Teaching Basic Commands to Your Tornjak: A Step-by-Step Guide

As a Tornjak owner, you surely want to give your dog the best possible upbringing. Training is an essential part of this process, but where do you begin? Teaching basic commands may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little patience and persistence, your Tornjak can learn to follow your lead in no time. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of basic commands and provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to teach them to your furry friend. From sit to down, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started!

Understanding Your Tornjak

Understanding Your Tornjak
Understanding your Tornjak can be a perplexing task, as this breed has unique characteristics that make their training and behavior differ from other dogs. Before starting training your Tornjak, it’s essential to know what makes them tick and what training techniques will work best for them. Tornjaks are known for their loyalty, protective instincts, and independence, so training them with positive reinforcement and socialization is crucial to build a strong bond between you and your furry companion. If you’re struggling with Tornjak behavioral issues or separation anxiety, check out our helpful articles on tornjak separation anxiety and behavioral issues for expert tips and advice.

Training Your Tornjak

One of the most important aspects of owning a Tornjak is proper training. Proper training not only helps keep your Tornjak safe and well-behaved, but it also strengthens the bond between you and your pet. Before you begin training your Tornjak, it’s important to understand the breed and their characteristics.

Tornjaks are independent dogs that were bred to work on their own, without close supervision from their owners. This means that they can sometimes be stubborn during training. However, with patience and persistence, they can become well-trained and obedient pets.

When training your Tornjak, it’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques. This means rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Positive reinforcement can include treats, praise, or playtime with their favorite toys.

It’s also important to socialize your Tornjak from a young age. Socialization helps your Tornjak feel comfortable and confident in different situations and around different people and animals. For more information on Tornjak socialization tips, click here.

Another important aspect of Tornjak training is crate training. Crate training can help your Tornjak feel safe and secure when you’re not home, and it can also help with housebreaking. However, it’s important to follow proper crate training dos and don’ts. For more information on crate training Tornjaks, click here.

Leash training is also an important part of Tornjak training. Tornjaks are large, strong dogs, and it’s important to teach them how to walk on a leash without pulling or lunging. For more tips and tricks on leash training your Tornjak, click here.

Once your Tornjak has mastered the basics, you may want to consider off-leash training or advanced training techniques. Off-leash training should only be attempted in safe, enclosed areas, and it’s important to always supervise your Tornjak when they are off-leash. For more information on off-leash training, click here. Advanced training techniques, such as teaching your Tornjak to perform therapy work, can also be beneficial for both your Tornjak and your community. For more information on advanced Tornjak training techniques, click here.

The Importance of Basic Commands

The Importance of Basic Commands can’t be understated. Teaching your Tornjak basic commands is crucial for their safety, your safety, and the safety of others around them. It also establishes you as the pack leader and earns their respect. Here are some reasons why basic commands are necessary:

SafetyBasic commands such as ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘heel’ keep your Tornjak safe in various situations such as crossing the road or approaching strangers. They can also prevent them from running away or getting lost.
CommunicationTeaching your Tornjak commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ allow you to communicate with them better. This can prevent confusion, misunderstanding and frustration.
OwnershipBy training and teaching your Tornjak basic commands, you establish ownership and earn their respect. This makes them more likely to obey your commands and makes for a happier relationship between you two.

Teaching your Tornjak basic commands will also make it easier to train them for more complex tasks such as therapy work or obedience competitions. Positive reinforcement techniques such as those outlined in positive reinforcement Tornjak training can make teaching basic commands easier and more effective.

Teaching Basic Commands

Teaching Basic Commands
Teaching your Tornjak basic commands is an essential part of their training. These commands create a foundation for communication between you and your furry friend, and help to establish your authority as their owner. Learning new commands can be a fun and exciting experience for both you and your Tornjak. However, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. In this section, we’ll break down the steps for teaching five fundamental commands: SIT, STAY, COME, DOWN, and HEEL. Get ready to boost your Tornjak’s obedience and strengthen your bond with them!


Teaching your Tornjak to sit is one of the most important basic commands you can teach them. Not only is it a fundamental behavior that sets the stage for future training, but it also helps with impulse control and prevents jumping. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to teach your Tornjak to sit:

Step 1: Get Your Tornjak’s Attention
Before you can start training, you need to get your Tornjak’s attention. Use a toy, treat, or favorite object to catch their focus. Once you have their attention, hold the object just above their nose, so they look up at it.

Step 2: Give the Command
While your Tornjak is still looking up at the object, give the “sit” command in a firm but friendly voice. You can use any word you like for the command, as long as it’s consistent.

Step 3: Guide Your Tornjak’s Rear Down
As soon as you give the command, gently press down on your Tornjak’s hindquarters while pulling the toy or treat slowly away from their nose. This motion should encourage your Tornjak to sit as they move towards the object.

Step 4: Praise and Reward
As soon as your Tornjak sits, immediately praise them and give them a treat. It’s important to perform this action right away, so they learn to associate the desired behavior with the reward. Repeat this process several times a day, increasing the time between commands as your Tornjak learns the behavior.

Tips for Teaching “Sit”
Here are a few additional tips that can help with the training process:

Make training brief but frequentKeep training sessions short and sweet to prevent your Tornjak from becoming bored or tired. Five minutes, two to three times a day are ideal.
Use positive reinforcementAvoid using punishment, which can confuse and discourage your Tornjak. Instead, reward positive behavior with treats, toys, or affection.
Be patient and consistentRemember that training takes time, and each dog learns at their pace. It’s essential to stick to the same commands, tone of voice, and rewards every time you train. This consistency helps your Tornjak learn more quickly.

Teaching your Tornjak basic commands such as “sit” is just the beginning of building trust and establishing a strong bond with your furry friend. By following the steps and tips outlined above, you can help your Tornjak learn the fundamentals of obedience training and build a lifetime of happiness and companionship together.


Teaching your Tornjak to “stay” is a crucial command for their safety and your peace of mind. Here are the steps to effectively teach your Tornjak to stay put:

Step 1: Start With the Basics
Before you can begin teaching your Tornjak to stay, they must first understand the “sit” command. Begin by commanding your Tornjak to “sit” and once they are seated, hold your palm out with your command hand while saying “stay” in a firm and clear tone.

Step 2: Make Eye Contact
Maintain eye contact with your Tornjak while giving the “stay” command. Make sure your Tornjak is focused on you and the command.

Step 3: Reward Good Behavior
Reward your Tornjak with treats and verbal praise when they respond positively to the “stay” command. This reinforces good behavior and encourages them to continue with obedience training.

Step 4: Increase Distance and Time
Gradually increase the distance between you and your Tornjak whilst maintaining the “stay” command. When your Tornjak stays put for an extended period (such as a minute), reward them accordingly.

Step 5: Add Movement
Introduce movement while commanding your Tornjak to stay, such as walking away from them and then returning. Repeating this process will help to build and reinforce the “stay” command.

Step 6: Practice, Practice, Practice
The key to success with the “stay” command is to practice frequently and be consistent with your commands. Over time, your Tornjak will be able to stay in place for longer periods, allowing them to remain safe and under your control.

Remember, each Tornjak has their own unique personality, so be patient and understand that training takes time. If your Tornjak struggles with any commands, never punish them. Instead, consider revisiting the previous steps or seeking professional help in training.


Teaching your Tornjak to come when called is one of the most important commands you can teach them. It can be a matter of safety when they’re off-leash and need to come back to you quickly. Here are the steps to teach your Tornjak to come when called:

  1. Choose a special word: Choose a word that will only be used for when you want your Tornjak to come to you, such as “come” or “here.” It’s important that you don’t use this word for anything else so your dog associates it only with coming to you.
  2. Start indoors: Begin the training inside where there are fewer distractions. Call your dog’s name followed by the chosen word, such as “Buddy, come!” When your dog comes to you, reward them with praise and a treat.
  3. Move outdoors: Once your Tornjak has responded consistently inside, move the training outdoors to a fenced-in area. Again, call your dog’s name followed by the chosen word, and reward them when they come to you.
  4. Gradually increase distance: Once your dog is responding well to the command, gradually increase the distance between you and your Tornjak, making sure to reward them every time they come back to you.
  5. Practice with distractions: Once your Tornjak has mastered the command, add distractions such as toys or other people to the training area. This will help your dog learn to come to you even when there are other things competing for their attention.
  6. Continue reinforcement: Even once your dog has mastered the command, it’s important to continue to reinforce it regularly to ensure that they don’t forget. Use the command during walks or playtime, and always reward them when they come to you.

Remember to remain patient and consistent with your training to ensure success. Over time, your Tornjak will learn to associate the chosen word with coming to you, making the command an important and reliable tool for keeping your dog safe and under control.


Teaching your Tornjak the “down” command is an essential part of basic obedience training. With patience and consistency, your Tornjak can learn to lie down on command.

To begin training, have your Tornjak sit in front of you. Take a treat and hold it near their nose while slowly lowering it to the ground. As your Tornjak follows the treat down, use the command “down” and use your hand to guide them into a lying position. Once they are lying down, give them the treat and praise them with a cheerful “good boy/girl!”.

Repeat this process several times a day until your Tornjak starts to associate the command “down” with the act of lying down. Eventually, you can begin to phase out the treat, only rewarding your Tornjak with praise and affection.

Table of Steps:

1Have your Tornjak sit in front of you.
2Take a treat and hold it near their nose while slowly lowering it to the ground.
3As your Tornjak follows the treat down, use the command “down” and use your hand to guide them into a lying position.
4Once they are lying down, give them the treat and praise them with a cheerful “good boy/girl!”.
5Repeat this process several times a day.
6Eventually phase out the treat, only rewarding with praise and affection.

It’s important to remember that every Tornjak is different and may require more or less time to learn any given command. Always be patient and consistent, and never punish your Tornjak for not understanding right away. With time and persistence, your Tornjak will learn to obey the “down” command like a pro.


Teaching your Tornjak to “heel” is an essential part of their training. Not only does this command teach your dog to walk calmly beside you, but it can also prevent them from pulling you down the street or chasing after other animals. Here are some steps to follow when teaching your Tornjak to “heel”:

  1. Start your training in a quiet and distraction-free environment. Put your dog on a leash and hold the leash with your left hand, keeping it close to your body.
  2. With a treat in your right hand, hold it beside your left hip, and say “heel” in a firm but gentle tone. Do not move until your dog looks at you and walks beside you.
  3. As soon as your dog starts to walk beside you, praise them with a “good boy/girl” and give them the treat.
  4. Continue your walk, keeping your dog on your left side. If they start to pull or walk ahead, stop walking and make them sit. Wait for a few seconds, then start again.
  5. Gradually increase your walking speed, and repeat the “heel” command. If your dog stops walking beside you, stop and make them sit. Wait until they are calm, then start again.
  6. Repeat this training for a few minutes each day until your dog can walk calmly beside you without pulling or wandering off.

It’s important to remember that teaching your Tornjak to “heel” is not an easy task, and it may take a lot of time and patience. Don’t scold or yell at your dog if they don’t get it right away, and never punish them for not obeying the command. Be consistent in your training, and use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage good behavior.

Remember: Always keep your Tornjak on a leash when training them to “heel.” This not only keeps them safe from hazards on the street but also prevents them from running off and getting lost. With patience and consistency, your Tornjak will learn to “heel” and become a well-behaved companion.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Troubleshooting Common Problems
Dog training can have its challenges, and teaching a Tornjak basic commands is no exception. It’s important to remember that each dog is unique, and what works for one Tornjak may not work for another. However, there are some common problems that many Tornjak owners experience while training their loyal companions. In this section, we’ll address some of the most common hurdles you may face while teaching your Tornjak basic commands and provide some helpful tips for overcoming them. So if you’re feeling perplexed by your Tornjak’s training progress, don’t worry – you’re not alone!

Your Tornjak Won’t Listen

If your Tornjak won’t listen to your commands, it can be frustrating for both you and your furry companion. Here are some potential reasons why your Tornjak may not be responding to your training efforts:

  • Distractions: Tornjaks are naturally curious and easily distracted dogs. If there are too many interesting things going on around them, they may not be focused enough to listen to your commands.
  • Lack of Consistency: If you’re not consistent with your training efforts, your Tornjak may not fully understand what you’re asking of them.
  • Wrong Timing: Timing is everything when it comes to training your Tornjak. If you’re rewarding your dog too late or too early, they may not understand which behavior they’re being rewarded for.
  • Level of Difficulty: If you’re asking your Tornjak to perform a more advanced command before they’ve mastered the basics, they may not be set up for success.
  • Fear or Anxiety: If your Tornjak is feeling fearful or anxious, they may not be able to focus on training. It’s important to create a calm and comfortable environment for your dog to learn in.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s important to identify the cause and make adjustments as needed. Try to limit distractions during training sessions, be consistent with your training approach, and ensure that you’re rewarding your Tornjak at the appropriate time. If you suspect that fear or anxiety is the root of the problem, consult with a professional dog trainer. Remember that every dog learns at their own pace, so be patient and keep practicing.

Your Tornjak is Aggressive

Dealing with an aggressive Tornjak can be a challenging and sometimes dangerous situation. It’s important to understand that aggression can stem from a variety of sources such as fear, territoriality, or lack of socialization. If your Tornjak is exhibiting aggressive behavior, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible.

Here are some steps to take if your Tornjak is displaying aggressive behavior:

  • Identify the triggers: Try to identify what situations or actions trigger your Tornjak’s aggression. This will allow you to avoid these triggers or work on counter-conditioning techniques to change your dog’s response.
  • Consult a professional: Consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who has experience working with aggressive dogs. It’s important to work with someone who can help you identify the cause of your Tornjak’s aggression and create a personalized training plan.
  • Practice management techniques: In the meantime, practice management techniques such as keeping your Tornjak on a leash when outside or separating them from situations that trigger their aggression.
  • Use positive reinforcement: When working on training your Tornjak, use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and playtime to encourage good behavior. Avoid using punishment or negative reinforcement as this can increase anxiety and escalate aggression.
  • Be patient: Dealing with an aggressive Tornjak can be a long and challenging process. Be patient, consistent, and committed to training and managing your dog’s behavior.

Remember, addressing aggressive behavior in your Tornjak requires patience, consistency, and a methodical approach. Work with a professional and use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior, and always ensure your safety and the safety of others.

Building on Basic Commands

As you and your Tornjak become more comfortable with basic commands, you may want to expand your training repertoire. Building on the foundation you have created, you can now start to teach your furry friend some fun and challenging tricks. By doing so, you’ll further strengthen your bond with your pet while keeping their mind active and engaged. In this section, we’ll explore some creative ways to build on basic commands and take your Tornjak’s training to the next level. So, let’s get started!

Teaching Your Tornjak Tricks

Training your Tornjak to perform tricks is an excellent way to enhance your bond with your furry friend. It can also help to keep your dog engaged and mentally stimulated. Some impressive tricks that you can teach your Tornjak include roll-over, shake, play-dead, crawl, and spin.

Here are a few steps to follow when teaching your Tornjak tricks:

  • Start with a basic command: Before teaching your Tornjak complex tricks, it is important to ensure that your dog has mastered basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come.
  • Select the trick: Choose a trick that is suitable for your Tornjak’s age, size, and ability. Some tricks require more physical agility than others.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Like in basic obedience training, it is important to use positive reinforcement while teaching tricks. Use treats, praise or toys to encourage and reward your Tornjak for performing the trick correctly.
  • Break the trick down into smaller steps: Break the trick down into smaller, more manageable parts. This will make it easier for your Tornjak to learn the trick without getting frustrated.
  • Be patient: Learning new tricks takes time and patience. Don’t rush your Tornjak and always stay calm and positive.
  • Practice consistently: Practice the trick repeatedly with your Tornjak to reinforce the behavior. Try to practice in short sessions of no more than 10-15 minutes, two or three times a day. This will help your Tornjak maintain focus and interest in learning the new trick.
  • Reinforce the behavior: Once your Tornjak has learned the trick, reinforce the behavior regularly. Use the trick during playtime or on walks to keep the behavior current and fresh in your dog’s mind.

By following these steps, you can teach your Tornjak impressive tricks that will amaze your friends and family while strengthening the bond between you and your furry companion. However, it is essential to remember that not all dogs can perform every trick. Some dogs may find some tricks too difficult, while others may not have the physical ability to perform certain tricks. Always keep your Tornjak’s safety and wellbeing in mind and choose tricks that are suitable for your dog’s age, size, and ability.

Advanced Training

Once your Tornjak has mastered the basic commands, you may want to consider advanced training to further strengthen your bond and improve their obedience. Advanced training can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your dog. Below are some examples of advanced training exercises you can try with your Tornjak:

Off-leash trainingOnce your Tornjak has mastered basic commands on a leash, you can try off-leash training in a safe, enclosed area. Start with simple commands and gradually increase the level of difficulty.
Agility trainingTornjaks are natural athletes and excel at agility training. Set up an obstacle course in your yard or a nearby park and teach your dog to navigate it. This will improve their coordination and mental agility.
Scent trainingTornjaks have a strong sense of smell and can be trained in scent work. Hide treats or objects with a strong scent around your home or yard and encourage your Tornjak to find them. You can gradually increase the difficulty by hiding the objects in more challenging locations.
Trick trainingTeaching your Tornjak tricks can be a fun way to bond and improve their obedience. Try teaching them to roll over, play dead, or dance. Use positive reinforcement and break down the trick into smaller steps to make it easier for your dog to learn.

It’s important to keep in mind that advanced training should only be attempted once your Tornjak has a solid foundation in basic commands and is comfortable with the training process. It’s also important to use positive reinforcement and make training sessions fun and engaging for your dog. With patience and consistency, you and your Tornjak can enjoy the benefits of advanced training together.


As we come to the end of this article, it is important to remember that teaching your Tornjak basic commands is essential for their well-being and your peace of mind. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, and basic commands will help establish a bond of trust and respect between you and your Tornjak.

Remember to always use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, when training your Tornjak. Consistency is key, and you should never give up on your training efforts. A well-trained Tornjak will be a joy to be around, and will bring years of love and companionship to your life.

While teaching basic commands is essential, it is just the beginning of your journey together. You can build upon these commands by teaching your Tornjak tricks and engaging in more advanced training. Remember, every dog is unique, and you should tailor your training approach to suit their personality and learning style.

In the end, we hope that this article has been helpful in providing you with the knowledge and tools you need to train your Tornjak. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, your Tornjak will become a well-behaved and beloved companion for years to come. So start your training today, and enjoy the many benefits that a well-trained Tornjak can bring to your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tornjak breed?

The Tornjak is a large, powerful breed of dog native to Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were traditionally used for guarding livestock and property.

When should I begin training my Tornjak?

You should begin training your Tornjak as early as possible, ideally when they are still a puppy. This will help establish good habits early on.

What are the most important basic commands to teach my Tornjak?

The most important basic commands to teach your Tornjak are sit, stay, come, down, and heel. These commands will help establish control and obedience over your dog.

How can I teach my Tornjak to come when called?

Start by calling your Tornjak’s name and rewarding them with a treat or praise when they respond. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog, and make sure to always reward them when they come when called.

What if my Tornjak doesn’t want to obey my commands?

If your Tornjak is being stubborn or resistant to training, it may be helpful to break down the commands into smaller steps and reinforce positive behavior with rewards. Consistency and patience are key.

What are some common problems I might encounter while training my Tornjak?

Some common problems you might encounter include disobedience, aggression, and difficulty with certain commands. These can be addressed through careful training and positive reinforcement.

Can Tornjaks be trained to do advanced tricks?

Yes, Tornjaks can be taught to do advanced tricks with enough patience and practice. Some common tricks to teach Tornjaks include fetching, rolling over, and playing dead.

How much exercise does a Tornjak need?

Tornjaks are an active breed and require plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They should get at least an hour of exercise every day, such as going for walks or playing in a fenced yard.

What is the best way to socialize my Tornjak?

The best way to socialize your Tornjak is to expose them to new people, animals, and environments from an early age. This can help prevent aggression and fearfulness in your dog.

Are Tornjaks good with children?

Tornjaks are generally good with children, but like with any breed, it is important to supervise interactions between dogs and children to prevent accidents or incidents.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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