Behavior Library - Training

180 Turn Command

Teaching your dog to turn 180 degrees on command allows you to turn him away from things that might make him react negatively.


Down is a great way to teach your dog impulse control and to make your life easier. A dog lying down can’t jump, surf counters, knock over trash cans, or steal your shoes. A dog that masters a well-trained down is much easier to take out in public and to other people’s houses.

Drop It

Teaching your dog to drop something on command means you will be able to get dangerous or unauthorized items away from your dog without problems or aggression.

Find It

When your dog knows “find it,” you can distract your dog away from or pass distractions in the environment. It’s also a great way to give your dog a mental workout.

Front Door Greeting

You can control nuisance barking at the door by teaching your dog how to respond when the doorbell rings.

Front Door Quiet

The idea behind this exercise is to allow your dog to bark when there is someone at the door, but for him to be quiet when told.

Go to Your Bed

Teaching your dog to go to his bed (or crate) is relatively easy and very useful. Not only can you direct your dog to go lie down in situations when it’s nice to have him out from underfoot, for example during mealtimes or when visitors are at the door, but your dog will learn to settle at times when he might otherwise get over-excited.


Heel teaches your dog not to pull on leash and is great for times when you need to walk your dog in a controlled fashion, for example through crowded areas, when passing by another dog you don’t want your dog to meet, going by a group of children, or crossing the street, etc. It also teaches your dog to walk under control when off leash.

Leave It

When your dog can leave things on command, you can direct her not to pick up or even go near certain things—a very useful ability. For example, you can prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting toxic substances, or you can save your new pair of shoes from a set of teeth marks.


You can use an eye-contact command to get and keep your dog’s attention in situations that may be fear or anxiety provoking. It also inadvertently teaches your dog to look to you for leadership in situations where he feels confused.

Loose-Leash Walking

This exercise, also called “red light/green light,” teaches your dog that pulling on leash is not the way to get anywhere. The only way for him to make forward progress is to control his sled-dog impulses.

Name Recognition and Attention

Just like you would turn to look when someone says your name, dogs can learn to do the same. If your dog learns to pay attention to you when you say his name, he is more likely to hear when you give him verbal cues, see where you are going, and learn what you are trying to teach him.


Dogs bark for a number of reasons: people walking by, other dogs, boredom, frustration, and loneliness, for example. Some types of barking can be redirected and controlled with the quiet command.


Coming when called is one of the most important commands your dog can learn from both a usefulness and safety standpoint. Dogs don’t automatically come when called—regardless of how much they love and respect you. The only way to get a dog to come reliably when called is to train him to do it.

Recommended Reading

Download our list of great books about dog behavior, from practical how-to guides on specific issues to scholarly tomes on the origins and evolution of domestic dogs.


This one is a must and a behavior any dog can learn. A staple of all good dog manners, sitting when asked can help with polite greetings and as a first step to learning many other behaviors. For many dogs, sitting becomes their way of saying “please” when they would like you to throw a ball or open a door.