Inspire the Extraordinary in Your Dog

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At Eukanuba™, we believe all dogs have the potential to be extraordinary, and Canine Companions for Independence dogs are great examples of dogs who live up to that potential. These highly skilled service dogs are taught a variety of tasks that enhance independence for adults, children and veterans with disabilities. From picking up dropped keys to alerting a handler who is deaf to a ringing phone, there’s no denying Canine Companions assistance dogs are extraordinary. Now’s your chance to spark the extraordinary in your dog by teaching them these assistance dog commands.

Command Training Tips

​Before you begin teaching your dog new commands, it is important to understand that not all dogs train at the same pace. Don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t pick up a new command right away—give it time. To make training a rewarding experience for both you and your four-legged friend, review our tips first.

Be Calm and Consistent
Effective trainers approach the process in a calm, relaxed manner. Using this approach when saying commands helps dogs react more positively to the command. In addition to the training approach, consistency is also key. One important way to ensure consistency is by using the same one-word commands during training and then continuing to use the same words after the dog has mastered the commands.

Practice Makes Perfect
Keep training sessions short. Ideally, you should spend no longer than 10 to 15 minutes on each session. Dogs inherently have short attention spans, and small spurts of training on a routine basis will help the dog retain the skill and keep them interested in the training. When approaching a lesson, keep it fun and focus on one skill at a time. Once your dog becomes proficient in multiple commands, you can eventually work up to mixing more than one command into the training.

Reward Good Behavior
Be sure to reward your dog immediately after completing a command with a treat. Use treats to guide your dog into command as well. For instance, one way to encourage the drop command is to swap the treat for the item you want dog to drop while saying the word “drop.” Or to encourage your dog to lie down, hold the treat in front of her nose and slowly move it toward the ground and in between her front paws. As your dog begins to master each command, begin to phase out treats and have the dog rely on your praise.

Essential Assistance Dog Commands
Canine Companions for Independence trains dogs to perform over 40 different commands to assist children and adults with a variety of disabilities. Here’s a guide to the organization’s top commands. For fun, try working your dog down the list.

Is used to get the dog’s attention. The dog should direct its attention to you but not move toward you. The dog’s name should never be used as a verbal correction.

This command tells the dog to walk backward or to back up.

This command tells the dog to go to its bed.

This command tells the dog to enter or to get into the car.

This command is known as a verbal correction. It means the dog needs to stop immediately what it is doing.

This command simply tells the dog to lie down and is implied as a stay.

Tells the puppy to calmly place its head through the collar, gentle leader or cape.

Tell the pup to ignore whatever it has in its mouth and make eye contact with the handler.


This command tells the dog to sit closely on your left side.

This command tells the dog to come directly to you. HURRY: This command simply tells the dog to go to the bathroom.

This command tells the dog to get onto other surfaces.

Tells the pup to go into its kennel or crate and stay there until commanded to exit.

This command tells the dog to put its front legs across your lap, resting on its elbows.

This command tells the dog to walk casually on a loose leash at your side, neither forging ahead nor lagging behind. A good physical or visual cue for you is that the pup’s shoulders should be even with your leg.


This command tells the dog to get off something or to get out of the car.


This command tells the dog it’s released to eat.

Tells the pup go ahead through a doorway then turn and face the handler.

This command informs the dog to stop its whining and/or barking.

This command tells the dog that it is free to do as it wishes within the realm of appropriate behavior.

This command tells the dog to roll over on its back, exposing the tummy.

This command tells the dog to place either of its paws in the palm of your extended hand.

This command tells the dog to sit closely on your right side.

This command tells the dog to put its rear on the ground.

This command tells the dog to bark.

This command tells the dog to stand on all four feet without walking around.

Tells the pup to turn and face the opposite direction (standing) and remain there.

This command tells the dog to lay down under something such as a chair or table.

This command tells the dog to put its front paws on a counter, table, wall, etc.

This command tells the dog to rest its head on your lap.

This command tells the dog to not cross a threshold or barrier without further notice.

*Implied stay: The dog must stay in the command given (down, sit, stand) until given another command. The “stay” command does not need to be said.