Dog Commands In German: How To Train A German Canine

  • Stephanie Ford
    Written byStephanie Ford
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Dog Commands In German: How To Train A German Canine

Why not teach your dog some German? 🇩🇪

While slightly more difficult for humans, German is easy for dogs to learn, and surprisingly, many dogs already know some German (more on that later).

Are you a resident of a German-speaking country or bought a dog from a previous German owner?

Perhaps you have a German friend has a Hund (“dog”) and you want to be able to communicate with it? Or maybe you want to teach your own dog German, just for a bit of fun?

This guide will cover everything you need to know about German dog commands.

Basic dog commands in German 🐕

Let’s start by covering the basic dog commands in German.

These will be your classic “sit”, “stay”, and the like.

Most of these translations are direct, so even if you don’t know the word or can’t remember a certain instruction, just hazard a guess.

Chances are, you’ll be right and the dog will respond to you.

These commands are written and spoken in the imperative - the instruction-giving tense. You’ll see that forming commands in this way is easy.

Simply take the infinitive of the verb and remove the -en (well, this is the regular, nice way of doing it).

Some verbs will have irregular forms, so watch out for shifting vowels and such.

You can combine these commands with prepositions if you want to specify where you want your dog to go.

One or two-word commands are the most effective, though, as this gets your message across quickly to your dog.

English German
Sit Sitz
Stay Bleib
Come (here) Komm (hier)
Good dog Braver Hund
Bad dog Pfui
Heel Fuß
Down Platz
Give Gib
Shake hands Gib Fuß

Using Platz

One of the most important commands to teach your dog in German is Platz (“down”).

It’s a simple command that can train your dog’s patience and obedience.

The term Platz in German can also mean “space” or “spot”, so it’s a command used when you want your dog to head over to its bed, cage, or spot on the sofa.

When training your Hund or Welpe (“puppy”), it’s a good idea to lure them to their bed with their favorite treat. Once they’re there, you can repeat Platz to make them lie down. The treat will help your dog draw positive associations to the command, making them more likely to obey.

This positivity is also reinforced if your dog has a comfortable space to call their own.

Once you’ve done this a number of times, your dog might start to understand the command.

After a while, it will be easy to get them to lie down on their bed.

Advanced dog commands in German

Most dog-owners only teach their pets a few simple commands because, well, that’s all you really need.

But dogs can learn so many more words than the usual 10 or so that owners normally teach.

In fact, the average dog can learn around 150 words, with more intelligent dogs boasting a vocabulary of up to 250 words.

This means that there is so much more that you can teach a dog, and so much more the dog is willing to learn.

The following dog commands are less commonly used instructions, but may still be worth teaching to your dog. Or maybe your friend or relative is particularly enthusiastic about training their German dog, and you want to join in when you visit?

Either way, check out some more advanced German dog commands below.

English German
Fetch Bring / Hol
Speak Gib laut
Stand up Steh (auf)
Eat food Nimm Futter
Take it Nimm
Roll over Dreh um

Police dog commands in German

Many police dogs in English-speaking countries, particularly in the UK, speak German.

This is largely because many police dogs are German Shepherds, with many being imported directly from Germany. As such, they learn German from birth and as a puppy.

This means a lot of foreign policemen have to learn the German commands for their police dogs.

Below is a list of specialised police dog commands in German.

You’ll probably have a lot less use for them than the ones above, but they’re interesting to know nonetheless.

English German
track such
guard pass auf
bite packen / fass
jump hopp
go ahead geh raus
go inside geh rein
find narcotics such Rauschgift
good so ist Brav
fast schnell
slow langsam

Popularity of German for dogs

Outside of German-speaking countries, the German language is fairly common for dog owners to use with their pets.

In fact, it seems to be the most popular foreign language to teach a dog. This is largely due to the extensive police dog training programs in Germany during the early twentieth century, but also the sheer amount of dogs exported from German-speaking countries (like the German Shepherd, for one).

This means you can’t go wrong with a bit of German for your dog.

Too many different languages can confuse them, of course, but it’s not uncommon for dogs to know multiple commands in various languages at once. And German is certainly a popular choice for that.

German dog vocab

It’s worth taking a moment to go over a few more common words related to dogs in German.

This will help cement your knowledge on the subject and will be important in conversations involving dogs. Some of these are nouns to help build your pool of vocab, so remember to learn the genders with each one.

With the verbs, pay attention to any irregular ones. Conjugations can be quite tricky in German, but catching those pesky irregulars early can make all the difference.

English German
puppy der Welpe
lead die Hundeleine
collar die Halskette
to walk the dog den Hund ausführen (more formal)
mit dem Hund Gassi gehen (colloquial)
to bark bellen
to howl heulen
tail der Schwanz
paw die Pfote
to growl knurren

Why not teach your dog German?

Now that you’ve learned some dog commands in German, how better to practice them than with your own canine?

Dogs will happily pick up multiple foreign languages, so with a little training and some of their favorite treats, they’re sure to learn German in no time. Short, one-word instructions like the ones above are ideal for training your dog.

You’re now perfectly equipped for training dogs in German.

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek
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