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100 Words Dogs Understand + How To Teach Your Dog (2023)

100 Words Dog Understand

When trained, dogs can learn a hundred words or more.

So if you and your Fido are up for it…

Let’s get started. 🙂 

Do they already recognize some terms?

And what more would you like to teach them?

Keep reading to discover:

  • 100 words that dogs understand.
  • Words that dogs understand the most.
  • 13 proven tips on how to teach your dog 100 words.
  • And much more…

Table of contents

100 words dogs understand (words you can teach to your dog)

#1: Sit

#2: Come

#3: Down

#4: Stay

#5: Wait

#6: Leave (it)

#7: Release

#8: Drop (it)

#9: Stop

#10: Watch

#11: Look

#12: Off

#13: Shake (paws)

#14: Paw

#15: Roll (over)

#16: Go (to)

#17: Sleep

#18: Settle

#19: Bed

#20: Couch 

#21: Car

#22: Leash 

#23: Lap

#24: Belly

#25: Rub

#26: Heel

#27: Spin

#28: Okay

#29: Yes

#30: No

#31: Today

#32: Later

#33: Now

#34: Get

#35: Take (it)

#36: Catch

#37: Fetch

#38: Grab

#39: Bring (it)

#40: Chase

#41: Play

#42: Tug

#43: Toy

#44: Ball

#45: Cat

#46: Friend

#47 – #48: Good girl/boy

#49: Bad

#50: Speak

#51: Bark

#52: Hush

#53: Quiet

#54: Beg

#55: Sad

#56: Mad

#57: Want

#58: More

#59: Help

#60 – #62: Time to eat

#63: Treat

#64: Water

#65: Food

#66: Rubs

#67: Cuddle

#68: Sound

#69: Where

#70: Home

#71: Kennel

#72: Count

#73: Bow

#74: Eliminate

#75: Poop/Potty

#76: Leap

#77: Jump

#78 – #81: Let’s go for (a) walk

#82: Park

#83: Outside

#84: Inside

#85: Run

#86: Lights

#87: Hi

#88: Hello

#89: I’m

#90: Their name

#91: Mom

#92: Dad

#93: Parent’s name 

#94: Family member or friend’s name

#95: Their friend’s or other pet’s name

#96: Stranger

#97: Bye

#98 – #100: I love you

Trivia: Did you know that saying “I love you” can make your Fido’s heart skip? Based on a study, dogs’ heart rates shoot up by 46.2% upon hearing those 3 words.

What words do dogs understand the most?

The words that dogs understand the most are basic commands. Like “sit,” “come,” and “down.” This is because dogs remember short words with 1 to 2 syllables well. And also, they recognize terms and phrases they often hear. Such as their parents or other pets’ names and praises like “good girl/boy.”

Trivia: On average, experts found that dogs know at least 85 words. And 90% of Fidos in the study responded most to these 10 terms:

  • “Sit.”
  • “No.”
  • “Stay.”
  • “Wait.”
  • “Okay.”
  • “Come.”
  • “Down.”
  • “Leave it.”
  • “Good girl.”
  • “Good boy.”

Check out also: How Many Words Can A Dog Learn? 7 Surprising Facts

How do I teach my dog 100 words? 13 proven tips

#1: Pick a quiet and enclosed room

Dogs are easily distracted.

So for your Fido to learn the words better, choose a safe, enclosed area where you can train them. Say a room in your house or living area.

Ensure it’s free from outside noises and other people or pets. 

Then make it their ‘training room’ from then on.

Note: Move to a different place as you continue with the training. For example, teach your Fido in an area with more distractions, like your backyard. Do this only after they manage to stay focused in the enclosed environment. Then build it on from there in the new place.

Load Yourself With Treats While You Teach Your Dog 100 Words

#2: Load yourself with treats

Next, you can’t go into a battle without a weapon.

“What do you mean?”

Although you can train dogs without luring them much with food…

Offering your Fido some yummy snacks will make them focus better.

Most dogs go crazy about the treats’ scent and taste. So they’ll be eager to get it from you.

Also, by rewarding your pooch, you’re reinforcing the behavior you want. Which is, in this case, remembering the words you teach them.

What to do?

Make sure the treats are your dog’s favorite. Or something they don’t get to eat every day.

For example, boiled chicken bites. This was introduced to me by a dog trainer recognized in our area. My dog, Lissa, went bananas about these! 

But remember…

Only give them to your Fido during training to make the treats ‘special.’

Do this so your dog will be more eager to get the snacks and obey you.

Then, slowly cut down on treats as your Fido masters the word.

#3: Start easy

You might panic when you look at the ‘100 words that dogs understand’ list.

And you may think…

“Where should I start?

What words must I teach first?”

And I understand these thoughts.

It’s a lot of words for your Fido to take in.

So, start with the easiest words or basic commands first. 

Some examples of these are:

  • “Sit.”
  • “Ball.”
  • “Stay.”
  • “Come.”
  • “Down.”
  • “Water.”

“How will this help?”

By starting easy, you’ll build your Fido’s confidence.

And this can motivate them to learn more words in the future.

#4: Get your Fido’s attention

Now, do you have your dog’s fave treats by your side?

And have you decided which words to teach them yet?

If so, you can start with the training.

But to teach your Fido something, you must grab their attention first.


Hold a treat in your hand.

Then let your Fido see and smell it. But don’t give it to them yet.

Make your dog curious about the treats you’re holding. So they’ll be more attentive as you teach them.

And wait until your dog comes to you.

Then as soon as they stop and glance at you, do the next step.

#5: Say or demonstrate the word

Introduce the term to your dog as you would to a 2-year-old toddler.

Remember, dogs like it when people converse with them in baby talk.

So speak in your gentlest and sweetest voice.

And then, say the word once your dog pays attention to you or the object you want to teach them.

Here’s an example.

If you’re teaching the word “ball” to your Fido…

  1. Show the toy to them.
  2. Once your dog looks at it, say “ball” like you’re talking to a child. 
  3. Give your Fido a treat as a reward.

Doing this will help them associate the word with the object.

“What if it’s a command?”

Show your dog how it’s done.

Let’s say you want your Fido to learn the word “sit.”

You can gently nudge your dog to make their bum touch the floor. Then say “sit” and offer your Fido snacks.

But you may also do it this way:

  1. Put a treat in your hand.
  2. Raise your hand above your Fido’s head.
  3. Hold still until your dog looks at it and their butt’s on the ground.
  4. Say “sit.”
  5. Reward your dog.

Note: Timing’s critical here. For your dog to make the correct association, say the word as soon as they pay attention or do the command. And then reward them right away.

#6: Tell the command only once at a time

If your pooch didn’t respond well to what you said…

Avoid repeating the word many times if it’s a command.

“But why?

Isn’t it more effective if I repeat it?”

If you say the same word in a row, your Fido may get used to obeying it after the 2nd or 3rd time.

And that’s what you want to avoid.

So when it comes to commands, you must be firm and say the words only once.

#7: Shower your Fido with praises

Well, is there a pooch who doesn’t want to be called a “good girl/boy!”?

Of course, none.

Our Fidos usually love praises as much as they like treats.

But researchers found this mind-blowing fact.

Dogs choose praises from their parents over treats

Experts say it’s because Fidos enjoy human contact.

By getting praises, dogs won’t only hear good words. But they’ll also receive rubs from their humans.

So aside from treats, also say nice words to your dog when they remember a word.

Then pair it with ear or head scratches.

#8: Change things a bit

For instance, you’re teaching your dog the word “ball.”

And you always hold it in your hand every session.

Next time, try placing the ball on the floor. Or throw it on the ground.

Then point to it and say “ball” to help your Fido connect the word to the toy.

Do this to see if your dog still knows the object. Even if it’s in a different place or position.

#9: Distract your Fido

Earlier, I said you should avoid distractions to improve your dog’s focus.

But now that your Fido’s in the middle of training…

It’s best to challenge them and test their memory.

How to do it?

Introduce a new object or person

For example, if your dog’s learning a thing’s name, get a toy or another object to divert their attention.

And while they’re busy with it, look at them. 

Try to get your Fido’s attention back. Then say the magic word.

If your dog looked at the correct object or person, reward them at once.

Note: You may ask other familiar people to join if you’re teaching a person’s name. By doing this, you’ll see if your dog recognizes the person when others are around.

You might also like: Do Dogs Know Their Owners’ Names? (How To Find Out)

#10: Introduce ‘dog buttons’

Have you seen the ‘talking’ dog named ‘Stella’?

She can’t speak our language physically.

But Stella knows a lot of human words. And she can even hold a conversation with her parents.

As well as relay the things she wants or feels at the moment.

Not convinced yet? 

Watch this short clip:

“How can I teach my dog to use them?”

  1. First, purchase a few dog buttons.
  2. Start with 3 to 4 simple words first. Say “water,” “food,” and “outside.”
  3. Record audio for each word. Say it as you usually would.
  4. Place every button near the objects related to it. Like this:
  • “Outside” button – near the main door.
  • “Water” button – besides the water bowl.
  • “Food” button – near the food bowl or treat drawer.

What to do?

At the start, push the buttons whenever your dog asks for the words.

In this case, those are water, food, or going outside.

It’ll help your Fido link the terms. And they’ll also learn to push the right button when they need something.

Reading tip: 5 Real Reasons Why Dogs Can’t Talk Like Humans

#11: Keep training short

Dogs have a short attention span.

So avoid teaching your Fido longer than 20 minutes.

Do it for only 10 to 15 minutes a day per session. And repeat it twice or thrice daily.

#12: Use the words contextually

Let’s use “ball” as an example again.

If you’re teaching your dog the word that corresponds to it, also say these while training:

  • “Get your ball!”
  • “Don’t chew on your ball.”
  • “Do you want to play with your ball?”

“Why should I say longer phrases to my dog?”

Your dog may not know every human word yet.

But by doing this, you’ll help them learn what a “ball” is in other possible situations.

Let me give you an example.

I’ve taught my dog, Lissa, the word “toy”.

Now, this is basic and applies to pretty much any toy in the room. 

So, if Lissa sees a few of these, she has the ability to choose her favorite one. Or the one she’d like to play with at this moment. 

That’s cool and all, but let me share with you how I request the toy.

I might say any of the following, which she understands perfectly:

  • “Lissa, the toy!” 
  • “Lissa, where’s the toy?” 
  • “The toy, Lissa! Give me the toy!” 

Also, your dog will pick up these basic phrases naturally.

So don’t limit yourself when talking to your pooch. 

As long as the words you use are basic, you won’t confuse your Fido.

#13: Be mindful of your tone

Dogs pay more attention to how we say a word.

And not to its phonetics or spelling.

So use the right tone when saying words or phrases in front of your dog.

For example, if it’s a question, raise your tone. Do it, especially at the end of the phrase.

But if it’s a statement, speak it as you usually would.

Note: Every dog has their own pace. Some Fidos learn several words faster than others. So with consistency, you’ll begin to notice results.