13 Commands Your Puppies Should Learn First

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There are a few moments in life more exciting than when you bring home a new puppy.

But when he comes into your life, you must train him right otherwise you might end up with unwanted behavioral problems later on. By teaching your young pup these 8 commands early on, you will have a wonderful dog for the rest of its life.

1. His name

The most important command of all is getting your dog to learn his name. Teach him to respond to his name before proceeding to teach him other commands such as “sit”.

It is pretty clear why it is so important for a dog to know his own name. First of all, it is the name he will answer to, for example, when you want him to come to you. Of course, you could also just give him a command, but if there are other dogs, or even other people nearby, the dog may become confused as to who you are talking to. So basically it is the same as with people.

A dog needs to learn his own name from the very beginning, while he is still a young puppy. If you adopted a grown up dog, it may take a bit more time for him to learn his name, especially if he already had a different name.

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2. Come

Probably one of the most basic and most important commands your dog needs to learn. In certain situations it can save your puppy’s life if, for instance, he runs into traffic or onto a half-frozen pond. Your pup must know to come when called.

”Come” is a very useful command. There are literally hundreds of situations when it comes in handy and dog owners use it every day. For example, you are sitting with your dog in your garden, when the postman comes to the garden gate. Your dog starts barking at him and runs to the gate. A simple “come” will keep the postman feeling safe and you won’t have to worry about the dog scaring your visitors.

You use this command when your dog strays away during your walk, when you want to feed him, pet him, bathe him, in any situation that requires your dog to be near you.

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3. Stay

Almost as important as coaching your puppy to come, this directive also teaches your pup some good manners. This command is used interchangeably with “come.” Once the dog obeys your command to come, you may want him to stay put.

Dogs often have short attention spans and there are so many things in this world that distract them and invite them. This is why it is important to teach your dog to stay. Otherwise, he’d be just running around and potentially running away every time he sees a bird, a balloon, hears another dog bark or smells some delicious roast. Or, if he is a happy, friendly kind of dog, it will prevent him from jumping onto everyone’s lap and licking their faces.

Getting your dog to stay will also keep him from getting into potentially dangerous brawls with other dogs, which is particularly important for feisty or aggressive breeds.

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4. Sit

This is often thought of as being the most important command. And, although it’s an order to be taught early on, training to “sit” shouldn’t normally come first.

The “sit” command is very useful. You can use it every time you want to make sure your dog stays where you left him, for example if you want to pop into a shop real quick while walking your dog and you can’t take him inside. Or, you are making dinner and you know there is no way your dog will just ignore all the food out there, but you certainly don’t want him jumping all over the counter.

Basically, you’ll use this command every time you need to do something and want your dog to stay put for a bit. This command is also very important as a step in teaching your dog not to jump. Because, of course, he can’t sit and jump at the same time!

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5. No/Leave It/Stop

The “stop” command is crucial for the dog’s safety and for the owner to earn his pooch’s respect. Dogs learn about things from direct exposure, but sometimes it’s vital to stop them chewing or chasing something as much as it’s vital for them to obey your directives.

It’s probably one of the hardest things to teach as a dog’s mindset is hard to control if you don’t understand it. Making your dog leave something or stop doing something can potentially save his life and generally get him out of a lot of trouble.

For dogs, most things represent an amazing source of temptation. They want to sniff, chew, eat or tear apart just about anything. Because of this, it is vital for you to teach your dog how to stop doing what he’s not supposed to be doing. When it comes to your dog’s safety, “stop/leave it/no” is definitely one of the must-know commandsbigstock-Little-girl-and-the-Pug-dog-is-17575418

6. Lie down – “Lie down”

This is a vital command in the repertoire of any well-behaved dog. This can be used with the “leave it” command when training them not to jump up for food when you serve it or if you don’t want them on your couch.

Lie down” is a command that seems very similar to “sit,” since it basically assures your dog stays in the same position instead of running away, jumping, etc. However, there is a slight difference – when he is lying down, the dog is much more calm and static than when he is sitting.

A dog that is sitting down is still pretty alert and ready to jump and run as soon as he gets the green light. When you want your dog to stay put for a longer period, you can tell him to lie down and you can take care of your business in peace.

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7. No Bark

Barking is a dog’s natural way of communication, but too much of it can become a nuisance. Train your puppy for this command by walking over to him while he barks. Then look him in the eye and issue the command.

Some dog owners hate barking so much that they train their dog not to bark at all, ever. This is not a good thing, because dogs need to communicate and barking is the best they can do. There are many situations in which a dog barks – when he is happy, upset, hungry, thirsty, cold, hot, angry, scared and, of course, when he senses a danger or an intrusion.

Of course, you don’t want your dog to be barking whenever he feels like it – some dogs have very loud noises and they can upset not just you and your family but your neighbors and visitors as well. Because of this, it is important that you teach your dog the “no bark” command right from the start.

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8. Heel

“Heel” is a very useful command when it comes to walking or jogging with your dog. Even if you normally use a leash and a collar, there are certain situations where you want to be sure your dog sticks close to you, for example while walking down a crowded street. Or, if you don’t use the leash and the collar and you still want your dog to walk near you.

You can make the “heel” command very strict, so the dog walks right next to you with his nose levelled with your leg, or you can be more relaxed with it and just use it to make sure your dog is staying in your vicinity as you are walking.

The “heel” command also gives other people confidence when they are around your dog, especially people with children, who need to know the dog won’t jump or run around unattended.

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9. Drop it

The “drop it” command might seem useless if your dog already knows the “no/leave it/stop” command, but as any dog owner will testify, there are certain things and certain situations when a dog just doesn’t feel like leaving something alone.

Maybe it’s a delicious treat he’s not supposed to eat or a small animal he can hurt or kill, whatever it is he’s holding in his mouth – he needs to know when to drop it. Dropping something can save your dog’s life. In many places, especially dense urban areas, there are different poisons hidden inside innocent-looking things, such as rat poison or dangerous chemicals that look quite inconspicuous from the outside.

Since dogs don’t always know what’s good and what’s bad for them, it’s up to you as their owner to protect them. The “drop it” command is useful in other circumstances as well, for example if your dog takes another dog’s ball or toy – this command can stop the fight between two dogs.

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10. Wait

This is another command that may seem redundant if your dog has already mastered the “stop” and “sit” commands. However, it gives you a nice middle ground that comes in useful in various situations.

“Wait” is a perfect command for off-the-leash walking or jogging. Most dogs love walking a couple of feet or more in front of their owner. They like to inspect the area and possibly make sure that there is nothing ahead of you that can hurt you.

This is nice, but sometimes you want your dog to stop and wait for you, especially if you are about to turn a corner and don’t know what’s coming your way, or if you are getting close to an intersection, etc. Or, you simply want him to slow down and wait for you to catch up. The “wait” command assures that your dog immediately stops what he’s doing and turns his focus to you.

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11. Focus

“Focus” is not one of the essential commands but it is certainly one of the most useful ones, especially for owners of very playful, quick or nervous dogs. The purpose of this command is to make your dog cancel out everything around him and to focus on you and you alone.

One of the situations where “focus” comes in handy is when you and your dog are walking past one or more dogs how seem hostile and just waiting to start a brawl. It is hard even for the best trained dog to resist such provocations, but if you tell him to “focus,” he will be able to zone everything else out and focus on you.

Another situation when you can use the “focus” command is when your dog finds himself near birds. Dogs love chasing birds and this can get them in trouble, especially if they’re out in the street.

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12. No beg

“No beg” is a command that not only assures your dog will be perceived as very well-behaved by other, but it will also protect him from potential threats. A dog begging for food can be an adorable thing to see and it takes a cold soul to deny him that yummy piece of chicken. But a dog that begs can also be annoying, because, let’s face it, not everyone loves dogs as much as we do.

The problem with begging for food is not just a matter of decorum – it is a matter of safety too. People who don’t have dogs don’t always know what is safe for them to eat and they may give your dog a piece of sharp chicken or fish bone or a piece of candy while you’re not looking.

Another safety issue regards people who deliberately poison dogs. It is tragic that such people exist, but you must keep in mind that they are out there. The best thing you can do to help your dog protect himself from them is to teach him not to beg for food and, consequently, not to take food from other people.

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13. Okay

If your dog has mastered all the commands mentioned earlier, it is time to teach him one more simple command – “okay.” It really is a simple concept – it basically releases the dog from the previous command.

Now, you may wonder why is it necessary for a dog to know this command, and when will you ever use it? For example, you are crossing the street and you tell your dog, who has been walking ahead of you, to wait or stop. Once you reach him, you need to let him know he can start walking again. This is when you use the “okay” command.

Or, you told the dog to sit or lie down. After the situation that required him to be still is over, you need to release him from the command, so that he can move and be on his merry way. “Okay” is a simple command that is very easy to teach and that will improve greatly the communication you have with your dog.

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