Pretty much everyone that gets a puppy or dog will teach it some basic behaviors, and they should. The basics should include sit, down, stay, come and leash walking. But besides these basics, there are 5 behaviors I believe every dog should know.


  • “Leave-it” – Ignore that thing, you can’t have it. Leave-it teaches your dog to focus on you even when there is something else nearby that your dog wants. Leave it can be used to redirect your dog away from another dog, chasing a squirrel, or eating something he shouldn’t.
  • “Drop-it” – Spit out whatever you have in your mouth. Drop-it tells your dog to let go of something he has in his mouth. This is a very useful cue for playing fetch or rescuing your shoe if needed.
  • “Default sit” – Say “Please” for the things you want. The default sit differs from the cued sit in that the dog will offer the sit, without being asked, to get something he wants. Similar to teaching your kids to say please when they want something.
  • “Go to your mat” – Go to an assigned place, lay down, and stay there until released. Very useful for controlling your dog without having to use a physical barrier such as a crate, baby gate or tether. Go to your mat keeps your dog out of the way but still nearby. Also, it’s much easier to carry at mat instead of crate when you go someplace new.
  • “Wait” – Stop moving forward. Wait tells your dog not to move forward until released. A great behavior for teaching your dog not to go through doorways and gates when opened unless invited. Also, useful when getting into/out of the car and on walks when coming to a curb.