Dog Training Hand Signals

Dog training hand signals can be a helpful tool in your dog obedience training attempts. They can be very helpful in training your dog to obey obedience commands and perform tricks. Hand signals can help any trainer who is having trouble with training his dog or wants his dog to be ahead of the group. I will talk about all different kinds of hand signals for dog training.



Some people think training a dog with words is the way to go because we communicate with words. Dogs do not understand our words, of course. The only reason we are able to train a dog with words is because they are mimicking us when we train them and begin to respond to positive reinforcement. They do not actually understand the words themselves, so for this reason, dog training hand signals can help your dog learn faster and respond to your commands better.

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Why Use Dog Training Hand Signals?

The use of hand signals in dog training may have begun in the hunting community, but now people in the dog community are saying the way to go is the way that uses hand signals. There are a bunch of reasons that you should teach your dog hand signals:
1. If you like hunting and your dog is a hunting dog, they are usually a long distance away and so hand signals let them know what to do instead of having to shout.

2. Dogs who are in the middle of being excited or playing will not respond well to words. Instead they, like every other dog, respond to their environment, so they will respond to what they see, and they will see the hand signals.

3. Using a combination of verbal commands and hand gestures work the best. The dog obedience training needs to be reinforced with verbal commands just to understand exactly what you want them to do when you make a gesture.

Hand Signals for the Dog Obedience Trainer

Just as with any verbal commands you give your dog as his dog obedience trainer, you have to be consistent with the dog training hand signals you use as well. You cannot change the hand signal to mean something else after you have committed to that signal. Consistency is the most important piece of the equation on your path to become a dog trainer for your dog.

Here are some of the hand signals that lots of trainers use and I am familiar with. You can, of course, make up your own hand signals, but I suggest you keep it simple. Remember, complex dog obedience commands aren’t useful, especially in emergency or high-stress situations.

Stay. You should hold your hand out to your dog. Your fingers have to point upwards and your palm has to face your dog. The closer you place your hand to his nose, the easier for him to understand.

Down. You should hold your hand down near the ground, with your fingers facing the ground. Some people prefer to hold their hand up high and then bring it down so the dog is sure to see the motion.

Come. Hold your arm out parallel to the ground and then bring your left hand to your right shoulder, slowly. You can go faster with this command after the dog learns it better and will understand even if the command is faster. Some people use the right hand to the left shoulder, but I have found that it works better if you do it the first way.

Dog Training Hand Signals: Ahead of the Pack

Dogs are incredibly intelligent, but learn fastest if you use a combination of tools in your dog obedience training. For those who wish to become a dog trainer, mastering hand signals, verbal commands, and other tools such as dog clicker training can truly put you ahead of the pack.

Hand signals for dog training are also useful for dogs that are hard of hearing and those that have shorter attention spans, like puppies. When you use hand signals consistently with your dog, it makes it easier for other people to make your dog obey obedience commands, too, because the dog is responding to the gesture, not the word or the tone in the person’s voice.

Give it a try! Hand signals will definitely help you train your dog, whether he is older and can’t hear well or he is a hunting dog or just a hyper puppy. If you use hand signals along with verbal commands, your dog will learn more quickly and obey you more consistently.





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