Sit, Come, Down, Stay: The Four Commands Your Dog Needs To Know

If you have a dog, or you are thinking about getting a dog, you naturally want her to be well-behaved. Of course, having a well-behaved dog does not happen by accident or through magical means. It is going to require that you take the time to learn how to train the dog properly with at least the four basic commands mentioned in this title. If you have a dog able to perform and respond properly to these commands, they are going to be more well-behaved than many of the dogs that you see out there.  Once you get them used to training, you might find it easier to go beyond these four commands, too!

Let’s look at some of the basic ways that you can start to teach these essential commands to your puppy. While treats are mentioned here, you can also use praise during the training as a reward.


This is the first command that most dogs are taught, and it is relatively simple to do. You will want to start by standing in front of your puppy with a treat in your hand and your hand held out in front of the puppy’s nose. The puppy will be able to see and smell the treat.

Say the word, “sit” and move the treat up and towards the puppy’s head. This should automatically make the puppy’s rear start to sit down. If it doesn’t, you can gently push down on the puppy’s rear to help them sit. When they sit, give them the treat. Repeat this several times a day until the puppy gets it.


You will begin with the puppy sitting in front of you, with a leash attached to them. Again, you will want to have a treat in your hand. Get the puppy’s attention, then pat on your leg and tell the dog to “come.” If they do not come right away, say the word again and give a gentle tug on the leash to get them walking toward you. when they arrive, you will want to give them the treat.


Here is another simple and important command. Have the puppy sit in front of you, and then show them a treat. Lower the treat slowly to the floor while you continue to say the word “down.” This should get the dog to slowly drop into the down position. Once she’s down, provide her with the treat and praise.


Have your puppy sit near you. Put your hand out with your palm facing the dog and say, “stay.” Take two steps back. If the puppy moves, go back to them and repeat this process. Continue to move back until she stays. Once she is able to stay for a few seconds, provide the reward.

Simple Tips to Keep in Mind

Some dogs are cut out for learning and they can pick up tricks quickly, and they have a longer attention span than other dogs. However, there are also dogs that have very short attention spans, even though they might be smart. If you have a dog that is distracted, whether they are always distracted or something new in the environment distracts them, you will want to keep the sessions short. The same is true if you have young puppies you are trying to train. With puppies, starting with a five-minute training session works well. Then you can work up to longer training periods.

Regardless of what you are trying to teach your dog, you need to remember to keep things as positive as possible. Positive training methods are going to be fun, and learning is going to be more appealing to the dogs. Most of the time, the dogs are more eager to train if they see it as play, or as a chance to get a reward.

Need some ideas for healthy treats?  Check out our recipe page for healthy cookies!

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