over the opposite one)
- Paws up
- Get off
- Get up (dogs stand up from a seated or lying position)
- Go over there (point any direction and they follow finger, useful for vacuuming or other navigation!)
- Go to the door (they run to any door you point to and sit)
- Go to bed (same idea, point to the doggie bed and they’ll go lay down there)
- Get back (for reverse motion, walking backwards/backing up)
- Settle down
- Get out of… [blank] (could be whatever room they’re in such as bathroom, kitchen or bedroom but could also be anything they’re into like trash, dirt, toilet, etc.
- And of course… the classic: NO! SHH! HEY! NUH UNH! (any sharp phrase or utterance that gets their attention back on you and your loving leadership, keeping them out of trouble)
That should be an excellent start for any companion animal but keep in mind this is just a start. From all of the extremely well trained rescue and service animals to the performance and show animals that we have all seen over the years, dogs are obviously capable of much more but from here on out it just gets more complicated and involves holding their attention longer and stringing together many of the basic commands.
If you take another look at the list you’ll see that the commands aren’t any different from what I would say to a child or another person whom I wanted to see do the same thing… now thats common sense! Why would I make it any harder to remember what the word is to get my dog into the car when I can just speak far more naturally to them as though they are my friend. Many commands also include a hand signal which is a very natural part of human expression. In many cases dogs are more aware of our gestures and body language than the actual words that we apply to something, so be natural and communicate the way you would to anyone else who didn’t speak your language and you’ll do fine!
I feel that this is the key to great relationships with your animals… keep it natural feeling and fun for both of you. Thanks for reading this article, be sure to check out my other ones and good luck with your pet(s)!