Dog training hand signals are very useful for several reasons: Canines are visually oriented animals and will understand hand signals for dogs very well. They can read your body language more easily than understand your spoken words.
Some training methods use cues that can then become the actual hand signal! This makes an easy transition from getting the behavior going to putting it under the control of a dog training hand command.
Dog hand signals are a great tool to use with deaf dogs as well as in obedience competition where verbal commands might not be heard or are not allowed. It is easier for dogs to understand a hand signal than a verbal command (perhaps, with the exception of Border Collies).
It is another way to build communication and trust with your petas well as to enhance his confidence. When a dog understands what he is being asked to do, he feels safer, because he knows what to do.
Although there are no official dog training hand signals, some hand signals for dog training are recognized by most professional trainers.
You will notice that most of these are universal hand signals because they derive from the visual cue used when training a particular behavior with a specific training method.Luring a dog behavior:
When you teach your furry friend basic obedience commands like sit, down, stand and heel using luring, you hold food in your palm. Then you move it around to make your pet do what you want him to do.
That palm movement can then be turned into an actual dog training hand signal!
Here are some examples (see pictures below):
Sit: you lure your pooch by moving the treat up from his nose to his forehead. This movement becomes a full motion with your palm facing up from your leg to your shoulder.
Down: you lure your pet by moving the treat from his nose down to the floor. This movement becomes a full motion with your palm facing out starting at your shoulder level (the last motion of the sit position) and going down to your leg palm-down.
Stand: Starting from a sit or down position, you lure your hound by moving the treat from his nose up and forward. This becomes a full motion with your palm starting relaxed at your hip, then move your arm backwards.
Heel: you lure your canine friend with a treat to walk next to you (usually on your left side). If your pet is coming from -in front- of you, then you lure him to go around you from right to left (in a half circle around you). This movement becomes a signal by moving your hand in a small circle near your hip or tapping your hip. If your pooch comes from behind you, then he should just appear on your left side.
Dog training hand signals from Target training:
When you use a target to prompt a behavior in your pet, most of the time you also make a hand movement that can later become a dog training hand signal.
Here are some examples (see pictures below):
Spin: You will use the target in a circular motion above your dog to get him to spin around. This will become a full motion of your hand doing a spin in the air (less obvious).
Go to your crate: You will use the target to move your pet into the crate. Then point with the target. The pointing motion will become the visual signal for "go to..."
Sit: Start palm-out at leg and moves up as if to touch your shoulder.
Down: Start palm-out at shoulder and moves down towards floor ending palm-down.
Stand: Start palm-out at the side of the hip and moves straight backwards (like an invitation to enter motion).
Stay: Palm-out stretch in front of dog.
Free: both hands up at shoulder level, palms-out (as in "all done"). This signal lets your pet know he is done and can relax or do something else.
Come: one (or two) arm out parallel to the floor, bring your hand to your chest.
Remember that these are only suggestions for dog training hand signals. You can use any body movement that comes naturally to you and is easily recognized by your canine friend.
You will be applying the principles of Operant Conditioning!
A behavior will happen more often if it is being rewarded. And your command should act as the "green light" for your pet to do the behavior and get rewarded.
If your furry friend already responds to a dog verbal command, adding a dog hand signal is easy:
If you are training a new behavior and want to add a dog hand signal follow these steps:
You can make your own unique visual signal and teach it to your dog as explained above! Share your hand signals with us on the box below!