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How to Teach Your Dog Basic Commands: Sit, Stay, Come

Training your dog to understand basic commands is essential for their safety and fostering a harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend. Mastering commands like "Sit," "Stay," and "Come" forms the foundation of dog training and ensures a well-behaved canine companion. Let's dive into the effective strategies to teach these vital commands.

woman teaching her dog commands

Understanding Your Dog's Learning Style

Before you begin, it's crucial to understand your dog's learning style. Dogs, like humans, have diverse ways of learning. Some respond well to verbal cues, while others are more visual or treat-motivated. Identifying what works best for your dog will make the training process smoother and more enjoyable for both of you.

Steps to Teach Your Dog Basic Commands

Teaching 'Sit'

Step 1: Get Your Dog's Attention

Secure your dog's attention with their favorite treat or toy. This initial focus is crucial for successful training sessions.

Step 2: Introduce the Command

Hold the treat close to your dog's nose, then slowly lift it above their head. As their nose goes up, their butt will naturally go down. As soon as this happens, say "Sit" clearly and confidently.

Step 3: Reward and Praise

The moment your dog sits, reward them with the treat and offer abundant praise. This positive reinforcement is critical to their understanding and motivation.

Step 4: Practice Consistently

Repeat this process several times a day, keeping sessions short and enjoyable. Consistency is the cornerstone of successful dog training.

Teaching 'Stay'

Step 1: Start with 'Sit'

Begin with your dog in the 'Sit' position. This provides a stable starting point for the 'Stay' command.

Step 2: Introduce the Command

With your palm facing your dog, say "Stay" calmly and firmly. Take a step back. If your dog stays, even for a few seconds, return to them and reward them.

Step 3: Gradually Increase Duration and Distance

Slowly increase the duration of the 'Stay' and the distance you move away from your dog. Patience is key here; this may take several days or weeks.

Step 4: Practice in Different Environments

Once mastered in a distraction-free environment, practice the 'Stay' command in various settings to reinforce the behavior.

Teaching 'Come'

Step 1: Start in a Secure Area

Begin in a fenced area or on a long leash to ensure safety.

Step 2: Use Enticing Rewards

Choose a high-value treat or toy to attract your dog's attention and interest.

Step 3: Introduce the Command

In a joyful tone, say "Come" while showing the reward. When your dog approaches, praise them and offer the reward.

Step 4: Practice with Distractions

As your dog improves, practice the 'Come' command with distractions around to reinforce their response in various situations.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Inconsistency: Varying commands or not practicing regularly can confuse your dog.

  2. Negative Reinforcement: Avoid scolding or punishing your dog during training; this can lead to fear and reluctance to learn.

  3. Lack of Patience: Training takes time; be patient and celebrate small successes.

Advanced Tips for Success

  • Keep Training Sessions Short and Fun: Dogs have short attention spans. Sessions of 5-10 minutes are ideal.

  • Use a Variety of Rewards: Mix up treats, toys, and affection to keep your dog interested.

  • Practice in Different Locations: This strengthens your dog's understanding of commands in diverse environments.


In conclusion, teaching your dog basic commands like "Sit," "Stay," and "Come" is a rewarding journey that enhances the bond between you and your pet. Remember, every dog is unique, so tailor your approach to fit their learning style. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, your dog will soon master these essential commands.


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