Commands I'll be teaching

What no one tells you is that after you've thoroughly trained a dog, and they know your commands and even respond to them in the right ways, you can pretty much throw most of them out the window. I can't remember the last time I issued a command to my dearly departed darling. Sometimes I asked her to do things, such as put her paws up, to facilitate what I was trying to do (e.g. get her into the car). But basically, by the time Chummy was grown up she mostly did what she liked, and I spent almost no time ordering her or forbidding her to do things. I just talked to her as if she was human, and most of the time that was good enough.

There are, in my recollection, six key command words: SIT, NO, STAY, GIVE, COME ALONG and LEAVE IT. Out of those, SIT, GIVE and LEAVE IT were by far the most commonly used, in that order. SIT ensured control and curtailed any lurching behaviour. GIVE was used mainly in play, which was why she always dropped objects instantly: she had learned that, if it was a toy, I would immediately throw it again, which was great fun. But GIVE might also be essential if, for instance, darling had ever grabbed mother-in-law's handbag to play with (no, she never did that). LEAVE IT was useful for keeping darling safe from possibly toxic or damaging things. Sometimes I did use COME ALONG ('come' on its own is a dud command, with no sense of motion when you most want to suggest it!), but since Chummy really loved me, she didn't need much chivvying in that way. 

So, when the new puppy comes home -- and it soon will -- I'm going to be lighthearted about teaching commands. They're great for engaging the puppy's mind, for establishing who's in charge, and for keeping the puppy safe. But they're really like the scaffolding you need to build a building: once the building is built, the scaffolding is done away with. The truly well-raised dog is not one that remembers all its early formal training, but one that hardly needs to remember at all.