5 Easy Commands to Teach your Dog

2 min read
Jun 11, 2023

If your dog has mastered the basic dog commands, such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel,” then you might be ready to branch out and start learning some fun dog commands! Here are some more advanced dog commands you can teach your pet today that can work for both small and large dogs.

1. How to Teach your Dog to 'Shake Hands'1

Teaching your dog to shake isn’t as difficult as you might think, and if you have already finished teaching your dog to sit, then you’re halfway there! 

  1. Tell your dog to sit.  
  2. Stand in front of your dog and hold out your fist with a treat inside. Wait to see what your dog does — most dogs will curiously sniff your hand.  
  3. When your dog paws at your hand, give them the treat and praise them.  
  4. Continue repeating this process, waiting a few seconds longer to give your dog the treat each time. Your goal is for your dog to leave his/her paw on your hand.  
  5. Eventually, you can begin saying “Shake” as you hold out your hand.  Saying “Shake” out loud will help your dog learn the verbal cue.   Over time, you’ll be able to carefully move your dog’s paw up and down, and even do it without treats.

2. Learn How to Teach Your Dog to Speak2

Most of the time, we would prefer our dogs not to bark. However, barking on command can also be a fun, useful trick for a dog to have. To teach your dog to speak, simply follow the steps below. 

  1. Do something that will make your dog bark naturally (such as knocking on the door)
  2. When your dog barks, say “speak” and offer a treat with positive verbal re-enforcement.  
  3. Continue steps one and two until your dog associates the word “speak” with a treat.   
  4. Stop knocking on the door (or whatever makes them bark naturally) and continue to say “Speak.”  Wait until the dog barks, and then offer a treat.  
  5. If your dog is not responding to the verbal command alone, try going back to step 1 and using a different stimulus (like ringing the doorbell, or picking up their favorite toy.)  

3. Got Some Room? Here's How to Teach your Dog to Roll Over

Roll over is a fun party trick to teach your dog.  It also happens to be one of the most popular dog commands. Here’s how to teach your dog to roll over: 

  1. The first step to teaching your dog to roll over is to make sure they know “down.”  If your dog knows “Down,” you can skip ahead to step two.  If not, you’ll need to start with teaching your dog “down.”  
  2. Once your dog knows “down” you’re ready to go. Begin with your dog in the down position.  
  3. Next, take a healthy, homemade dog treat and move it from your dog’s nose to their shoulder and say “Roll Over.”  This movement will cause your dog to follow the treat with their nose, forcing them to lean back on their side to get it.  
  4. Once your dog is used to this motion, move the treat all the way to the floor and say “Roll Over.” Praise your dog every time he/she rolls onto his/her back to get the treat.  
  5. Soon you’ll be able to take the treat away and simply direct your dog with the empty hand movement and the command “Roll Over.” Eventually, you may be able to remove the hand gesture and simply use the verbal cue “Roll Over.”  

4. Need Some Love? Teach your Dog to Give a Kiss!3

"Kiss" is one of the simplest commands you can teach your dog. After all, many of our dogs lick our faces on a regular basis anyway — so attaching a verbal cue to this behavior and doing it on command may not be that hard!  

  1. Piggyback on your dog’s natural behavior by making a point to say “Give kisses” whenever your dog licks you.  
  2. If they need a little encouragement, put a small bit of peanut butter on your cheek to help. 
  3. Praise your dog for giving you licks and say "Kiss"
  4. Give them a treat when they’re done licking

Repeating this process a few times may get your dog to catch on.  If your dog is having trouble, you may be able to pick up on some context clues offered by their body language

5. How to Teach your Dog to Spin

Teaching your dog to spin around in a circle may be a bit trickier! 

  1. Get your dog’s attention by holding a treat in front of their nose. 
  2. Stand over your dog, and move your hand in a large circle. Your dog will most likely follow your hand, spinning in a full circle in front of you.  
  3. When your dog is facing you again, praise them and give them the treat.  
  4. Once your dog is comfortable with the idea of turning in a circle, begin saying “Turn” as they go.  
  5. Eventually, the goal is to get your dog to turn by following the motion of your hand and the verbal cue.  
  6. If your dog gets good enough at turning, you may soon be able to get them to turn by simply giving the verbal cue of "turn."

These 5 fun dog commands will help strengthen the bond you have with your dog, while building their confidence and having some fun! 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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1How to teach your dog to Shake Hands, American Kennel Club,  Sassafras Lowrey 
2How to Train your Dog to Speak or be Quiet, The Spruce Pets,  Jenna Stregowski 
3How to Train your Dog to Give Kisses, The Spruce Pets, Amy Bender