Verbal Commands for Assisting in Dog Training

Train Rover to obey basic verbal commands so that he knows what you want him to do.
Train Rover to obey basic verbal commands so that he knows what you want him to do. (Image: Images)

Dogs and people don't speak the same language, but that doesn't mean you can't teach Rover some basic verbal commands so that he can understand what you want from him. Not only does training help you communicate with your pup, but it also helps to strengthen the bond between the two of you. By teaching Rover basic verbal commands, you can use them to build up to more complex behaviors over time.

Teaching Commands

To encourage our canine companions to learn the verbal commands we want to teach them, they need a motivation to do so. Treats, praise and toys all provide Fido with a reason for listening to you, advises the Humane Society of the United States. Create a marker for the behavior that you want by using a clicker or saying "Yes" to your pup when he does something that you want. This way he associates the action with the command. Prior to training, say or click a few times in a row, treating your pup after each click with something yummy or engaging him in a fun game. This way, he'll associate the click or "Yes" with a reward.

Knowing the Basics

There are several basic verbal commands that make a good foundation for your dog's training. These commands include "Sit," "Stay," "Down," "Leave it," "Come" and "Off," recommends the Purina website. With these commands, you can control your pup's behavior, preventing him from jumping on you or others, running off into traffic or eating something that he shouldn't. Keep training sessions short, to around five minutes at a time, so that Fido's attention doesn't wander and stay upbeat during your sessions. Mark the behavior you want, such as when your pup sits after you command him to "Sit" with a "Yes" or click and then reward him with a treat when he does what you want.

Using Commands

Use your basic commands when training your pup in a variety of settings. Start in quiet locations and move to other locations with lots of noise and other distractions. Eventually, your pup will obey your commands no matter what is going on around him. Take your basic commands and combine them to progress to more complicated behaviors such as opening doors or fetching items for you. You also can use basic verbal commands to help your pup master an agility course and compete professionally. With further training he could even get his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificate or become a therapy pooch, according to Dogster.


Don't punish your pup for not obeying a command. Instead, simply ignore him and only treat him when he does what you want. Keep your commands to one or two words and stay consistent with them. Our canine companions can't understand complicated phrases or sentences and using different terminology for the same verbal commands will confuse Fido and discourage him during training sessions. If you're having trouble, bring your pup to basic obedience classes, which can help teach your little one some simple verbal commands that you can expand on at home once he's well-versed in them.

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