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Dog Training Hand Signals (Useful Tips for Pet Parents)


The most fundamental part when training dogs, is training them on how to respond to hand signals. It becomes easier for the dogs to understand hand signals as compared to the various voice commands as dogs have been known to be excellent at reading and understanding body language.

Primary hand signals can be applied to the different type of dogs irrespective of their physical conditions. For example, a dog with a hearing impairment can easily relate to a hand signal without any struggle.

Modern dog sports all over the world greatly depend on hand signals for their participants hence making efficient training on hand signal a critical stage in a dog’s life. It, therefore, becomes crucial for an individual having dogs either as a pet or even for security purposes to understand the various dog trai​​​​ning hand signals that they can use when training their dogs before proceeding to the sophisticated steps or methods of dog training.

Basic Dog Training Hand Signals

1.How to train a dog to come

This kind of command requires a quiet place preferably in an indoor.

The first step in this stage is to move into a squat position while keeping your hands open. After doing this say a word such as “come” and observe her as she approaches you. Only reach out to her after she has completely reached where you are as this will signal the end of the command.

Reaching out for her after speaking the command can be confusing especially when given the same signal next time.

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The first step in this stage is to move into a squat position while keeping your hands open. (Via deafdogsrock)

Repeat the action several times until your dog is familiar with your speaking cues and extended hands, then you can repeat the action without using your voice. Repeat this action with patience.

After she has successfully responded to the signal, it is important for you to give her verbal praise or stroke her softly on the belly or head. It will motivate the dog and make her have a positive experience as she will relate it to a fun moment rather than something scary. 

In case the dog fails to respond to the signal, stroll to where she is, attach a leash and walk her slowly to the spot while praising him as this will encourage her to respond to the signal the next time.

2. How to sit down

Training your dog on how to respond to sit signal can be done in two ways depending on which is easily understood or preferred by the trainer.

The first method is to sit down in front of your dog holding something such as treat to allure the dog in responding to our signal. Tell her to sit down while holding the treat in front of her nose. Lift the food up from the nose as this will make her try to raise her head so that he can reach the food.

dog-hand-signal-training (2)

The first method is to sit down in front of your dog holding something such​as treat to allure the dog in responding to our signal (Via omlet)

If he fails to do so, try putting your hand on her rump and guide her to sit down. This should only be done in the first few times to make her used to the signal. Be sure to praise her for responding to the signal as you give her the treat.

Another method of making your dog respond to sit signal is sitting down next to the dog while placing one hand on her chest and the other one behind her rear legs. Say the word "sit" to the dog while slowly applying an upward pressure and moving the other hand near the back legs down as you guide her to a sitting position.

3.How to lay down

In this training step, make the dog sit next to you on the left side then kneel down while placing your left hand on her shoulders. 

The next step is placing your right hand behind his front legs. Say to her down and try to press her gently on her shoulders while scoping his front legs out to make her lie down. If she responds to this signal, stroke her back as it will encourage her to stay relaxed in that position. After this, use your release word to let her get up and praise her once again. 

4. How to stand

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Use treat and hold your hand out at the side of your hip (Via thespruce)

Teaching your dog on this hand signal requires you to hold your hand out at the side of your hip and to move straight backward as you give her the command to stand. After several times, give her the hand signals without the word cues. Reward her appropriately if she responds effectively to the signal.


The dogs may find difficulty in understanding the various commands given to them by these trainers. Therefore, training small puppies or dogs requires patience from the trainer. Remember that, after your dog has become used to the various hand signal, rewards should be reduced so that it can stop associating the signals with the rewards.

About the Author Cindy Grant

A pet lover from Boston, USA who is extremely passionate about all cute little pets, especially puppies, kittens and birds. I created NolongerWild as a community where all pet lovers around the world can meet and share their passion with each other.

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