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Teaching your dog tricks and commands

Dog training is one of the most rewarding outcomes of owning a dog, allowing you to set goals and establish a strong, trusting relationship with your pet.

Teaching your dog tricks and commands can be beneficial for all. It is mentally stimulating for your dog and helps towards their development, as well as ensuring they are obedient which will keep them safe in most situations.

Petplan explores how to teach your dog new tricks and commands and why it’s so important!

Basic Dog Training

First things first: the basics.

It’s important for your dog to know basic commands such as sit, stay, come as this will help you to keep them under control and avoid stressful situations i.e. your pooch running off the lead.

Remember that when you teach your dog a new command, you should reward them with either treats or affection. This will help your dog associate the correct action with the right command, and make training an all-round positive experience.

You should repeat and reinforce commands as often as possible to ensure your pup knows and remembers each different action.


This is a good place to start when it comes to obedience training. Simply hold a treat up to your pup’s nose and lift your hand up over his head towards the back of his neck. Hopefully, this will cause your dog to sit as he tries to keep the treat in eyesight.

Say ‘Sit’ as your dog’s bottom touches the ground and reward your dog with the treat.


The ‘sit’ command comes in handy when teaching your dog to ‘Stay’. Ask your dog to ‘sit’, open your palm and say ‘stay’.

Slowly step back and repeat the word ‘stay’. If you pup stays, reward them with a treat or a stroke! Try to increase the amount of time they stay before giving them a treat each time.


This is probably the most useful and important command you can teach your dog as you can always call him back when out.

Call your dog enthusiastically - you can crouch down and hold out your arms so you look interesting. Reward him with a treat, cuddle or a toy when he comes to you.

Call your dog several times a day, be it at home, in the garden or on walks. If he learns that coming to you is a good thing, he will always rush back. Always reward your dog for obeying, however long it takes. Stay patient and never tell him off for taking too long!

Top tips for training

While you might want to teach your dog a vast array of tricks, here are some top tips to keep in mind:

  • One move at a time – try not to overwhelm your dog by teaching them multiple tricks or commands at any given time. Only move on to your next command once your pup has mastered the current one!
  • Little and often – Dogs can lose concentration so get in the habit of doing a few short training sessions rather than one long one.
  • Keep the noise down – keep noise levels to a minimum when training your dog to avoid any unnecessary distractions
  • Stay patient and calm – dog training is important, however it should ultimately be a fun experience for both you and your dog. Remember to be patient, and never lose your temper! Reward your dog’s good behaviour and encourage them to try again if learning is a little bit slow
  • Be consistent – make sure everyone in the household is using the same words for certain commands to avoid confusion

If your dog has any behavioural issues such as excessive barking or toilet problems, it’s often best to seek advice from your vet or pet behaviourist.

If you are looking to bring a new dog into the family, always carry out your research on different breeds as there are certain behavioural traits which can be breed specific.

Do you have any tips for training your dog? Let us know in the comments below…

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