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Sit. Stay. Read.

How to Train a Dog the Basics: Sit, Stay, Come

Training your dog basic commands will not only help you better manage your pet but can help keep your pet safe.

September 16, 2021 4 min read
How to Train a Dog the Basics: Sit, Stay, Come

Teaching your dog the basics is an essential part of being a good dog owner. Not only will basic commands help you to better contain and control your dog, but these simple skills can help keep your dog safe. Although young puppies can learn and pick up tricks and behaviors more quickly, any age dog will be able to learn new tricks, despite what the old adage may say. Below, let's take a look at the best way to teach Sit, Stay, and Come to your dog.


A dog will naturally sit to relax and observe, but this behavior is one of the most basic and essential tricks to teach your dog. To teach your dog to sit, you should:

Step 1:

Hold a treat in the palm of your hand and keep your hand open. Hold your hand high enough over your pet's head, but not so high your dog cannot see that you have a treat.

Step 2:

Ensure your pet is looking at you and you have made eye contact. With your hand open and facing upward, slowly move the hand toward your dog, but keep your hand held over your pet's head. Say, "sit" with this motion.

Step 3:

As your pet continues to look upward toward the treat, your pet will be forced to sit to get a better vantage point of the treat.

Step 4:

Once your pet has completed a sit, reward your pet with the treat, and be sure to give plenty of praise. Eventually, as your dog learns, they will be able to complete this behavior without a treat and with only the hand motion.


Teaching your pet to stay is an essential part of teaching your pet to have good manners. Your pet will need to remain even when they are distracted by people or by other dogs. To teach your pet to stay, you should.

Step 1:

With your dog on a leash, have your pet sit.

Step 2:

Firmly hold your hand in front of your pet's face while saying, "stay."

Step 3:

Take one step backward and pause. Ensure your pet stays sitting while you move away. Wait about 3 seconds before returning to your pet and giving plenty of praise and treats. If your pet stands, put your pet back into a sit, do not treat, and try again.

Step 4:

As your pet becomes better at this behavior, you will want to increase the time duration and the distance you stay away from your dog. Eventually, your pet will be able to stay in place without the use of treats and rewards.


Teaching your pet to come is a great way to gain control of your dog, whether your pet has escaped his collar or you need your dog to return to you at the dog park. To teach come, you should:

Step 1:

Have your dog practice a sit and stay position. Walk a fair distance away from your dog.

Step 2:

With a treat in one hand, stand a distance away from your dog with both arms outstretched to either side.

Step 3:

Say, "Come!" to your pet. As your pet approaches you, gradually bring your arms in together, so the treat is in front of your dog. Once the dog has come to you, reward it with a treat.

Step 4:

Gradually work to increase the distance your dog has to come. Eventually, your dog will be able to come from across a field and will know the sound of your voice without a necessary treat as a reward.

Training Tips

Training your dog takes plenty of patience and consistent behavior. But, by teaching your pet to Sit, Stay, and Come, you can lay the foundation work necessary to learn more advanced behaviors in the future. To be successful, you need to understand that behaviors are not learned overnight. Remember, training can be a fun activity for both you and your pet to work together. Some of the best trips to train your dog include:

  • Short Sessions: Be sure to only practice short training sessions with your dog in no more than 20-minute segments. You want to keep training fun and lively, and your pet should never become bored or frustrated with training.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Keep the training positive. You want your pet to perform these behaviors because they want to and not because they are forced to. Keep your voice positive, and be sure to offer plenty of praise and treats for a job well done.
  • Know Your Pet: Before training your pet, you must fully understand how your pet learns and behaves. Some pets are more food motivated, while other pets are more motivated by positive praise. Understanding how your pet learns and how they like to be rewarded will make training more straightforward and productive.
  • Stay Consistent: The key to successfully train your dog is to stay consistent. Not only do you need to use the same commands and expect the same behaviors, but every member of your house must remain constant too. If you go to a formal training class, be sure all household members attend the class to learn and understand the right way to train and teach your dog.

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