No matter your dog’s age, breed, size, or temperament, training is a vital part of their development. And contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late to start. However, dogs have a mind of their own, and if you own a dog, you know it isn’t always easy to get them to do what you want.

Training a dog can be frustrating and time-consuming, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences a pet parent can have. Giving your dog a solid training foundation strengthens your bond, makes socialization easier, and will help keep your pup, yourself, your possessions, and others safe.

Here are FIVE obedience commands every dog owner should know

Essential Command #1: Sit

“Sit” may be the most helpful obedience command you can teach your dog and it might even be the first they learn. While it might seem lackluster in terms of excitement, “sit” is crucial to your pup’s safety and development.

dog sit, Good Dog! 5 Essential Obedience Commands Every Dog Owner Should Know

Why it’s important: “Sit” is an essential command because it keeps you and your dog safe. If your pup spends time in potentially dangerous areas such as the kitchen, having them sit can be a good way to ensure they stay away from an open oven or cabinet. It’s also good when you require momentary calmness for tasks like opening the door to take out the trash or accepting a delivery. That calmness extends to outdoor settings as well. You may want your pup to sit while waiting to cross the street or let another dog pass by. They are less prone to quick movements in a seated position. “Sit” can also be helpful when you want to deter your dog from jumping on visitors, other dogs, or strangers. “Four paws on the floor” is the best way to greet both two-legged and four-legged friends.

Essential Command #2: Look or Watch Me

Dogs get excited; it’s what they do. Sometimes, it can be hard to get your dog’s attention. That goes double during training sessions. Getting your dog to focus on you is one of the best skills you can develop.

dog look command, Good Dog! 5 Essential Obedience Commands Every Dog Owner Should Know

Why it’s important: “Look” or “Watch Me” is applicable in almost every setting, whether you are training or not. Teaching your dog this command will help them learn to focus on cue, which is invaluable both in public and at home. The “Look” command will teach your dog to ignore distractions, which could include animals, food, or visitors entering your home. “Look” is especially helpful with redirecting reactive dogs and transitioning them into training mode. You can use “look” before prompting any other obedience command.


Essential Command #3: Stay or Wait

Have you ever tried to get your dog to stand still for more than five seconds? It’s not easy. The “Stay” command is meant to make it easy, or at least possible.

dog learning stay or wait, Good Dog! 5 Essential Obedience Commands Every Dog Owner Should Know

Why it’s important: There are certain times when you need your dog to stay in one place. The “Stay” command is helpful for training, socialization, and safety. It can help keep your dog from bolting out an open door, running away from your car and into a busy road, or jumping on a guest entering your home. It’s helpful if you’ve momentarily got your hands full with something else. Dogs love to be in the middle of the action, and if they are unprompted to remain calm, they’ll insert themselves into any situation. “Stay” lets your dog know that they need to remain in one position and await further instruction from you.

Essential Command #4: Come or Here

Your dog’s efficiency with “Come” or “Here” is considered their recall ability. Whether you’re at the dog park, on the sidewalk, or in your yard or living room, “Come” is designed to get your dog back to you quickly and keep them out of harm’s way.

dog here, Good Dog! 5 Essential Obedience Commands Every Dog Owner Should Know
Why it’s important: 
The most important reason to teach “Come” or “Here” to your dog is to keep them safe. This command will give you more control over any situation and can help indicate to your dog that there may be danger present. If your dog accidentally gets off-leash, gets too close to an aggressive dog, traffic, or simply goes somewhere they shouldn’t, “Come” will help get them back to your side and to safety.

Essential Command #5: Leave It

The “Leave it” command is versatile and comes in handy in several situations. Whether it’s deterring your dog from picking up an object, dropping an object, or chasing another animal, “Leave it” can do it all.

dog leave it command, Good Dog! 5 Essential Obedience Commands Every Dog Owner Should Know

Why it’s important: Dogs are highly efficient at picking up items they aren’t supposed to. Whether it’s something left behind by another animal, a potentially poisonous plant, or an object that could injure them, our four-legged family members don’t always have the best judgment. “Leave it” helps them instantly identify an item as “off-limits” and lets them know they need to drop it. “Off-limits” items could also include household items, clothing, or “people food”. “Leave it” is also helpful for deterring your pup from chasing cats, squirrels, rabbits, or other dogs.



Whichever training method you use to teach your pup these commands, remember that consistency is the ultimate goal. Make sure that you are using these words for the specific commands, and don’t substitute in different words, as it will confuse your pup. It’s also important to remember that everyone in your household uses the same words for the same commands. Doing this will help your dog commit commands to memory, and the repetition will help keep their skills sharp!