Understanding Hand Commands Can Save Your Dog’s Life!

cão de estrada
drukaman *andré ferreira* / Foter / CC BY-NC

There are many different hand signs and verbal commands used in obedience training for dogs. However, no signals are official, and professional trainers differ in their methods. It is important for any dog owner to use whatever method they are most comfortable with and to find the easiest to follow. In order to get the best response from your pet you must connect with him, so it is vital that you remain relaxed and patient throughout the training session. If you are not relaxed, your pet may sense this and become frustrated.

Being consistent with obedience training of your dogs and training them to understand hand commands is vitally important to any dog training. You can train your dog by using a combination of both verbal and hand signal methods. Dogs use their nose, ears, and eyes to experience the world around them. A dog will understand the intention of their owner by their display of body language. A dog will always look to his owner for guidance. He will watch for hand signals and follow your lead. If you are an owner who would like to fine-tune your dog to engage his senses in order to obediently follow your commands, hand signals are the greatest foundation. Hand signals are able to reinforce commands you give your dog when they are in a noisy environment and unable to hear your verbal command. They are also essential to police situations where silence may be important. In this article, we will explore some of the more commonly taught commands for training your pet in this way.

Sit

“Sit” is the easiest and simplest command to teach and the most natural signal action. While holding the dog’s favorite treat or toy, you should lift your hand from your side directly to just above your dog’s nose. Your dog will naturally sit when following this lure. The dog should then be rewarded as soon as his bottom is on the ground. This command should be done with great patience, in short sessions each and every day. Extend your arm forward slowly and lift your hand with your palm up, without a treat. You must highly praise your dog, giving him the thumbs up sign once he sits.

Down

For a “down” signal you must turn your palms downwards while lowering your hand. You can place a treat in between your fingers as a lure for your dog, while slowly lowering your hands to the ground. Reward your dog with verbal praise and a treat immediately when he lies down. After accomplishing this, you should graduate by extending your arm, palm facing downwards, and then lowering your hand. Do not forget to give your dog the thumbs up as a reward for good behavior.

Come

“Come” is a command that is able to protect a dog from trouble and danger, making it probably one of the most important of the hand commands. This signal is carried out by extending your arm straight out and then placing your palm over towards your heart. You can also teach this command with rewards following the same process you previously used with other commands. You should first do it at a short distance. You can get your dog to consistently obey at long distances by practicing this command with a leash; a long lead can be especially helpful for graduating to long distances.

[ezazoncart]

You will then be able to practice in an enclosed area without a leash, at a later stage.

Stay

Another one of the commands that will protect your dog and keep him back until you need him, is “Stay.” Make a stop sign with your palm while holding your arm in the upright position. Without touching his muzzle, hold your palm close to it. Reward him with a treat after only a few seconds of obedience. You can slowly increase the time length and distance by gradually moving away from your pet until you are successful for a period of five minutes. Take this opportunity to teach the OK signal. Release your dog from the command by using the index finger and thumb held in a circle. This must be followed by the “come” signal for the dog to approach you. This is the time to pet and praise your dog, and have a brief play time.

Training Methods

Commonly, there are three types of training techniques that are widely used. These are in the form of electrical shocks, compulsion with a choke collar, and the giving of positive rewards. Compulsion-style stimulants are the most commonly used training methods and the demand for them has increased because of obedience problems experienced with dogs. Do some experimenting to see which style works best for you and your canine friend.