Dogs love to learn, and it’s our job to train them so they can happy, well-behaved members of our families. If you are new to dog training or just got a puppy who needs training, read this! These are the 6 basic commands and behaviors your dog needs to learn (along with links to applicable how-to dog training videos)!

1) Leash manners

It’s never fun to have Fido pulling you down the street. While it may be comical for onlookers, it’s not funny to you I’m sure! The first thing your dog needs to learn is leash manners. The first step to teaching leash manners is teaching your dog our exclusive foundational heeling behavior called Preheeling. This is step one of two in the dog leash manners process. Click the video below featuring me and my personal protection dog, Havok!


2) Art of Doing Nothing

To teach your dog to behave when on a leash, you also need to teach what we here at Valor K9 Academy call, The Art of Doing Nothing. I coined this term years ago and it has become a staple in the dog training industry. Watch our free instructional video. Art of Doing Nothing teaches your dog to relax in a sit or down next to you while on a leash when you are not moving. It’s a very nice default behavior that makes it pleasant (and possible!) to say hello to a neighbor while out on a walk or greet guests who come to your door. It teaches your dog to be well-mannered instead of wild and out of control!


3+4) Sit and Down on Command

Dogs need to learn basic stationary behaviors like sit and down; it’s dog training 101. These behaviors may not be as important as leash manners, but they give you more behaviors in your arsenal to work on with your dog when you’re training at home and in public. Teaching your dog to sit and down on command, with an implied stay until released, also teaches them the beginnings of impulse control. We teach this utilizing what we call The 3D’s: duration first, then distance then distractions. Learn to teach sit and down using our video. This video is one of the first instructional videos I made EIGHT YEARS AGO! Time flies!


5) Crate Drills

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to catch your dog to get him in the crate. And it can be quite annoying trying to open the crate door with your dog attempting to barge out. So it’s due time to teach crate drills. Enter on command, wait by default and exit on command. We use the commands Crate and Free for this exercise. For more on our Marker Words read this post. To see Crate Drills in action and to teach them to your dog, watch this video.

If you haven’t noticed by now, we have a huge YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers that offers countless FREE how-to videos! Go have a look!


6) The Name Game

This one’s one of my personal favorites. Teaching your dog his or her name is crucial! It’s the very first thing I teach outside of luring. Why? Because it teaches dogs to make eye contact with us when we say their name, it teaches them their name is a good thing (instead of a precursor to punishment: “No Fido Bad Dog!”) and it functions as a focus booster around distractions.



Every dog should know at least the six basic commands and behaviors mentioned in this article. For more, view our posts on Puppy Socialization and How to Train Your Reactive Dog!