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7 Military Dog Training Commands

Soldier's back facing camera with German Shepherd looking over the soldier's shoulder facing the camera, sitting in the middle of a wooded road

If trained properly, dogs are one of the most obedient animals. They can perform various tasks, ranging from chasing intruders to finding lost people. Canines are often used in the military and are taught several commands to execute the given instructions. Keep reading to know more about the most common military dog training commands.

Military Dog Training Commands

These commands are not always aggressive because they are primarily used to discipline the dogs. Dogs can’t understand words and they learn by associating certain actions with specific sounds. For example, you can train a dog to chase people by using the word “bone”. Read on to learn how you can train military dog training commands to your pooch.


German Shepherd in vest sitting on a road next to railroad tracks with a train in the background

Sit is probably the most common command for military, as well as domestic dogs. Being a simple word, it is very easy to train your dog to sit down. Let’s go over a simple way of teaching this command to your dog.

Take a treat and hold it close to your dog’s nose. Once you have his/her attention, raise the treat by moving your hand upwards. This will naturally cause your dog to sit on the floor. Once your dog is in 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.


Soldier walking down a wood lined road  with a German Shepherd heeling and walking beside him

When you command your dog to heel, he/she should walk beside you rather than strolling behind or in front. It can be a difficult command to teach, so make sure you have lots of treats and patience.

Tell your dog to sit next to you and give him/her a treat. Then, start moving slowly with treats held out in front. This will encourage your dog to walk right next to you. Repeat the command (“heel”) and give your pup some treats when he/she follows your instructions.


Soldier standing beside a German Shepherd instructing the dog to stay

This command should be taught only after your dog has learned the ‘sit’ command. For training this command, tell your canine companion to sit in a particular spot. Give a treat to encourage your dog.

 Then, slowly start moving away while repeating the word “stay”. If your dog stays in one place, give him/her another treat while repeating “stay”. Keep moving away (few steps) from your dog and include longer stays as the training progresses. Don’t forget to give your dog a treat whenever he/she obeys your command and stays in the spot.


Man in military uniform on the ground outdoors hugging a chocolate Labrador retriever

This is a very important and useful command when your dog runs away from you to chase something. It is reasonably easy to teach this command. However, you will need to put your dog on a leash for training the ‘come’ command.

Lower yourself such that you are at the same level as your dog. Gently pull on the leash to make your dog follow you while repeating the word “come”. Never tug too hard on the leash because it can compromise the training and can also be dangerous. When your dog starts following you, give him/her a treat. Repeat this exercise a few times to strengthen this behavior.


Person in military camouflage uniform holding the leash of a snarling German Shepherd

“Attack” or “Chase” is one of the most common military dog training commands. It is used to overpower and apprehend criminals.

Military dogs are very athletic and can take down a man within a few seconds. Therefore, you must wear protective gloves (and gear) while training your dog to attack a target. Make sure that your pooch is familiar with the sit, stay, stand, and run commands before teaching this instruction.

Expert Security Tips describes a common way of teaching your dog the “attack” command. Wear a thick glove and tap your dog in the face. This will irritate the dog, causing him/her to bite the glove. As soon as your pup bites the glove, repeat the word “attack” in a loud tone. If he/she starts attacking the glove on your command, give him/her treats and lots of verbal praise.


Person in military uniform standing on a road with trees in the background with a German Shepherd laying on the road beside them.

It can be a little tricky to teach this command to your dogs. Dog Trick Academy explains that your dog needs to be in a submissive pose to perform this command. Unfortunately, all dogs are not willing to do so, and some breeds can be extremely stubborn.

To teach your dog this command, hold a treat that smells really good. Hide the treat inside your fist so your dog can smell it but cannot see it. Slowly move your hand down towards the floor while repeating the command (“down”) to your dog. You may have to slide your hand on the ground for your dog to follow it.


Dog jumping hurdles next to a high fence in tall wild flowers

The method to teach your dog to jump is very similar to that of the ‘sit’ command. Take a treat in your hand and make sure your dog can smell it. Slowly raise your hand till it is out of your dog’s reach.

Start by holding the treat two feet above your dog’s head. Repeat the word “jump” several times until your dog leaps for the treat. If your dog is finding it hard to understand what to do, jump a few times in front of him/her while saying “jump”. Once your pup jumps to get the treat, give him/her the treat and appreciate the good work.

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