Learning the Most Essential K9 Commands

Pet Training


September 26, 2022

K9s undergo a comprehensive training experience. It is what makes them so effective in the law enforcement department. In addition to specific K9 training, your dog should be able to follow the basics as well.

Let’s take a further look at what your dog needs to do in order to become a better listener and to ultimately be able to move on to K9 training.

What are the Seven Basic Dog Commands?

Before you can worry about K9 commands, you need to know what some of the basic dog commands are. There are seven that every dog owner should know: sit, stay, come, down, off, heel, and no. Let’s break it down.

  1. Sit. Without a doubt, this is the most well-known and basic command. “Sit” is first because it is one of the most natural concepts that a dog will learn. It’s also known as a “transition command.” When a dog can sit, it can move on to some of the other commands.
  2. Down/Lay. This is similar to the aforementioned “sit.” Think of “sit” as keeping your car in park. Well, “down” or “lay” is like cutting the engine. Dogs that are lying down are easier to control and can make for a great transition into more complicated commands.
  3. Stay. You need to know this command to keep your dog from just running off. Teach your pup this command when it is hungry and tired so it can focus and won’t be too energetic. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to master.
  4. Heel. No matter the size of your dog, it should know “heel.” This lets your pup stay right by you when walking instead of taking charge and pulling. It makes walks, in particular, a lot easier.
  5. Come. Taking the dog off the leash can be dicey if it is untrained. When you know that your dog follows commands, however, it can become easier. “Come” will tell your dog to come back you, especially if it breaks off from the leash or it is getting a little too far away.
  6. No. There are trainers who use either “no” or “leave it,” but they can fit for different situations. “No” keeps it simple. When dogs hear “no,” they know to stop what they are doing. With enough repetition, they shouldn’t be tempted to do those things again.
  7. Off. Dogs can jump, particularly if they are excited. Some people don’t mind jumping, but it is not a good behavior to encourage. With “off,” it tells your furry friend that it should not jump, dropping back down immediately.

What are Some German K9 Commands?

A good number of dog trainers, particularly those training German Shepherds, will opt to do their training in German. The reason being is that the words stand out from any of the common words that we might use in daily life.

This is to avoid confusion and accidentally using one of those commands. They all illustrate the same points—sit, stay, heel, etc.—but with clear words instead.

Some of the most basic commands are sitz (sit), platz (down), blieb (stay), hier (here/come), fuss (heel), gib laut (speak), hopp (jump), bring (fetch), halt (stop) steh (stand), and lauf (go). Of course, the more comprehensive you get, the more options there are.

Don’t forget to throw in a braver hund (which means good boy) every now and then. Remember that positive reinforcement is always the way to go. You won’t gain much traction by yelling or even hitting your dog in an effort to get them to listen. Positive reinforcement shows them that what they are doing is the right way, and they are more prone to follow those commands.

Of course, this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on how quickly your dog takes to these commands, you can always add more down the line.

Alternative Words for Dog Commands

Now that we know all of the major basic commands, it is time to talk about getting a little unique. Those are not the only commands that will work, and each dog can expand its vocabulary to become a more effective listener.

One of the best alternative words to use is “good.” The thing about “good” is that it is so basic that it can work as a basic command or one of the K9 commands. This is to show your dog that it has made the right choice. Positive reinforcement is necessary to show dogs that they are listening properly. Negative reinforcement can further behavioral issues or cause anxiety.

“Let’s go” or “right here” can also be a great way to get your dog to get into the proper position. It is similar to some of the other commands but utilizes different verbiage to communicate what you are looking for.

What Does “Foose” Mean in German?

Foose, sometimes spelled as “Fuss,” is the German term for “heel.” Remember, when you tell your dog to “heel,” you are telling it to stay nearby and not run off. When on walks, especially those without a leash, it is important to keep your dog from running away or chasing after someone.

There is the belief that using words in a different language is more effective for training because they are so different from commonly-used words that could cause confusion for the dog.


There are a lot of commands that your dog should be following. There is no need to undergo expensive training courses. You can instill these commands in them with a little bit of patience and effort.

That is just the beginning of their journey toward becoming a K9 dog. By instilling the basics in them, you give them the foundation that they require to become quality K9s.