How to Train Your Dog the “off” Command

Dogs are smart, and will eventually learn to associate new commands with behaviors and rewards. No matter what kind of dog you have, the off command is one that should be mastered as early on in the training process as possible.

There’s no real reason why you would require your dog to stay off all surfaces at all times, but there are many instances where it is important to train your dog not to jump up—on family members or guests especially. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a perfectly trained dog that never jumps on anyone ever again; if your dog occasionally jumps on people, this might be a sign of happiness rather than aggression or dominance.

Make sure your dog knows how to sit first.

Making sure your dog knows how to sit is a crucial first step. If you don’t have this down, it’s going to be impossible for you to train them the “off” command. For example:

  • If they don’t know how to sit, they will not even know what it means when you say “off.” Even if they do understand what you want, they won’t know how to respond.
  • Your dog won’t be able to keep themselves from jumping on people or objects when they are trying out the new behavior. Jumping up is a natural reaction and instinct for dogs, so it might take some time before they can learn not do that anymore—and in some cases longer than others depending on the breed and type of dog! But with lots of patience and practice from both parties involved (you & your pet), eventually everyone wins!

Gather the treats and clicker.

Gather the treats and clicker. The first step is to get your dog’s attention by using the clicker. Some dogs respond well to a whistle or other loud noise, so try that if you want to avoid using the clicker. You’ll want to keep your dog focused on what you’re doing during this process so make sure he is near enough that he can see you and hear what you are saying at all times during this process.

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Find a safe, quiet place to do the training.

Before you begin training your dog, it’s important to find a quiet, distraction-free place where you can work. If possible, find a location that is comfortable for both of you and near enough to your home that you can go back and forth easily if necessary.

Find a safe place where there are no distractions like other dogs or people running around. This will help keep your dog focused on learning the off command instead of being distracted by other sights or sounds nearby.

Get your dog to sit down.

The next step is to get your dog to sit down. There are various ways you can do this. If your dog does not automatically sit when you ask it to, the first thing you should do is give the command “sit.” It may take several repetitions before he understands what you want him to do. Once he has sat down, give him a treat or use a clicker as a reward for doing so correctly.

If your dog automatically sits when given this command and he is doing so without being told twice or three times (or more), then working on getting him into a standing position would be beneficial at this point in time. However if this isn’t happening yet, then we’ll move onto other things first rather than worrying about standing up right away which could cause confusion later on when trying out different commands such as “off.”

Hold a treat in one hand so your dog can see it and position your other hand facing upward with the palm open. This will be the target position for your dog to jump up on.

The key to this command is that you must get your dog’s attention before beginning. If he or she can’t focus on you, then they will not be able to follow through with the command.

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Before starting the training session, make sure your dog is calm and ready to learn. He or she should be focused on you and in a quiet location where there are no distractions like children running around or other dogs barking in the distance. This will help keep their attention during training sessions as well as making it easier for them to learn commands later on!

Say “off” when you see your dog moving toward your target hand, then reward with a treat or a click from the clicker.

Say “off” when you see your dog moving toward your target hand, then reward with a treat or a click from the clicker. When the dog is successful, give praise. When the dog is unsuccessful, try again. Reward the dog for staying on target and rewarding him for moving off target by running away from you.

Keep repeating and rewarding until it feels like your dog is holding the off-target pose naturally.

When you dog is in the off-target pose, click and reward. This will help to reinforce the behavior so that your dog can hold it longer next time. If you want to speed things up, you could also give a treat or two to encourage him/her to stay in place while they are on their own and not relying on further instructions from you as much. Your goal here is for your dog to be able to hold this position without any reminders from you!

After practicing this exercise a few times, keep repeating until it feels like your dog’s holding the pose naturally even though he isn’t getting rewarded each time with either treats or clicks anymore (think of how long someone can stand still when there’s no cash prize).

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Dogs are smart, and will eventually learn to associate new commands with behaviors and rewards

Dogs are smart. It’s been proven by science and thousands of years of dog-ownership. Your pup will eventually learn to associate new commands with behaviors and rewards, especially if you use food as a reward for good behavior.

Food is one of the most powerful motivators in dogs’ lives, so it makes sense that they would react well when rewards are used in training sessions. If your dog is performing the action you want him to perform (like sitting on command), give him some kibble or an extra treat as an incentive for doing what he just did right. This can help you get a better response out of your pup when training him!


While training any dog takes time, if you’re patient with your pup and work on it every day, then you’ll soon be able to master this simple trick. Just remember that if your dog doesn’t get the hang of it right away, there’s no need to get upset—the process can take a while!