Knowing the hand signals to teach your dog is important to help improve your communication with your dog both in and out of training. Giving commands associated with a hand signal can help your dog more easily get what you want him to do by giving him both visual and auditory cue. For deaf dogs, hand signals will become your entire command. These hand signals are the most useful for dog training.
There are a few things to remember before you start teaching your dog hand signals. Think of these as general rules for all the hand signals.
A hand signal should be paired with a verbal command – unless your dog is deaf, you’ll need to pair the hand signal with a verbal command. For example, your open hand gesture pairs with “down” or “sit”.
Keep the verbal command simple – It is ideal to keep the words simple with just one or two short words. Instead of saying “go to your crate.”, the “crate up” us a good, short way of commanding your dog to his crate and it’s a lot shorter.
Boost with rewards – Reward your dog every time he gets it right. Until your dog masters a command, you’ll be needing some treats handy.
Slowly phase out verbal cues – You can gradually phase out verbal cues as you notice that your dog masters the hand signal
Phase out the reward – The finals step in teaching the hand signals is phasing out the reward. Once your dog masters the hand signal, you can start giving him a dog treat every other time, them every third time and so on until you cease with the rewards completely. Now replace the treats with praise.