3 Commands You Can Teach Your Dog to Understand

Now that you know the importance of saying and showing your dog exactly what you want her to do, let's look at some examples.

Sarah Hodgson, Writing for
3-minute read


Getting your dog to leave what he's doing and come to you is a tall order. Dogs aren't robots; they're kids with fur. Think of how hard it is for a child to leave the playground! Imagine your partner or a friend calling you away from an activity you love. 

Think of come like a sports-team huddle. You're calling your dog in for a quick re-connection or a new game plan. Say it loud, confidently, and toss your voice in the direction you'd like him to follow. Here are a few easy steps to get you started.

1. To teach your dog to come when you call, pocket some food, treats or a favorite toy. Start inside. Throughout the day, or at set meal times, practice the run-away-come game. Get your dog's attention with his food or toy, run away from him 10-20 feet, and then turn and say “come,” as you pop the food in his mouth. Remember to point your voice in the direction you want him to follow!

2. Play the same game in new areas around your home, yard or apartment. If you're practicing in an enclosure, get a long line to give your dog the sense of freedom while you still have a hold. 

Play other games to teach your dog that Come means a new and awesome game plan!  Check out my YouTube channel for some of my favorite games, like: What's in the Grass?, Ouch I Hurt Myself! and Hide and Seek.

3. Now you're ready for real time, although please don't practice near roadways unless your dog is on a leash or long line. When you call to your dog, pretend you're hot on the trail, throwing your voice in the opposite direction, up or down but not at him!

In Your Kennel

I get a lot of frustrated calls about dogs who once loved their crate but now refuse to go into it. When doing a Skype session, I ask to see what's going on. 100% of the time, the person is blocking the kennel opening and/or staring at their dog as they repeatedly tell him to get in. 

Being bossy never works. So, what has to change? The way their body is facing and the direction their voice is pointing. If you’re experiencing the same problem, these tips might help:

  • Place your dog’s food dish gradually closer to the crate for three days, until your dog will eat in his crate willingly.
  • Toss a special yummy snack in the kennel as you point your voice into the crate instead of at your dog.
  • Ask a beloved family member to climb into the crate, or sit facing the opening and play on your phone or read the mail.

I know—the hardest thing to do when you're frustrated and in a hurry will be to look away from your dog when you want him to move forward, but remember that staring at your dog means confrontation or play for him. Instead, stand off to the side, face the opening of the crate and stay positive as you lure your dog into his quiet place. Once he’s in, dim the lights, put some music on and leave!


Stay is often taught by standing in front of a dog, and staring down at him with an outstretched palm. But this technique can quickly confuse both dogs and dog parents. Why? Because standing in front of your dog and staring at him is stressful; it invites play or fear, not calmness. Many dogs jump up or walk away.

Do this instead:

  • Stand next to your dog or at an angle. Your feet should be facing the same direction, not toe-to-toe.
  • Hold out your palm. This says ‘stay.’
  • Feed your dog treats one at a time while your dog holds still. Gradually increase the time between each treat.
  • Release your dog with ‘okay’ and ‘play,’ and praise him. Just don’t treat him when he’s standing!
  • If your dog gets up before you’ve said OK, walk away and ignore him for 2-5 minutes. Soon he’ll jump or bark to get your attention!

As your dog’s concentration improves, practice what are known as the 3 D's- the duration you can get your dog to hold still, distractions and the distance you can walk away from him.

So give the Say and Show method a try! Choose five to ten words that highlight your daily routines or objects, such as Upstairs, Downstairs, Inside, Outside, Car, Ball, or Bone. Check out the luring technique for tips on how luring can speed the process along as well!After all, life’s an adventure. Grab your dog and c’mon, let’s play!

For more simple-to-follow tips visit me online at www.WhenDogsTalk.com, and stay tuned to all of my social media channels.