The Ultimate Dog Training Checklist

Proper training is one of the most important benefits you can provide a new dog you bring into your life. Just keep in mind that training encompasses a wide variety of topics, so to ensure you cover all your bases, it’s a good idea to use a dog training checklist.

The following are all points worthy of consideration as you embark on your dog training.

Does Your Dog Know Their Name?


This should be the first basic item on your dog training checklist. Only when your dog is receptive to their name can you move forward with teaching them what they need to learn. If you took ownership of your dog when he had a different name and doesn’t yet respond to their new one, you can use both names interchangeably until they begin responding to their new name.

Does Your Dog Know How To Sit?


‘Sit’ is one of the easiest basic commands for most dogs to learn, so it is a good place to start on your dog training checklist. You can use a gesture in addition to the word itself for best results.

Does Your Dog Know, “Down?”

‘Down’ is a useful command to tell your dog to lie down, and it is not especially difficult to teach either. As with sit, pointing at the ground between their front paws while saying the word and perhaps offering a treat will help your pup get the message really fast.

woman sitting on bed with her dogs

Does Your Dog Respond To ‘’Off?’’

‘Off’ should not be confused with the ‘Down’ command. While ‘Down’ should instruct your dog to lie down, ‘Off’ is meant to train your dog not to jump up on people, furniture, or other things. It is a nuisance at best and dangerous at worst when an untrained dog is allowed to jump all over people, so you should work to curb this instinctual behavior with gentle patience.

Does Your Dog Know, ‘’Come?’’

This command is perhaps the most important one your dog can learn. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult commands to teach reliably. You should work on the ‘Come’ command when there are significant distractions and even when you sound angry or stressed. Just remember to never, ever punish your dog when they don’t come to you, no matter how frustrated you might get.

Are You Consistent?

Consistency is the most important trait you can display while training a dog because consistent reinforcement is the only way training will last long-term. Give the same commands in the same circumstances and keep to a schedule, and you will be able to ingrain successful habits in your dog.

Are You Using Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is far and away the most effective way to train animals and altering behavior in general. As previously mentioned, you should never punish a dog for not doing what you ask. Focus instead on positive reinforcement during training, such as giving treats and praise when your dog does what you want them to.

Does Your Dog Behave Without You?

Dogs are very social animals and can get incredibly attached to their owners. They can develop conditions such as severe separation anxiety if they aren’t trained to accept that being away from their humans is normal. It also helps if you can refrain from giving your dog constant attention as well as making a big deal out of arrivals and departures from your home.

Is Your Dog Leash Trained?

Leash training a dog can be difficult because a dog’s natural instinct is to pull when they are excited. To remedy this, you should work on teaching your dog to heel. Again, having them heel consistently is the key to turning it into a habit.

Is Your Dog Comfortable In A Crate?

Training a dog to be comfortable in a crate is usually a good idea. Dogs tend to view such comfortable enclosed spaces as their dens, and it gives them a safe space in addition to a place where you can confine them when necessary. Remember, your dog’s crate is their safe space, so you should not bother them when they’re in it.

Could There Be A Medical Reason For Your Dog’s Behavior?

If you are attempting to train your dog and having little success, be sure to rule out a medical issue as a possible source of the behavior. For example, a dog that is having difficulty being house trained may be suffering from bladder or other issues.

Have You Consulted A Dog Trainer?

Most people are capable of training their dogs themselves. In fact, this is preferable as you want your dog to bond with and respond to you. However, dog training courses and professional dog trainers are important resources. They can inform you of the right methods to be using as well as provide a consistent, formal training schedule and help with unusual issues.

Are You Socializing Your Dog?

Dogs don’t magically know how to behave appropriately around other dogs, and it takes proper socialization for them to learn. Your friends’ or neighbors’ dogs are great social outlets. Strangers’ dogs can be socialized with as well, but never without permission from their owners. If you work during the day, sending your dog to dog day care might be a preferable option to leaving them at home all day because they will learn to better socialize with other dogs.

To end this list…

There is a lot to consider when training a dog, which is why a dog training checklist is a very useful tool. If you consider all the things you need to teach your dog and work through them one at a time with solid brain training, trust, and patience, you are almost certain to end up with a well-mannered companion.