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Top Dog Commands

At A Glance

Train your dog properly by using top dog commands commonly used by dog trainers around the world. They range from basic (Sit, Stay) to advanced (Heel, Fetch), and even include dog tricks (Shake Hands, Play Dead). Read on to know more about other popular dog commands.

Last Updated on: Feb 17, 2022

When you become a dog parent, training your dog is one of the most important responsibilities you have. It is also pretty cool to teach your dog to follow your commands and some tricks. Learning about dog commands and how to use them is a responsibility that every dog owner should take seriously.

The correct use of commands depending on the situation can help you manage your pet’s behavior and ensure their safety. By extension, you also ensure the safety of other people or pets interacting with your dog as well as your protection and belongings.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the most common dog commands used by dog parents. Feel free to teach them to your pet if you haven’t already.

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

girl sitting with the dog

Types of Dog Commands

It categorized into three simple types — basic , advanced, and dog tricks.

Basic Dog Commands

Basic commands are termed as such because they’re the easiest to learn. Tasks associated with basic commands are also usually quite simple. This is why dog commands belonging to this category are typically used for puppies. You can think of basic dog commands as an introduction to obedience training.

Mastering basic commands help provide your dog with a strong foundation before it moves on to learning advanced commands or dog tricks.

For dog owners, basic command training also lets you familiarize yourself with your dog’s personality. When you train your dog to learn basic commands, it can help you get to know your pet’s tendencies, normal response time, and the default level of engagement.

Advanced Dog Commands

dog playing with a girl

Advanced commands are trickier because they usually involve completing more complicated tasks. This dog command category is mostly designed for preparing pets for dog competitions, dog sports, or dog service.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t teach advanced commands to house pets. Teaching advanced commands can still be a fun bonding experience for you and your dog.

If nothing else, you can use it as an opportunity to instill discipline in your dog without any pressure to perform.

Dog Trick Commands

Dog trick commands are typically more playful compared to basic and advanced commands.

Although some tricks may involve some complexity, they tend to be repetitive and are thus easy to learn. You can use dog trick commands to facilitate playtime or exercise.

Fun Fact: Did you know you can teach commands using a different language to your dog?

That’s right. Not only is it fun but teaching your dog in a different language also actually offers some advantages.

Since foreign words are unlikely to come up in regular conversations, you can talk to people with your dog present without confusing your pet when you accidentally utter familiar words!

The most recommended foreign languages to use are French or German because of their unique pronunciation.

a man giviing basic commands to his dog

Common Basic Commands for Dogs

These are the basic commands that are absolutely essential when training your dog. While they’re usually intended for puppies, you can still teach older dogs basic commands. Because these commands are easy, they usually don’t require too much time or complicated equipment.


This command basically involves teaching your dog to identify his or her name. This is important because it trains your dog to pay attention to you.

Be consistent with using your dog’s name. And never change your dog’s name once your dog has started to respond to the previous one. Also, make sure you choose a name that does not sound like a command.


This is a useful command for keeping your dog in a relaxed, still position.

It can encourage calm and control, especially if you own a hyperactive breed. This command is also handy if you own a large dog. The “Sit” command keeps large pets from jumping all over you or other people.


If you want your dog to remain where they are while you’re occupied or walking away, you use the “Stay” command.

It can prove useful in situations such as when you’re opening a door or when crossing the street.


You use the “Come” command to call your dog to you.

This command can also be handy during walks when your dog may momentarily run away from you chasing a distraction.

The biggest advantage of this command is that it makes off-leash play safer, even outdoors.


You can think of the “Down” command as a slight variation on “Sit.”

The difference is that the laying down position is more comfortable than the sitting position.

This means your dog can keep obeying the command while not overstressing itself.

saying no to the dog


The “No” command is self-explanatory. You can use it when you want to stop bad or unwanted behavior such as biting, chewing, or jumping. And no, you don’t have to shout it loud every time.

Go Pee or Go Potty

“Go Pee” or “Go Potty” are examples of potty training commands.

Depending on your comfort level, you can make use of alternative words instead. For example, you can use “Do Your Business,” “Business Time,” or “Empty.”

You can even create your own fun toilet code, like “Avada Kedavra,” “Rain Fire Thanos,” “Banzai,” or “Hadouken.”

Common Advanced Commands for Dogs

dog playing with the owner

Once your dog has undergone basic command training, it will probably be excited to learn advanced commands too. Dogs are always eager to please.

But remember, advanced command training may test your patience too. So make sure you’re well-prepared, not only physically and mentally but also in terms of which equipment to use.


What’s the difference between the basic command “Stay” and the advanced command “Wait”? The former instructs your dog to stay put until you get back or are no longer occupied.

As for the latter, you’re telling your pet to wait momentarily but prepare to move or do something else.


This is a good command to use when training your dog to develop good barking habits.

This can be very useful when you have a baby or noise-sensitive children in the house. It also teaches your dog controlled barking when responding to doorbells or car horns.


You use “Fetch” when you want your dog to retrieve an object you threw, hid, or stored somewhere.

When your pet has mastered “Fetch,” you can then transition to other closely associated advanced commands like “Find It,” “Hold It / Take It,” or “Drop It / Leave It.”


“Heel” is an advanced command that is critical when teaching your pet good habits when going for walks.

This command teaches your dog to properly keep pace while walking with you so that you don’t get pulled or dragged.


The “Off” command is typically used to tell your pet to get off your sofa or bed.

Certain dog breeds can become possessive of specific spots in the house. Using this command allows you to work around these types of dog behavior.

Car / Load Up

This is used for instructing your dog to enter or exit your car. You can use variations like “Road Trip,” “Drive,” or “Hop In.”

Common Dog Trick Commands

high five with the dog

Dog trick commands are almost always named after the task that needs to be completed. Thus, most of them are self-explanatory.

Here are the most common examples:

  • Roll Over
  • Shake Hands
  • High Five
  • Play Dead
  • Spin / Turn
  • Crawl
  • Walk Through Legs


How Do Dogs Process Commands?

owner saying no to the dog

Dogs process commands by doing three things:

  • Listening and recognizing the exact word used
  • Identifying hand signals
  • Detecting other cues like facial expressions, eye contact, or tone of voice

Recent studies have shown that dogs are capable of recognizing exact words or verbal commands. There’s even evidence suggesting that they can distinguish between new words and those they’ve heard before.

Of course, it’s not the same as how humans understand words. For dogs, it’s still mainly about learning associations, specifically in associating words with cues.

This is why it’s important to fully engage your dog’s attention when using verbal commands. This also allows your dog to pick up other cues through your hand gestures or facial expression. And yes, they can detect emotional tones in your voice too.

dog with the owner in the park

Teaching your dog these commands is a responsibility that every dog parent should take seriously. Proper command training can go a long way in helping your pet develop good habits and facilitating better communication between you and your pet.

While basic commands are essential for any pet owner to ensure the safety of your pet and of everyone your dog interacts with, advanced dog commands help train your dogs to perform more complex tasks.

As for dog trick commands, they’re usually for purposes of play or exercise. But, they contribute a lot toward instilling discipline and good behavior in your dog.

Remember to exercise patience when training your dog and make the process as fun as you can!


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.