The Seven Uttermost Critical Canine Teaching Capabilities

Canine training is a life long process, but some proficiencies are more crucial than others. Picture getting hold of these fundamental dog training skills as laying out the groundwork, and prepping your dog for a life time of good behaviour and company.

Regardless if you simply just brought home a puppy dog, adopted a shelter dog, or would like to go over your old dog's training, these are the absolute essential skill-sets to train your dog (and yourself).

Before you start, it's a smart idea to examine the fundamentals of dog training: be persevering, be sure, mind your gestures, progress in short periods of time (10-15 minute training sessions each time), and provide variation to help your dog respond reliably in any situation.

House Training

Potty training is about consistency, patience, and affirmative reinforcement. Start with the essentials:

Keep an eye on your dog. When you're just beginning to house train her, limit her access to other areas of your house, whether that means shutting off doors to bedrooms or crate-training so she has her own area.
Set a routine. Dogs are animals of habit. By feeding your dog at the exact same time daily and offering regularly spaced walks and outside potty breaks, you can train her to “go” at set times every day.
Never reprimand your dog for relieving itself in the house. Accidents happen, and dogs don't understand cause and effect the same way people do. Tidy up the mess, remind yourself that it will improve the more persistent you are and move on.
Reward your dog for getting it. Give her a treat as soon as she goes potty in the assigned place.

For more detailed tips on housetraining a puppy or dog, take a look at this trainer's complete guide.

Successful dog training is all about consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement.


Coming when called is among probably the most important abilities for your pooch to have on lock, because it can keep her protected in possibly hazardous situations. “Make it a party” each time your dog comes when called. Regardless of what they're throwing off, coming to you should be the very best thing that they experience all of the day!

To train your dog to come when called, start on leash in a quiet area. Back away from your dog while enthusiastically telling her to “come!” Only give the command once, but be enthusiastic, and keep your gestures calmed and accessible. You can show your dog a treat to encourage her to head your way. Once she sets out towards you, say “yes!” (or click) and reward her with a treat.

In time, you can gradually widen the range between you and your dog, and start practicing in a variety of circumstances. View this guide for more tips to teaching your dog to come when called.


Training your dog to “stay” isn't simply about having them to sit stationary. Like “come,” it's a command that can keep her secure from danger.

Improve on your dog's “stay” skills with the Three D's of training:


Start-off up next to your dog, positioning her in a sit or down stance. Hold a hand out towards her and say “stay.” After a moment, reward her. If she maintains her sit or down position, redo this until your dog gets the idea that she'll get a treat.

Over multiple training sessions, extend your distance from your dog and the time-span before you release her, and present distractions to test her resolve. Visit this puppy training guide for more detailed guidance.

Bear in mind the three D's of training: duration, distraction, and distance

Leave It

The “leave it” command is another important for trying to keep your dog safeguarded, whether from something they might get and ingest or some other dog snarling at them from across the roadway. It's also a skill that takes some time and steadfastness to grasp, so make certain to take it in gradual steps, building on the three D's mentioned above.

To train “leave it,” start with a treat in hand and your dog in a sit or down position:

Display to your dog the treat, say “leave it,” then place it under your shoe.
Wait. Your dog will try to get the treat– sniffing, licking, even pawing at your foot. Let her try. When she eventually quits, immediately say “yes!” and give her a treat from your hand (not the one still under your shoe!).
Repeat. Your dog may go back to sniffing around your foot; immediately after she stops and looks elsewhere, mark the desired behavior with “yes” or a click, and reward.

Once your dog has mastered the art of ignoring a hidden treat, you can work up to a treat in plain view, and eventually “leaving” more compelling distractions. Put the training in motion by asking her to walk past and “leave” other treat on the floor.


Useful in plenty of circumstances, “sit” is often the first command dogs are taught. Most dogs “sit” on their own, so all you have to accomplish is associate the command to the behavior.

When your dog is in a standing position, hold a treat before her nose and raise it slowly in the direction of the behind her head. When her head tracks the treat up, her butt will drop. Once her butt hits the floor, say “yes!” and give her the treat.

As soon as your dog is sitting dependably with the treat attraction, you can switch to a hand signal and verbal command. View the above video from the AKC for a clear explanation of the whole process.

Most dogs ‘sit' on their own, so all you have to do is connect the command to the behavior.


Like “sit,” you can start teaching your dog the “down” signal with a treat lure.

Begin with your dog being seated in front of you.
Hold a treat close to her face.
Move the treat directly downward to the floor, and after that slowly away from the dog. She will follow the treat by moving her front feet forward, subsequently lying down.
Be very clear with your movements, and be patient! Once your dog lies down, say “yes!” and give her the treat.


Training your dog to “settle” on request is an amazing means to assist a fearful or anxious dog deal with emotional reactions. Similar to sitting, settling is something dogs do by themselves. Your task here is to connect a cue to a familiar behavior.

To start teaching your dog to “settle,” leash her up and sit down. Place your foot on the leash so your dog has merely enough room to sit, stand, and turn around, but not wander off from your side. Wait. Your dog may be stired up in the beginning, and attempt to hop up on your lap or run all around the room. Let her discover that she can't go anywhere. Once she calms down on her own, say “yes!” and give her a treat.

When your dog is settling down on her own, it's time to include the cue. You'll begin by saying it right after your dog is already settling, then gradually “back up” the cue to the starting point of the technique.

The “settle” command assists fearful or anxious dogs manage their emotional reactions.

Laying a solid training structure will make life with your dog much easier and more enjoyable. If you're unsure where to start, subscribe to an online dog training video class; there's no better way to train your dog than to follow along with an expert and having videos you can go over again and again. You can also follow any one of the helpful links above, and check out our blog archives for added tips and tricks.