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Photo of a man training his dog in basic obedience

Basic Dog Obedience Training: A Step-by-Step Guide

Obedience training is crucial for any dog owner who wants a well-behaved pet. It not only improves your dog’s behavior but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog. This guide provides a clear, step-by-step approach to teaching your dog the basics of obedience: sit, stay, come, down, and heel.

Step 1: Preparation

Before you begin training, ensure you have the right tools: a collar or harness, a leash, and a variety of treats. Choose a quiet environment with minimal distractions to start the training sessions. Keep sessions short, about 5 to 10 minutes long, to maintain your dog’s attention and end on a positive note.

Dog sit commandStep 2: Teaching “Sit”

  1. Get your dog’s attention with a treat in hand.
  2. Hold the treat close to your dog’s nose and slowly move it back over their head. As your dog’s head goes up, their butt should naturally go down.
  3. As soon as your dog sits, say “sit” and give them the treat and lots of praise.
  4. Repeat several times in short bursts over a few days.

Dog stay commandStep 3: Mastering “Stay”

  1. Ask your dog to “sit.”
  2. Open your palm in front of you, and firmly say “stay.”
  3. Take a step back. If your dog stays, step back towards them and reward them with a treat and praise.
  4. Gradually increase the number of steps you take away from your dog.
  5. Always return to your dog to give them their treat, rather than calling them to you, to reinforce the “stay” command.

The come commandStep 4: The “Come” Command

  1. Start in a quiet room without distractions.
  2. Sit down and call your dog’s name followed by “come” in a cheerful tone.
  3. Have a treat ready to reward them as soon as they come to you.
  4. Practice this when you are various distances away in increasingly distracting situations.

The down commandStep 5: Teaching “Down”

  1. Have your dog start in a “sit” position.
  2. Hold a treat in front of their nose, then slowly lower it straight down to the floor between their paws, and then pull it out towards you along the floor.
  3. As their nose follows the treat, they should naturally move into a down position.
  4. Once they are lying down, say “down,” give them the treat, and show affection.
  5. Repeat until your dog understands the command without needing extreme gestures.

The heel commandStep 6: Learning “Heel”

  1. Start with your dog sitting on your left side with a leash in your left hand.
  2. Hold treats in your right hand by your side to encourage your dog to stay close.
  3. Step out with your left foot, say “heel,” and walk forward. As they walk alongside you, reward them.
  4. If your dog pulls or strays, stop walking, call them back to your side, and start again.
  5. Practice in short spurts in a distraction-free area before trying it in more challenging environments.


Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key in dog obedience training. Each dog learns at their own pace, so adjust the steps and pace according to your dog’s response. Celebrate successes and keep training sessions fun and rewarding for both of you.

Remember, training is an ongoing process. Consistently practicing these commands throughout your dog’s life will help them remember and obey them. For more insights and guides, check out the dog training section on our website. Thank you for reading, and happy training!

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