Basic Commands to Teach Your Dog: Strengthening the Human-Animal Bond

Bini Yam’s face, please, you won’t find a more expressive dog than this one. That morning he was outraged because I asked him to work on commands before 10 am.

Anyway, let’s get back to it!

Effective communication is key to establishing a harmonious and strong relationship. Teaching basic commands to your dog not only provides them with the tools to behave properly and is not only useful when you want to get their attention to prevent and control any type of undesirable behavior but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Today, we will explore some basic commands that you can teach your dog and the benefits they have for the human-animal bond.

The benefits of teaching basic commands:

Clear communication: Basic commands provide a clear and effective way to communicate with your dog. By learning and recognizing these commands, your dog will know what you expect from them in different situations. We can’t stress this enough, once we see the consequences of your dog NOT knowing what to expect from you, that’s worse, and we can see it in something as simple as: Anxiety and Frustration. So if your furry friend knows what to expect, we save ourselves from these extras.

Safety: Basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come here” help keep your dog safe in different environments. These commands can prevent dangerous situations, such as running towards the street or approaching aggressive dogs. I use “Wait for me here, I’ll be back” or “Stay” a lot when I need Bini Yam to wait for me in a specific place for a few minutes, for example, outside a pharmacy (because they don’t let him in, how rude). If he didn’t know these commands, he wouldn’t know to wait and that I’ll come back, and how would he feel? Very anxious.

Control and obedience: Teaching basic commands promotes obedience and self-control in your dog. This is especially important in social and public situations, where your dog needs to behave appropriately and follow your instructions. Example case: Your dog is paying attention to another dog walking towards you (and has a history of being reactive at times), being able to apply a command and have them pay attention to you because they know what to expect from you can save you trouble.

Mental stimulation: Training basic commands provides mental stimulation for your dog. Learning new commands and practicing obedience exercises keeps their mind active and helps prevent boredom. You’ll notice that at some point during training, they may get frustrated because they can’t remember a command and they’ll do something completely unrelated, it’s important not to scold them and find one they do remember and reward them for that.

Human-animal bond: The process of teaching basic commands strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Working together in training builds trust, mutual understanding, and a relationship based on respect and cooperation. Eye contact is also super important.

Basic commands to teach your dog:

Sit: Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most useful basic commands. Ask your dog to sit using a verbal cue or a physical signal, such as raising your hand with a gentle pat in the air. Reward them with a treat or praise when they obey.

Stay: The “stay” command is essential to maintain your dog’s self-control. Ask your dog to sit or lie down, then say “stay” while you pause. As your dog remains still, reward and praise them.

Come here: This command is vital for safely calling your dog. Use a friendly and cheerful tone of voice as you say “come here” and call your dog towards you. Generously reward them when they reach your side.

No: The “no” command is useful for correcting unwanted behaviors. Use a firm and clear tone when saying “no” and stop the undesired behavior. Then redirect your dog towards a proper behavior and reward them for doing so.

Shake hands: This command is fun and helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Ask your dog to sit and lift their front paw. Then, take their paw in your hand and say “shake hands.” Reward them with praise and a treat.

Other commands we use: “Wait for me,” “Leave it,” “High five,” “Give me a kiss,” etc. But the most useful ones for their well-being are: Wait for me, Leave it, Come here, Stay, Sit, No.

Remember that training should be positive and rewarded. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and affection, to reward your dog when they obey the commands. Be consistent, patient, and practice the commands in different environments so that your dog can generalize and obey them in all situations.

There’s another important thing: A DOG WITH CONSTANT STRESS OR ANXIETY WILL HAVE LESS CAPACITY FOR LEARNING AND RETENTION (This is a physiological issue). SO, IF YOU WANT TO TEACH COMMANDS, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE FIRST THAT THEY AREN’T STRESSED (We can help you with this at the end of this post).

This is why if your dog has stress or anxiety, it’s highly likely that they won’t pay attention to or remember what you’re trying to teach them.

Teaching basic commands to your dog is a valuable investment in their safety, well-being, and strengthening the human-animal bond. Basic commands provide a clear and effective form of communication, promote obedience and self-control, mentally stimulate your dog, and foster a relationship based on respect and cooperation. Remember that training should be positive and rewarded, and that patience and consistency are key to success. Enjoy the teaching process and the growth of your relationship with your faithful canine companion.

Need help? Would you like us to teach you how to do it and at the same time build a bond? We have studies in canine education, training, and clinical ethology! I taught these same commands to Bini Yam, and with pleasure, we can teach them to your dog and to you in detail in sessions at our office located in Vitacura. You just have to click here and schedule the first evaluation so that we can analyze everything, avoid any major problems like stress, and if there are any, work on it. And then, teach all the commands you want! (As long as we consider that they contribute to their well-being).

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