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French Dog Commands – Teaching Your Dog French Commands!

Whether you want to show off to your family or to spice up your dog’s training, French dog commands will do the trick. Using French and other foreign language commands have become increasingly popular in dog training. At this point, you’re probably wondering how do I train my dog in French?

Training French dog commands to a dog is the same as training English commands. Use reward-based training when teaching French commands. Use the French word “assis” to command your dog to sit, and give treats when the dog obeys. Continue the training until your dog learns to sit when you say “assis”.

Training dog commands in French is a great way to mentally stimulate and challenge your dog. This can also be a great opportunity for you to learn another language or to brush up on your French. 

Why Is It Important to Teach Dogs Basic French Commands?

For many years, the working dog community has been using foreign languages to train their dogs. The majority of working dogs in the US come from other countries, so it’s only natural to train them in their home languages.

Some languages, such as German and French, are commonly used in dog training due to their distinct tones. 

Another advantage of teaching your dog commands in French is that they are rarely used in everyday conversations. This means that your dog will be more focused during training and more likely to obey commands. 

Why French Commands?

There are many reasons why you would like to train your dog in French. If your dog has been imported from France, using its home language for training will ease the transition. 

Training your dog in French is a great way to prevent anyone else from issuing commands without your permission. For example, you may teach your dog the French command “abois” to bark, but use English for all other basic commands.

French is one of several languages that are commonly used for training due to its distinct tones and pronunciation. 

Though French dog commands are easier than Russian dog commands you’ll still need to practice saying them out loud. Practicing your pronunciation will help you issue commands clearly so your dog can understand what it needs to do. 

What Are the Primary French Dog Commands? 

What Are the Primary French Dog Commands

Whether you decide to use English, German, or French commands, start training your puppy as soon as you bring it home. Obedience training is important for all dogs, especially high-energy, working breeds that need a lot of exercises and mental stimulation.

Use a lot of tasty treats and praise to keep your puppy interested in learning French commands. If you and your dog are ready, here is a list of basic French dog commands you can start learning.

1. Sit – Assis

The command “sit” is one of the first things most puppies learn. The French word for sit is “assis” which is pronounced “ah-see”. 

When training your dog to sit, hold a treat over its nose and slowly move the treat behind its head towards the back. When your dog sits, issue the “assis” command and reward your dog with a treat.

2. Down – Couche

To get your dog to lie down on its belly, use the French word “couche”. This command is pronounced “coo-shay”. Lie down or down is another basic command all dogs should learn, sooner rather than later.

3. Stand – Debut

After training your dog to lie down in French, start teaching it the “stand up” command. To get your dog to stand up when lying down use the French command “debut” which is pronounced “duh-boo”.

4. Come Here – Vien Ici

If you want to command your dog to come here in French, say “vien ici”. This command is pronounced “vee-en ee-see”.

Learning to come when called is one of the most important things your dog can learn. Training a reliable recall can be difficult, so arm yourself with patience and lots of dog treats (source). 

5. Heel – Au Pied

The command heel means that your dog must walk right next to you, instead of going in front of you or behind you. The French word for this command is “au pied” which is pronounced “oh-pee-ay”.

6. Wait – Reste

The wait command is often used in French ring sport, instructing the dog to wait for further commands. To issue this command in French say “reste” which is pronounced “rest” with a slight emphasis on the letter T.

7. Stay – Pas Bouger

In some ways, the “stay” command is similar to the “wait” command. The biggest difference, however, is that the “stay” command instructs the dog to be completely still until released by its owner. 

On the other hand, the “wait” command signals a momentary pause and instructs the dog that an additional command will follow suit. 

The French word for stay is “pas bouger” and is pronounced “pah boo-jay”.

8. Bark – Abois 

Training a dog to bark on command might seem like a waste of time. But, once your dog learns this command, it will be much easier for you to train your pooch to stop barking on cue.

To command your dog to bark in French use the word “abois”, which is pronounced “ah-bhaw”.

9. Attack – Attaque

Use the French command “attaque”, pronounced the same as in English to train your dog to bite, or attack on command.

10. Give – Donne

If you want to play fetch with your dog or train it to retrieve toys or other items, you’ll need to teach it the command “give”. Use the French word “donne”, pronounced “done” to train your pooch to release and give toys on cue. 

Benefits of Teaching Dog French Commands

Whether your dog was born in France or not, you can still use French dog commands for training. 

A recent study discovered that dogs can detect speech and distinguish languages without any prior training (source). Interestingly, it turns out that older and long-snouted dogs have a better understanding of the differences between languages.

Working dogs such as, search and rescue dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs have been trained in foreign languages for years. This type of training has numerous benefits for the owner and the dog, including:

  • French dog commands are rarely used in everyday speech. Training your dog in French is less confusing for the dog as it can’t mistake your conversational interactions with other people as a command for a specific task
  • Training your dog in French can be a great way to start over. This way you can teach your dog a new command without old associations interfering in the process
  • Some languages such as German and French are commonly used in dog training due to the distinctive tone used for pronunciation 
  • Learning commands in a new language can be an exciting experience for both you and your dog. Training your dog in French will provide mental stimulation and deepen your bond

Disadvantages of Teaching Dogs French Commands

The biggest disadvantage of training your dog in French, or any other foreign language, is that not everyone knows French. 

If your dog only knows French dog commands, it can be impossible for your friends, family, or anyone other than you to issue commands to your dog.

While this might not seem like a big deal now, there might come a time when you’ll need to leave your pooch with a pet sitter or in doggy daycare. It can be extremely hard, or downright impossible for people to look after or control your pooch if they don’t know French. 

The best way to avoid this problem is to teach your closest friend and family basic obedience commands in French. 

Can Dogs Learn Both English and French Commands?

Dogs can learn both English and French commands. In fact, since dogs can distinguish languages you can train your pooch in any language you see fit.

If you decide to train your dog in French, consider teaching them basic commands such as sit, stay, come, no, and down in English too.

While teaching your dog commands in both French and English may require more time and effort on your part, it’s well worth it. This way you can leave your dog with a dog sitter or board them in a kennel without worrying whether or not the staff knows French. 


The working dog community has been training dogs using French dog commands for many years. There are many benefits of training your dog French commands.

For starters, French words aren’t frequently used in everyday interactions which can be confusing for your dog. 

Training your dog in French is also a great way to prevent anyone else from giving orders to your dog without your permission. If you decide to use French dog commands, make sure you’re pronouncing them correctly before the training lessons begin. 


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