Different German Dog Commands

Why do dogs put their ears back
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Written by Rob Amend

Published: December 20, 2022

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Dogs are wonderful companions, and they are typically eager to please. So what’s a dog to do when you teach it to “stay” and then use “stay” in a conversation multiple times with your parents? Were you talking to your dog? Should they stay? A good solution is to use German dog commands!

An easy way to avoid this problem is to use a different language for your dog’s training. Since much dog training is done in German, it is an ideal language to use for your dog, though any different language will do.

Why the German Language?

Why do dogs put their ears back

German Shepherds are smart, loyal, affectionate dogs with a strong protective streak.

©Schelmanova Natalia/Shutterstock.com

Some law enforcement agencies use German breeds like German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, which are trained overseas, often in German, and imported. It is easier to learn German commands than to retrain the dog. It also contrasts nicely with daily conversation in many other languages, including English.

German Pre-Eminence in Dog Training

German is the most popular language for dog training, possibly due to Germany’s history of training dogs for military and law enforcement since the early 1900s. Many of these projects were successful, and German is still used in many training programs.

7 Essential Commands

  • Come (Hier, pronounced “hee-r”): this is one of the essential commands for your dog. Your ability to recall your dog on command greatly benefits your dog’s and others’ safety. This one is easy for English speakers because “hier” sounds like “here.”
  • Sit (Sitz, pronounced “zitz” or “zit-zen”): getting your dog to sit at attention is a good starting point for other commands. All English speakers need to do is add a “z” to “sit” to get this right!
  • Stay (Bleib, pronounced “blibe”): when you want your dog to stay in one place.
  • Down (Platz, pronounced “plah-tz”): sometimes, you want your dog to settle in for a long time yet be comfortable. This command can be followed by “Bleib” to settle in with your dog for a quiet, companionable moment.
  • Drop it (Aus, pronounced “ous”): sometimes, your dog gets ahold of something that you don’t want it to, whether because it’s harmful to your pup or endangering property. A brisk “Aus!” is an excellent way to get their attention.
  • Heel (Fuss, pronounced “foos”): train your dog with this command to keep your dog at your side and within your control. This command is worth teaching if you want to show your dog in a competition.
  • No (Nein, pronounced “nine”): sometimes you want your dog to stop whatever it is doing, and “no” is a wonderfully adaptable command to get that done.

Police and Military Commands

There is a long list of commands used by police and military units. Since many dogs used for such purposes are bred and trained in Germany, a list of German commands is helpful for those working with these dogs.

EnglishGerman (Pronunciation)
JumpHopp (hup)
FetchBring (bring)
Go OutVoraus (for-owss)
Guard AlertPass Auf (pass-owf)
SearchVoran (for-on)
TrackSuch (soo-kh)
Out/Let GoAus (owss)
GrowlBrummen (bromen)
WatchAchtung (ahktoong)
WaitWarten (varten)
Settle (calm down)Beruhigen (berhu-igen)
Back-upZurückweichen (zuruk-vaishen)
Still (quiet)Ruhig (rui)
CrawlKriechen (kirchen)
TargetZielen auf (zeelen auf)
LeftLinks (lins)
RightRechts (reg-ts)
Jump or UpHopp (hup)
TrackSuch (soo-kh)
Go aheadGeh raus (gay rouss)
Go insideGeh rein (gay rine)
What is going onWas ist los? (vas ist low-s)
Good (praise)So ist brav (zo ist bra-v)
OKIn Ordnung
FastSchnell (sch-nell)
SlowLangsam (laung-sum)
Narcotics/dopeRauschgift (roussh-gift)
Find narcoticsSuch rauschgift (zook roussh-gift)
Building/blind searchVoran (for-ahn)
Eat foodNimm futter 
Helper stand stillSteht noch (shtayt nock)
Article searchSuch verloren (zook ferloren)

Additional Commands

Apart from the essential commands all dogs should know and those intended for a working dog, here is a list of commands that you may find useful for certain breeds or situations or just a lot of fun:

EnglishGerman (Pronunciation)
HowlHeulen (hoilen)
SpeakGib laut (gib-lout)
Take-itNimm (nimbi)
Leave-itLass es
KennelZwinger (zuingr)
Go to SleepGeh Schlafen (ge shlaafn)
Go to BedGeh ins bett
Shake (Paw)Pfote (fote)
TouchBerühren (begrurhen)
Roll OverUmdrehen (umdre-en)
Belly/ Dead (Play dead)Bauch (bauj) / Tot (to-ot)
ShakeGib fünf

The Final Word

When all is said and done, and your dog has performed admirably (as we know it will), nothing is better than to finish up with a hearty “Braver Hund” or “good dog!”

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About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

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