Be Your Own Puppy Trainer: Top 5 Commands

By Cheryl Campbell | Training & Behavior

Becoming Your Own Puppy Trainer

Have a new dog and looking to become the best puppy trainer you can possibly be?

If you’re new to being responsible for a pet you’ll find it can be fun, scary and a bit overwhelming all at once. If you’re like me, you’ll worry about the right food, the right exercise, even the right toys that will keep them healthy, safe and happy for many years. So if you are wondering about where to start the training process, and being your own puppy trainer this article is for you!

Sit. Come. Leave it. Down. Stay. These are the 5 basic commands that you should train your puppy to learn, starting today…

If you are new to the blog, you’ll notice we talk a LOT about how bad behavior in your dog is actually the result of YOU doing something wrong. Hate to say that, but it’s true, so you will also find that we talk a lot about being a pack leader.

But I digress! Let’s get back to becoming the best puppy trainer you can be…

In this article we are going to explores the five commands I mentioned and give you some insight on how you can train your puppy to understand and obey you. Teaching them these basic five commands will go along way in the ‘keeping them safe’ department.

The 5 Commands to Teach Especially If You Are Your Own Puppy Trainer


This is perhaps the most common and easiest command to teach your puppy.

  1. Start with holding a treat right above the puppy’s head, not close enough for him to easily grab it, but enough so that his bottom can still touch the floor or ground.
  2. Once he is in this position say ‘sit’ and pass the treat to him.
  3. Repeat the process with treats and then without treats until the little guy learns to sit on command.


This is another important command that you have to train your puppy to obey. This command is essential as it is the one you use to stop your dog from both causing trouble and getting into it. To begin the training process for this command you will need a leash and some healthy treats.

  1. Put him on a leash
  2. Create some distance between you and them
  3. Pull your pup towards you gently as you say ‘come ’ and reward him when he gets to you.
  4. Repeat this drill until he masters the command.

Leave it

This command helps you protect your puppy from playing with things that can be harmful, or poisonous. Also helps to stop them from chewing on items that they shouldn’t be chewing on – like a good pair of shoes!

  1. Have two treats, place one in each hand.
  2. Pace the first treat on the floor, covering it with your hand. When he attempts to eat the treat, calmly but firmly say “leave it”.
  3. When he shifts his attention away from the treat on the floor, praise and reward him with the second treat.


Some people find this a difficult command to teach, but I don’t think so. Just have another healthy treat in hand before you begin. If it smells really good, you get bonus points!

  1. Enclose it in your hands and hold it near his head.
  2. When they show an interest in it, move your hand gently towards the floor
  3. When your hand is on the floor say ‘down’ to get him in the down posture and then reward him.
  4. Repeat this until he learns to get down when asked to.


You should only teach the stay command after your puppy has mastered the ‘sit’ command. Before you begin, ss always, have some healthy treats on hand.

  1. Get your puppy in sitting position
  2. Say ‘stay’ and move back a few steps
  3. Reward him if he stays in the sitting position.
  4. Repeat, increasing the distance a little bit each time.
  5. I like to ‘Release’ him from the Stay Command by saying ‘Come’. When he gets to me, I give him a pat, say ” good boy” then start again.

Keep on repeating and increasing the distance you move back until he is able to stay in that position even if you are briefly out of site. Just remember to release him from the command!

Final Comments about Being Your Own Puppy Trainer and Teaching the 5 Basic Commands

Remember that you have to exercise patience if your puppy takes longer to start obeying than you think they should. If your pup is a larger breed or known for high energy, some of the commands may be more difficult to teach because they prefer to always be on the move.

The key to good training is you. Always stay calm, keep your energy low, and remember that your puppy want to please you. If you are a great pack leader, they will do so easily and happily!


A Good Resource Guide


My Everyday Dog Training Guide is a terrific place to start.  You can pick up a free copy here.