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Dog Training Hand Signals: The Basics

Basic Dog Training Hand Signals for ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’ or ‘Down’

Using puppy training hand signals is a fun and effective method for teaching your dog the basics of good manners and obedience. Hand signals are hand movements that dog owners and trainers can use to teach their dogs the basic commands of ‘sit’, ‘stay’, or ‘down’. To get started you will need a few bits of dog training treats and an eager, hungry dog.

Dog Training Hand Signals with Labrador

Combine Hand Signals with Command Words

Dog training hand signals will only be effective if your dog has learned to associate a hand signal with the appropriate command words. This means that in your dog’s mind the word and the signals are one and the same. Once the action is done repeatedly you will eventually be able to use the hand signal on its own.

training with your dog in a park

Gradually Start Using Only Signals

As you progress with puppy training hand signals you will be able to gradually get your dog to obey you without uttering a word. You can do this by using the hand signal and voice command together about 50% of the time and the hand signal alone for the other 50% – until your dogs learn what is expected of them.

using hand signals with your dog

Remove the Reward

When your dog can obey the hand signal alone, with the promise of a kibble reward, you will remove the reward. In time your dog will sit, lie down or come when called without the promise of a dog training treat. Let’s examine the basics of teaching your dog to sit, lie down, and come using dog training hand signals.

removing the kibble reward with your dog

“Sit Down” Command

To teach your dog to sit using dog training hand signals, let your dog stand in front of you. Hold a treat in your fingers at your side and bring it up slowly folding your arm as though you are going to throw the kibble over the same shoulder. Bring the food past your dog’s nose as you do this and say ‘sit’ at the same time. As you repeat the command you are leading his nose upwards. If he gets it right give him the treat and praise him.

Dog Training Hand Signals - Sit Down Command

“Lie Down” Command

To teach your dog to lie down, using dog training hand signals, Buster should be sitting in front of you. Hold a treat in your fingers and raise your hand above your head. Then bring your arm down, keeping it straight until it hangs at your side. As you do so bring the treat past your dog’s nose and say ‘down’. When you use dog training hand signals to teach this command you are leading your dog’s nose down as you repeat the command. If he gets it right, yes you guessed it, give him the treat!

Dog Training Hand Signals - Lie Down Command

“Come” Command

To teach your dog to come to you when called, use the following dog training hand signals. Starting with your dog in front of you hold a treat in your fingers. Begin by holding your arm straight to the side and parallel with the ground. Sweep your arm forward and allow your hand to touch the opposite shoulder.

Start slowly and bring the treat past your dog’s nose. Say ‘come’ at the same time and move backward by a few steps. If he comes over give him the treat and plenty of praise. Using dog training hand signals is a remarkable way to train your dog. Given time you will never have to yell at your dog from a distance ever again!

Dog Training Hand Signals - Come Command

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Diane Wong

Diane Wong

Community User

Diane H. Wong used to be a teacher for ESL students. Besides, she is a writer at DoMyWriting so she prefers to spend her spare time working out marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.