Owning a dog can be a pleasant thing. Having a constant and friendly companion can cheer you up a lot. However, it can be frustrating if they aren’t trained to follow your commands. One of the most popular ways to keep them in line is to use hand signs for dogs. They are especially useful when your pet can’t hear you. A simple sign can have them behaving in seconds.
Though there are dozens of hand signs for dogs, there are three you’ll most likely want to teach them as quickly as possible. These are the sit, lay down, and come commands. You should be able to keep your pet under control with these basic signals most of the time. Here’s how you should go about teaching them to your pet.
When teaching hand signs for dogs, each signal should be taught separately. However, there are some general guidelines that can help no matter what signal you are teaching. Here are three of them so that you will be able to deal with them a lot easier.
- You will need to start early. You should start teaching your dog the hand signs as soon as they come into your care. This will allow you to develop their habits so that they can learn easier. Take advantage of the fact that when they come into your home, their full attention will be on you.
- When teaching hand signs for dogs, you should try to avoid any distractions. You want their full attention on you and your lessons. This means you need to train them in an empty yard or room. Loud noises or something similar are your main distractions so try to reduce their presence.
- Get them used to the hand signs. To do this, you will need to use them constantly and on a daily basis. This ensures that your dog won’t forget your lessons until they become a habit. If they have learned the signal and you forget to use it, then they will soon forget it again.
Hand Signal 1: Sit
One of the first hand signs for dogs you should teach is indicating that you want the dog to sit. This is one of the easiest signals to learn. It will also provide you with the foundations for other signals. Here’s how to do it.
- Hold a doggy treat in your dominant hand and keep it in front of your dog.
- You should then move your hand up. Your dog will reflexively follow it, lowering its backside to the floor as its nose seeks the treat. The result will be the dog moving into the sit position.
- As soon as the dog is in the right position, you should then give the dog the treat. This is a way to reinforce the behavior. Your dog will then start to associate the upward motion of your hand with sitting.
- When teaching hand signs for dogs, the most important thing is repetition. You should keep on repeating this training on a regular basis. Do this in an exaggerated manner in the beginning so that your dog will be able to recognize the movement, but slowly tone it down until you can move normally.
- The final step is to do the motion without the food. By this time, your dog should have started to associate your hand movement with the food. You will need to reward them with simple praise, but that should be enough to continue the cycle of positive reinforcement.
Hand Signal 2: Lay Down
The next step to take when teaching hand signs for dogs is to teach them to lay down on the ground. Your dog should have already learned all about sitting down by now. This signal takes it a bit further by having the dog get to lay on the ground.
- As all hand signs for dogs, your first step is to use doggy treats to teach the initial position. You should hold the treat in your hand with the palm spread out and facing down. Slowly lower your hand and let your dog follow it. Keep lowering it until your dog is flat on the ground. This is when you should feed it the treat.
- Repetition is the key for your pet to learn the lesson. Just keep on doing this lesson on a daily basis. Always use the same signal so that your dog won’t make any mistakes in interpretation. This is to avoid any confusion.
- Learn to have breaks. 15 minute lessons should be the standard. Anything beyond that and your dog will get distracted or lose interest in things.
- The next step is to move beyond the treats. A good sign that your dog has internalized its lessons is that it will follow the movement even without the treats. This means the training has succeeded. However, you still need to reward your pets. You can do this by giving them praise and positive reinforcement.
Hand Signal 3: Come
The final basic hand signs for dogs that your pet should learn is the sign for coming towards you. This should help if your dog is far away and you need them to come closer. This involves quite a bit of movement so you’re going to need a wide space.
- The first step is to position yourself away from your dog. Several feet away should be enough.
- The next thing to do is to do the hand gesture. Just signal with a doggy treat with your hand, moving it towards you. This should encourage your dog to move towards you.
- It is important that you not repeat this motion. Your dog should move with just a single gesture and not repetitive signals.
- This is the most difficult of the basic hand signs for dogs to learn. This is why you should spread learning it over a couple of weeks.
Once your dog has learned the “come” hand signal, it should have gotten used enough to it to learn more complicated hand signs. Start to progress beyond that to add to your dog’s repertoire.