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What Words to Use When Dog Training

Quick Training Tip: Choose Those Words Carefully

Hooray! You've stocked up on the small snacks, and you're ready to train away! Decide beforehand what command words you want to use. Even if your pup has been trained in the past, it doesn't hurt to give him a refresher. Keep it simple with basics such as "sit," "down," "stay," "drop it," "out," and "off." But research has indicated that an intelligent dog can develop a vocabulary of well over 50 words, so don't sell your pup short!

As a pet owner, you'll choose different trigger words and commands necessary to your life. If you live in a big city, training your pup with a trigger word to remind that it's not time to stop and greet every person you pass is a must. But if you live in an area where you seldom encounter people, that command is probably not at the top of your list. Similarly, training with "off" is a must if you've got a pup that inevitably tries to jump on favorite visitors for kisses. Remember training is an ongoing process, and voice commands should be chosen carefully — check out our tips when you


  • Words that end in a hard consonant (C, K, T, X) are better than those that end in a vowel because they have a hard finish and can be quickly and articulately spoken.
  • Keep your voice crisp and cheerful. Avoid acting like your dog has misbehaved while training.
  • Use short commands, preferably one syllable. Choose one word for each action and stay consistent. Say the word once to get the result. Repeating can be confusing for the dog, and can result in frustration. Your goal is to get your pup to associate that one word with the one duty instantly.
  • When teaching your pet to come, that command often needs more than one word associated with it. With new pups, say the dog's name to attract attention, issue the command (come), and then praise your pup so he knows he's not in trouble.
  • After your dog comes and does the tasks you have asked, use a finish command like "free" or "release."
Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
nerdyglam nerdyglam 8 years
Thanks! These are great tips. Oh and those that say they want a pup to train...feel free to come borrow mine. :)
5n4k3 5n4k3 9 years
it's hard to find words that aren't generally used in conversation but won't make you seem crazy if you say them in front of people...
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
We use piddle or little busy for going outside...we started with piddle which works okay but when she stayed with my brother he used little busy and it worked great. These are some great tricks. I am having a hard time getting her to come...but we're working on it.
Lourdan_Hazei Lourdan_Hazei 9 years
*chuckles* Once upon a time, while my ex-fiancé and I were training our new puppy, we read an article that suggested (while trying to housebreak) that we use a command word everytime the little guy did his business outside so that over time, he would more or less, "go" on command. They suggested using a word that doesn't come up often in conversation. We chose (and I don't remember why, exactly, its been years) zucchini. Oddly enough, it worked pretty well and was nice on those super-cold mornings to step out the back door and get him to go quickly ;)
JessNess JessNess 9 years
My dogs know a wide variety of words and the tones that come with it. They know the usual like sit, down, stay, and come but they also know some other good ones -stand: to go from a sit or down position to standing on all fours (extremely helpful when grooming) -heel: The dog will circle behind me and stop sitting on my left side -high five: One of dogs sits on his hindlegs and puts one paw up for a high five -out, stop and enough: self explanatory
CanadianInVA CanadianInVA 9 years
I agree aschwebb, i want a pup to train too! And NurseDeAnna, Kitties train us :)
NurseDeAnna NurseDeAnna 9 years
I've been trying to train my kitty...he's way too stubborn though
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Awww now I want a pup to train!
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