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10 Guard Dog Commands

Portrait of a Doberman with spiked color outdoors

Guard dog commands are a great way to gain more control over your dog. However, you have to remember that there’s a big difference between guard dogs and attack dogs. In this article, we will focus on the guard dog commands that can come in handy, especially when you’re outside. For example, if your dog decides to run away, you can call him/her back by using the “come” command.

Guard Dog Commands

Let’s look at a few commands your guard dog can learn relatively easily.


German shepherd in a harness with the lead being held by a person in uniform.

This is perhaps the most common command for guard dogs. Cesar’s Way mentions that it is a simple command that can be taught easily to your dog. However, like all behavioral training, it may take some time for your dog to learn how to sit on command.

For teaching this command, take a treat and hold it close to your dog’s nose. Once your dog starts sniffing the treat, raise the treat by moving your hand upwards. When your dog goes into a sitting position, say “sit” and give him/her the treat. Repeat this a few times, and your dog will learn to sit on command.


German Shepherd on a leash next to a man holding the lead with one foot forward

After your dog has learned the ‘sit’ command, you can start teaching him/her to ‘stay.’ Make him/her sit and give your dog treats for encouragement. Slowly start moving away while repeating the word “stay”. If your dog stays in one place, give him/her another treat while repeating the command. Take some more steps away from your dog every time he/she stays at his/her spot. And remember, always give your dog a treat whenever it learns the new command.


Boxer dog laying down on grass and leaves

This command is a bit difficult to teach because every canine is not willing to be in a submissive position. To teach your dog this command, hold a delicious treat that smells really good. Hide the treat inside your fist so your dog can smell it but cannot see it.

Hold your fist close to your dog’s nose so he/she can smell the treat better. Slowly move your hand down towards the floor while repeating the command (“down”). You may have to slide your hand on the ground for your dog to follow it.


German shepherd running down a grass covered dirt road

This command can be used to call your guard dog towards you. First, show your dog a toy or a treat and say the word “come”. When your pup comes towards you, give him/her a treat. After a few repetitions, your dog now should come towards you whenever you use this command.


German Shepherd puppy learning to heal next to person in black pants.

Heeling is when your dog walks alongside you. It can be a difficult command to teach, so make sure you have lots of treats and, more importantly, lots of patience. Ask your dog to sit next to you and give him/her a treat. Then, start walking slowly, with treats held out front. This will make your dog walk by your side. Repeat “heel” and give your dog treats when he/she walks alongside you.


Golden retriever puppy being told no by person pointing a finger at them

According to Purina, this is one of the most important commands for your dog’s safety (and your sanity). To make it easier for your dog to learn this command, make sure he/she is hungry. Hold a tasty treat in your hand, and keep it about 6 inches away from your dog’s nose. When your dog tries to go for the treat, close your fist and say a firm “No”. Repeat this a few times until your dog gets the hang of it.


Fuzzy white dog laying on tile floor

A good guard dog will bark whenever he/she hears something. However, this behavior can lead to excessive barking and this is why the “Quiet” is important.

Take your dog near a bark trigger source. For example, doorbells work well for this. Then, ring the doorbell and as your dog starts to bark, place a treat underneath his/her nose and say “Quiet”. If your dog stops barking, give him/her the treat. Slowly increase the number of bark triggers until your dog learns to be quiet on command.


Yellow Labrador outdoors in grass barking

Teaching your guard dog to bark on command is the opposite of teaching him/her to be quiet. Take your dog near the doorbell. Ring the bell and if your dog barks, give him/her a treat while saying the word “speak”.  Repeat this process a few times to train your dog for this command. Make sure you encourage your canine companion through praise and treats.


Portrait of German Shepherd looking at camera and barking

It’s important to teach your pup the ‘down’ or ‘stay’ commands before going for this training. Then, choose an object that you want your dog to guard. If it is a big object, put your dog on a leash and walk him/her around it. If the target is a smaller one, simply place it near the place your dog sleeps.

After showing your dog the object, command him/her to stay near the object. Then say “guard” and walk back a few steps. If your pooch stays near the object, go back, and give him/her a treat. Gradually, increase the number of steps you walk back before giving treats.

Leave it

Cane Corso laying in grass next to house

This is one of the most important commands to teach your guard dog because it can prevent accidents. For example, if your dog is trying to play with broken glass, he/she should be trained to walk away on command. Best Friends explain how you can teach this guard dog command.

Hold one treat in each hand. One should be a delicious treat, and the other can be a generic one. Hold out the generic treat and let your dog sniff it. Say “leave it” and let your dog sniff the treat. As soon as he/she stops sniffing the treat, give him/her the delicious treat. Practice this a few times to strengthen this behavior.

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