11 Insanely Useful Weird Dog Commands

Sign up for a dog training class and you’ll teach your dog some basic (and boring) cues:

  • sit
  • stay
  • come

Yeah, they’re helpful. But Honey and I have our own list of instructions. And they’re much more colorful.

A Few Daily Dog Training Cues and What They Mean


Cue What It Means
Wait Stand or sit in that general area until I say it’s ok to move. Especially useful when you’re trying to clean up poop without having your arm torn off.
Out of the Flowers Stop pulling deeper into the neighbor’s front yard and return to the sidewalk.
Beep Beep Beep Back up.
Go to Bed Find the closest dog bed or rug and lie down.
Find the Dad Track down Mike and make him take you outside for a potty break.
By Me Come back and sit beside me.
With Me Walk beside me (a friendlier version of heel).
Dance Out Untangle your feet from your leash.
Get a Toy Pick whatever you’d like to play with out of your toy basket and bring it over to me.
Hop In Get into your bike cart.
Find It There’s food hidden somewhere. Use your nose to track it down and eat it. Also useful for cleaning up the floor after cooking prep.


Honey the Golden Retriever finds something at Ithaca Falls.

“Find it” doesn’t only keep the kitchen floor clean. It also makes sure no hot dogs go missing on the trail at Ithaca Falls.

What’s so great about these cues?

They’re specific. They tell Honey what we need from her in certain situations.

What’s the alternative? Telling Honey “get over here” when I need her to get out of someone’s garden, come sit by my side, and come lick up the peanut butter that fell on the floor.

I’m sure it would work but it wouldn’t help Honey understand me better.

Other Cues You Can Use

Jen at The Elka Almanac keeps a list of all the cues her Doberman has learned.

They are also very specific. Each cue keeps in mind exactly what Jen needs Elka to do for her. And by going beyond sit, stay, or fetch, they’re improving their communication.

We all talk to our dogs differently. Some of us are a little weirder than others. But the best communication between friends is always a little weird, isn’t it?

What are some of the strange cues you use to tell you dog what you need from her?


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  1. Love the last one. Def our favourite. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. “Ahem!” meaning “stop and leave whoever you’re bothering alone” AND “pay attention to Mom.”
    I like Beep, beep, beep – sometimes, I feel like I’m swimming in dogs; this would be most helpful.
    “Drop it – NOW” firmly with kindness and sometimes a frantic follow through.

    Well done and useful cues. “Hop in” is my fav – confirms all the work you and Honey have done for her to just hop in that cart :).

  3. “What do gentlemen do?” I stumbled upon it a couple of weeks ago when Dakota was having a barking fit wanting a bone.

    I never thought he would understand a complete sentence when I used it. In frustration I said “What do gentlemen do?” He promptly SAT. I have used it since to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and he sits EVERY time. My husband calls him a “gentleman” when he takes him to the bathroom but never uses it for sitting.
    I must try and get it on video.

  4. Hah, “beep beep beep” for back up is hilariously awesome! “Dance out” is also awesome; I typically stop and say “Paw”, and Elka will do it. I hadn’t thought of another rad cue to name it! If you think about it, a lot of communication between friends is in-jokes, which you’re never more aware of as when speaking to a new friend in the group, or the entirely “Uninitiated”. Talking to our dogs is similar, I’d say.

    Also, thanks for the link! ^^

  5. Love those! I especially liked “dance out”. Our unusual ones: for Kobi, “back around” when he wraps his leash around a tree. He will come back around the same way he went, and untangle himself. For Cricket “find your ball”, and she will search one out in the yard and bring it for throwing.

  6. I love your list and use a few of those myself. I use “Inside” which means for Titan to go to the door to go back inside the house; “Walk With” love that one; “Nite Nite” time for bed in the bedroom in his bed; “Down” to lie down and wait for his treat. The others are pretty standard. Fab list!

  7. Most of our practical cues are pretty dull, sadly. I’ve thought about changing them to make them more fun but it seems like too much work. Maybe for my next dog I will be more inventive? I do like the idea of keeping a list, though. It might help remind me of some of the ones we no longer use all that much.

    Heh, I like how your “find the Dad” is so polite. My cue for a similar thing is just “go get him!” and essentially it gives Shiva permission to leap on my husband. It’s one of my favourites. :-)

  8. Please make a video of “dance out” being performed. I’d love to see that in action.

  9. I use beep beep to get them out of my way. I think it sounds nicer than MOVE. :-) Otherwise, I usually just talk to my dogs like I’d talk to anyone else. Sampson mostly understands it too.

    Delilah? I think she speaks french. She is originally from Louisiana you know. 😉

  10. I snap my fingers all the time. It means that whatever command I just gave you that you ignored, well, I was serious so do it now. It helps keep me from repeating the same command and training them to ignore me the first time (yes, I’m looking at you, Hurley Badger!).

    I also love “out” as it specifically relates to a certain boy getting his bum out of my way in the kitchen. :)

  11. Ha ha. I use “Find it!” for games and for hunting mice. I use “go to bed!” for ” Shut up that whining at 2 in the morning when you’ve already been out twice”. I use “Get your toy!” for tug of war. Upcoming posts I wrote a while back on “The sit stay” and Wiener games”. I like your thinking here!

  12. Oh yeah, I forgot ” Out” and “Home!”. That gets them to stop barking at the truck meandering by and also herds them into the house. Strangely, if I say “It’s Dad” they bark all the louder. Only one of my dogs knows “drop it” but I bet the others would pick it up quick if I tried.

  13. One of the weirdest ones is that I tell Toby “Ten minutes” when he tries to wake me before I’m ready to get up out of bed….and he actually goes and lays back down for a bit. Not actually ten minutes of course, but it is pretty cool…

    Plus, he seems to have taught it to himself. He’s my furry yellow snooze button! :-)

  14. There are so many great ones here. From Beep! Beep! Beep! to “Ten minutes” I’m laughing so hard!

    I tell Bogie to “show me the ball” when he puts the food ball somewhere where he can’t get at it. “Where’s Ken? Go get Ken.” Sends him right after Ken which is handy when I need extra hands to help out with something. We’ve been working on “Where’s Frosty?” for him to go get his new toy–but he isn’t interested except when he’s interested. “Do you want your teeth brushed?” gets him up on the sofa–however reluctantly. Oh, yeah, and his most spectacular regular trick is “dance,dance,dance” for standing on his hind legs and prancing in a circle–so unfortunately I can’t use it to get him untangled from the leash.

  15. Hmmm, trying to think-

    Get in the other room- means get out of the kitchen and wait in the dining room.
    Hurry, hurry- means go potty

    I had a hand signal I used to use with my Border Collie mix, Geo, after a bath. I held my hand in front of him palm facing him and waved it back and forth (like I was waving Hi) and told him to “spin out” to get him to shake the water out of his coat. It helped keep me from getting too wet.

  16. “Beep beep beep” Genius. I say “back up”.

    I feel a post coming 😉

  17. We have about half of your cues on our list. One of the first things I taught Silas, quite by accident, was to take his toys to my husband on cue. Oops.

    Silas knows “On the Path!” because we do a lot of our walking at a nature area where you aren’t supposed to get off the walkways.

    He also learned “Let me fix your leash” and “Let me unclip your leash.” I didn’t realize he was picking up on them; it was just something I said. (This is a theme of our most useful cues.) I suspect it’s the “leash” that he actually knows, but he’ll stop moving and wait for me to do what I need to do.

  18. These are great! When Cali is bugging me for breakfast or dinner, I tell her to “go tell daddy” and she runs to find him. We tell her to “put on her necklace” when we put her collar on and to “load up” when she gets in the car. We tell her to “hurry up” to go potty (and “go finish” when she thinks she should come in after only doing #1). I’m always amazed by the number of commands that they totally understand :) Our favorite is when my hubby is in the kitchen cooking and he says “oops!” . . Cali comes running to clean up whatever he dropped!!

  19. LOL! I love these and some of the other creative ones from commenters. Maya & Pierson know a few of them. Plus “oops” for just like what Julie mentioned in the comment above, “Get your nosy out of there”, “hold still” for when I need to cut their nails, “bed time” for get in the crate, “toofy time” for when it is time to brush teeth (Pierson actually likes toofy time), and “hush” for when Pierson barks, because he barks at everything. This last command doesn’t actually work. 😉

  20. It is amazing the commands a pup will pick up, even without being deliberately taught. Hand signals too. All I have to do is put on my red coat and Y knows it’s time for a walk. Contrariwise, when I put on my black coat–both are long and shiny and from Land’s End–and he knows he’s not going with me. Way cool. Happy Saturday…P.S. I’m all for prisoners rehabbing pups–I think it works both ways!

  21. Dakota the Corgi knows a few, as long as they benefit her, usually food related. “Wait” is a good one and she “waits” after I fill her food bowl till I say “OK” and she eats. “Nighty Night” and she runs to her crate, knowing she will get a treat. She also “waits” at the door or gate before we go out. “All Gone” is when I’m eating and there’s nothing for her. Then she goes to my husband hoping for someting to….you guessed it, eat. She looks hopeful when I’m ready to go out, but if I say “Dakota, you’re going to stay home” she just goes and lies down. My old corgis (both RIP 2011) knew lots of words phrases and Rosie even knew the name of each of her toys. I’m very conversational with my dogs.

  22. CarolG. says:

    “Mine” . If something is “MINE” I expect the dogs to not touch it. I understand at times I may need to repeat myself. I caused great amusement in my friends when they were visiting and one of my dogs was bothering both the toddler (‘diapers smell Great!) and the mom with her newborn. I hugged the individuals, said “mine” very firmly and the dogs got the message. On the other hand, the humans all laughed.

  23. We use “wait” which means I have to slow down and stop and wait for my peep to catch up. We also use “be nice” which means I have to be on my best behavior and walk or if in a cafe, to sit and be quiet.


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