Using Hand Signals To Train Your Dog

Dog training is easier than you think, but it is hard work. Our furry friends are super intelligent, and they love pleasing their owners. You can teach your dog some relatively easy hand signals to improve communication. However, it’s important to remember that the earlier you introduce hand signals, the easier your dog learns. But if you are not ready for the job, you can easily hire a professional in the Fort Myers area

How to Train Your Pet

Your dog needs to understand both a hand signal and a verbal command. To teach a dog without complications, keep the signals simple and always give the dog a treat or praise.

Once the dog can accurately respond to the commands, you can slowly reduce the rewards. If your pet understands the basic commands like stay, sit, etc., it becomes easier to transition to hand signals. For the best results, train the dog daily, and the dog will understand the hand signals quickly.

Why Use Hand Signals?

Visual or hand signals work well for dogs because dogs communicate through body language and can read your cues. Some reasons you should use hand signals include the following:

  • Easier Communication in Noisy Areas

Dogs find it easier to focus on your body cues in noisy environments. If the dog is far from you and off the leash, it’s easier to use hand signals instead of shouting instructions.

  • Aging Problems

When a dog ages and their hearing deteriorates, the hand signal will work better than the verbal cues. If your puppy is naturally deaf, it also makes it easier for you to communicate with the dog since it cannot lipread, and voice commands would be useless.

  • Faster Processing

Dogs process hand signals faster than voice commands. Dogs are more responsive to optical signals than verbal cues. A study on a group of dogs trained with visual and verbal cues revealed that the hand signal-trained dogs were 99% reliable, while the verbal command-trained dogs scored 82%.

Top Hand Signals To Teach Your Dog

Teaching a dog is hard work that requires dedication. Here are some of the most common hand signals you can teach your furry pet.

1. Index Finger Pointing Toward Your Eye (Look)

Start with this step if you need to transition from verbal commands to hand signals. Your pet needs to understand that they must always look at you to see your command. When the dog looks at you attentively, reward it with a treat. Hold the treat in your hand when you first start training, as it keeps the dog’s eyes on the prize.

2. Open Hand With Palm Facing Upward (Sit)

This hand gesture is among the most straightforward commands. Face your palm toward your face and hold the hand out to shoulder level. Slowly move the hand upward. Ensure you utter the command “Sit” first, followed by the gesture.

3. Open Hand With Palm Facing Forward (Stay)

A dog must learn to wait or stay. Otherwise, the dog may become difficult to control. This hand signal is necessary, especially with your pet in public places like parks. Train your dog to understand both spoken commands and hand gestures. Walk backward with your palm facing outward. Let the dog stay until you tell it otherwise.

4. Finger Pointing Downward (Lie down)

Another essential signal to settle the canine is asking it to lie down. This signal involves stretching your arm out, palm down, and moving the hand to your leg level. Another way is to point to the floor with your index finger.

5. Hand Diagonally Across the Chest (Come)

When you want to summon your dog, drop your open hand to your side and bring it to the opposite shoulder. This is a must-learn signal if you go out in public areas and will enable you to control your dog without putting your furry friend on a leash.

Mistakes to Avoid While Training Your Dog

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid while training your dog.

  • Giving Simultaneous Commands

Don’t give the dog visual and verbal cues simultaneously. When you do this, the dog obeys the visual and ignores the verbal command. When this happens, the dog associates your verbal cues as meaningless and will often ignore you when you give a verbal command only. You can call your dog, but it ignores your commands.

  • Don’t Prolong the Treats Period

Please start with the treat in hand and slowly withdraw it. Let the dog understand you are rewarding the obedience to the hand signal. You can keep the snack hidden to reward the dog when it obeys your commands. The dog eventually learns obedience and slowly forgets the treat.

Training a dog to obey hand signals is a lot of work. It becomes easier if your pet knows the basics, like sit or stay. However, remember dogs understand visual prompts better, so distinguish the dog by giving verbal and auditory commands simultaneously.

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