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The foundation of a harmonious relationship with your dog is built on basic obedience training.

Teaching your dog basic training commands improves their behavior, boosts their overall well-being, enhances communication between you and your dog, and strengthens your bond with your pet.

In this blog post, we’re exploring five essential commands that every dog should know and how you can teach each command to your dog.

Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to remember that consistency is key in dog training. As the owner, you need to make the time, put in the effort and know what to do when your training isn’t going to plan (which it rarely ever does).

Anything less than a full commitment will impede your dog’s success. That’s why we always recommend training your dog with the help of an experienced professional.

With that said, let’s dive into these five essential basic dog training commands.


We all know “Sit.” Teaching your dog the “Sit” command is a fundamental building block in their training.

Start by holding a treat close to your dog’s nose, then slowly lift it up and back over their head. As their nose follows the treat, their bottom will naturally lower into a sitting position.

Once your dog is seated, reward them with the treat and praise them enthusiastically. Practice this command multiple times throughout the day to reinforce the behavior, luring your dog into the “Sit” position followed by a reward. 

The verbal command is added only when your dog shows they understand what behavior is expected. Only once your dog demonstrates that understanding can you pair the verbal “Sit” cue with the command.

With patience, practice and positive reinforcement, your dog will start to associate your verbal command with the incoming treat. They might even begin to offer the behavior without a verbal cue.


Learning the “Down Stay” command is an essential skill that will help teach your dog how to control their impulses.

To begin, start by having your dog in the down position (laying on the floor or ground). If they stay, reward them with praise and a treat. If they move out of position, start the command over. With practice, your dog will begin to understand that holding a “down stay” will result in a treat.  

When that happens, you can begin to add the verbal “Stay” cue into the command. Then, gradually increase the duration of time your dog stays in this position and the distance between you both before rewarding them.

Like with “Sit,” make sure you and your dog are practicing this command regularly. Keep sessions short but frequent (10 minutes is all the time you need for any training session) and do your best to make training time feel like playtime.


Your dog probably ignores you when you call them, at least some of the time. Aside from being frustrating, this can also be dangerous in situations where your dog could be at risk if they don’t return to you.

Teaching the “Recall” command can help ensure they come back to you every time. Start by using a long leash in a safe, enclosed area. Begin with short distances and gradually increase the distance as your dog becomes more reliable.

Make coming to you rewarding by offering treats or praise. Use a happy tone of voice to encourage them to return eagerly. Avoid scolding if they don’t respond immediately; instead, stay patient and persistent in practicing the command.

As your dog becomes more comfortable, practice “Recall” regularly in various environments to reinforce the behavior under different distractions.

Over time, your dog will learn that coming when called leads to positive outcomes and strengthens the bond between you both.


There’s nothing better than a walk with your dog — unless your dog constantly pulls on their leash and reacts to everything around them.

Teaching your dog the “Heel” command will give you control during walks or outings. This command ensures that they stay close to you and walk calmly beside you without pulling on the leash.

Start by using a short, sturdy leash and plenty of treats to reinforce positive behavior. In a low-distraction environment, begin walking with your dog on your left side, holding the leash firmly but not too tightly. 

Reward your dog with a treat and praise when they stay in position. If your dog starts to pull or stray off course, gently guide them back into position with a quick tug on the leash.

Once your dog shows you that they know what’s expected, pair a verbal cue like “heel” or “close” with the command as you walk.

Consistency is vital when teaching this command, so practice regularly and introduce higher distraction environments as your dog becomes more comfortable with the behavior.


The “Place” command gives your dog a designated spot to go where they feel comfortable and safe. It’s also an invaluable tool for managing their behavior in various high-distraction situations in your home.

Start by choosing a specific place in your home where you want your dog to go when given the “Place” command. We recommend a dog cot, but you can also use a bed or mat. Use treats to lure them onto the spot and reward them when they comply.

Practice this command regularly and consistently, adding the verbal cue “Place” once your dog understands the expectation of the command and gradually increasing the duration of time they need to stay on their designated place. 

Be patient, and praise and reward whenever your dog successfully follows through with the command. Once you and your dog have established the “Place” command, you’ll have a vital tool for keeping them calm and focused in any situation.


After learning these five basic commands, you and your dog will be well on your way to a happier and more harmonious relationship.

However, your dog training sessions are not always going to go as planned. The instructions we’ve laid out above are not always going to work and you’re going to have to pivot. You’ll need to know how to approach those situations safely and effectively.

That’s the biggest difference between do-it-yourself training and working with a professional dog trainer: the knowledge and experience to develop a Plan B and put it in place.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability, or you can’t commit the time it takes, reach out to us at Koru K9. We’ll set you and your dog on the right path to success.