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Yes, You Should Teach Your Dog Hand Signals!

Yes, You Should Teach Your Dog Hand Signals!


word image 847 1 teach your dog hand signals

You should teach your dog hand signals!

Think they are only for dogs with limited to no hearing?

Think again!

Keep reading to learn why you should teach your dog hand signals.

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Have a deaf dog? Learn how to work with a deaf dog

with our previous blog post!

Getting (and Keeping) Your Dog’s Attention

word image 847 3 teach your dog hand signals Getting and keeping your dog’s attention is a critical piece of your dog’s training and daily life. It is important to be able to communicate clearly with your dog no matter the situation. While most of us rely on verbal cues or commands, there are times when the environment is too noisy or chaotic or you are just too far away for verbal commands to be effective (for example, at obedience competitions). So, hand signals can still allow you to effectively communicate with your dog and keep his focus under your control.

Many experts believe that hand signals are even more effective since dogs are visually oriented and are masters at reading body language. A combination of a verbal command and a hand signal produces the most reliable performance.

“In conclusion … when dogs are equally accustomed to responding

to visual and verbal commands, gestural cues are dominant;

this supports the evidence that body language plays a major role,

being the most important communication channel for dogs.”

(From a study done by a team of Italian Researchers and the University of Naples.)

Which Comes First: The Hand Signal or Verbal Cue?

K9s are natural experts at reading body language, so including hand signals with verbal cues can help you and your dog form a stronger bond of communication.

word image 847 4 teach your dog hand signals The AKC says, “it is best to train using the hand signal first, even if you have already taught a verbal cue.” Offer the hand signal followed by the verbal cue your dog already knows. Eventually, your dog will understand that the hand signal means the same as the verbal command. Always use lots of positive reinforcement too!

Whichever cue you teach first, consistently use the same verbal cues and hand signals to avoid confusing your dog about what you are asking him to do. Different trainers may use different hand signals but use what is easier for you to regularly remember and use.

word image 847 5 teach your dog hand signals Always tune in to your dog and watch what he reacts to and naturally build on his responses. What matters is you and your dog working together as a team, not which hand gesture or word you use.

A friend of mine always requires her dogs to sit for a treat. She began training them with one gesture, but then realized they responded faster when she put a hand or both hands on her hips. That gesture just resonated with them for a faster response. Always watch your dog and go with the flow!

Which hand signals should you teach your dog?

Hand Signals Your Dog Needs

First start by reinforcing your dog’s basic commands with hand signals including come, sit, stay and down. Once these are mastered, expand your dog’s repertoire to other commands incorporating the visual with the spoken word. It’s a great exercise to mentally challenge and prepare your dog for all types of environments and situations with strong and reliable communication skills!

Video: Obedience Commands and Hand Signals by Applause Your Paws Inc.

word image 847 6 teach your dog hand signals

East Valley K9 Services

We train happy, confident & well-mannered dogs!

Learn about our training and boarding services!

Call 480-382-0144 or

send us an email to schedule.

Serving Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe and East Valley areas of Arizona.

Image Credits (Shown in Order of Appearance):

DCMX252 / Pixabay

Julian Kirschner / Pexels

JohnHInbox / Pixabay

Lushtk0 / Pixabay

Pschulz / Pixabay

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