Ultimate List of Dog Commands and Hand Signals for Training

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Dogs are the best things that humans could ask for. They are our resort to faith and unconditional love, where we can turn into kids and have a good time. These animals are sometimes better than humans at what they do, mostly due to their undying dedication and honesty. One of the important character traits of dogs is their loyalty. They would remain loyal to you till their death approaches. Consequently, all you need to do to achieve their loyalty is give them some pure love. 

Besides loving them, you need to feed them healthy stuff to get the energy to do their play and work the whole day. Do you think we are missing some important points? Are dogs just for loving, playing with, and feeding? No, you need to train your dog as well. Training your dog is necessary if you wish to make the communication lines stronger between you. They might be loyal to you, but lack of training will not allow them to sport their loyalty towards you.

Let’s delve deep into the list of dog commands and hand signals to train your dog. Later on, we will also understand the necessity of training. 

How Can You Train Your Dog?

When it comes to training a dog, there are multiple ways of getting it done. Before you learn the dog training commands list, understand the procedures so you can execute them. The expense behind the training depends on the type of personal training you wish to have for your dog. The location and the trainer’s fee are other important aspects to consider. If you feel the need for extra support to train your dog perfectly, the following are a few ways to achieve the feat.

  • Think of doing it yourself to better the bond and communication between you and your dog. Look out for the videos and tutorials across various websites on the internet for assistance. 
  • Provided you feel unable to train your dog, take him to a public training class. Training under a professional trainer daily will accustom him to the best skills and habits in no time.
  • Consider enrolling in an online training class, where you can learn how to train your dog.
  • You can opt for hiring a personal trainer to look after your training requirements and your dog’s excellence from close quarters. Consequently, such an option appears to be the most expensive one.
  • Training sessions and boarding facilities are available to take your dog for training. The prices will vary from one place to another.

Make sure you do not get into any fake training centers. Many people will come up with the promises of faster results and guaranteed outcomes. Do not fall for such words. Even places that charge more money need not necessarily be the best ones. Instead, try to opt for trainers who show you their legit certificates, a stronger work profile, and dedication in the longer run. 

The best thing about such training sessions is that you get to remain with the dog. As a result, you get accustomed to the training knowledge and work on building a foundation for a stronger relationship with your beloved pup.

What Are Necessary Things Your Dog Needs To Be Taught?

What Are Necessary Things Your Dog Needs To Be Taught

Your dog needs to learn a few behavior mannerisms to help him with appropriate responses and gestures. Your dog might end up being smart by mastering dog commands and hand signals, but he needs to master the basics primarily. 

1. Get Them Accustomed To Their Name

Your dog needs to learn the name you will call them by. Right from when you bring the puppy into the house, ensure that you keep saying them the desired name of your choosing. Try to address them with your name and get their response from the same call. One of the best ways of getting them habituated is to offer a treat! Call them by the name you chose, and if they respond to your call, they get a treat. Once this repeats a couple of times, they will understand that they must respond to that name for getting a treat. Prevent using their name when they commit some mistake. If they respond to the name and you scold them for the naughty act, they would fear responding. Consequently, do not call their names throughout the day as it will get you nothing but ignorance from them. 

2. Develop Their Focus

Their training will reach the next level of excellence when they learn to focus. Try to teach your dog to focus on you and everything you say. Their level of focus and attention will determine how successfully you will impart the forthcoming skills for him to learn. Focus is of primary importance when you take them to some competition, some public meeting, or for a mere walk around the park. Draw their attention with words like “Look At Me” or “Watch me,” etc. 

3. Teach Them To Run When You Call

One of the vital aspects of training your dog is to teach them to run to you when called. This is important to keep them safe from getting into any danger. It would be best if you prepared your dog for the worst situations, and here, the “Come here” word would come in handy. Get your dog trained to respond immediately. If your dog does not respond to multiple calls, do not repeat as they might feel the need to go, only when called twice or three times. 

4. Teach Them To Let Go Of Things

Teach Them To Let Go Of Things

Dogs have a strong jaw that helps them keep a strong bite of the things they grab. Their grabs are so strong that getting rid of your things appears to be difficult. Here, you need to train your dog to obey your commands. Dog trainers use words like “Leave It” or “Drop it” to ensure that the dogs do not grab something unwanted. You can play the game of patience with your dog, where you keep their desired treat in front of them and ask them not to do it. Only when you permit them to eat should they bite on it. Make sure that you lure your dog to listen to you with treats. If they leave something or drop something after you ask them to, give them a treat. A few similar instances will make them understand that the treat will come as a gift for their obedience. 

5. Ask Them To Sit Down

“Sit” and “Down” emerged as some of the best cues to make a dog sit or lie down. Get your dog habituated to these instructions as it will instill the trait of patience in them. Once you find them sitting down on a carpet or lying down only because you asked them to, you pass a major hurdle.

6. Getting Habituated To Touches

Sometimes dogs are sensitive to getting touched at a specific place. For example, you would often find dogs reacting when people touch their ears or tail. Getting rid of such sensitivity requires training from a tender age. Right from the time you bring your pup home, touch him all over, but with love and care. Make them habituated to getting touched on the face, ears, or tail. Over the years, they would no longer mind getting touched anywhere in their bodies. Such a habit will help you take them to the vet or some trainer who requires touching them anywhere and everywhere for proper examination. Find your dog, stay calm when the vet checks him and feel like a successful parent!

Dog Training Commands List

Now that you have an idea about the basic things you should teach your dog, let us see how you will. There is a list of dog commands and hand signals that you should follow to ensure proper and adequate training for your dog. Remember that dogs do not understand your language right from the beginning. You must make them understand what you mean with your hand gestures and voice together. 

Research reveals that most dogs respond to signals better when both hand gestures and audio commands collaborate. However, as time passes, the pets will understand how you direct them with your hand gestures. Consequently, they have a shorter lifespan of up to 16 years. In addition, as they age, their hearing abilities get mellowed. Here the visual hand signals come in handy to strike the best communication with your beloved pet. 

There are two basic ways you can initiate the communication and direction training with your dogs:

  • Make sure that the hand gestures you use are simple for them to understand. Using complicated hand gestures will leave your dog standing in confusion. 
  • Use positive reinforcement after the successful derivation of hand signals by your dog. For example, reward them with treats or heap them with verbal praises to make them feel special. Such acts will motivate them to do better in the long run and have solid communication with you.

Once you find your dog responding accurately to the hand signals, try to lower the treats you give. Provided you find your dog doing well with the basic commands like sit, stand or leave, opt for a simpler option of direct hand gestures. You will get the best results if you train with them regularly, so try and make it a priority when you have the free time in a day. 

#1. Watch Me: Point A Finger To The Eye

Watch Me Point A Finger To The Eye

It is the first step towards making gesture commands a success. Shifting from auditory commands to hand signals would not be possible without starting with this, as they need to look at you for learning. So, start by teaching to look at yourself in the first place with this command. Take help of a treat. Conduct the gesture and point the finger at your eye with the treat in hand. The treat in your hand will make the drooling dog run at you. Gradually, they will learn to look at you when you show them a finger pointing at yourself. 

#2. Sit: Open Your Hand With Palm Up

Sit Open Your Hand With Palm Up

Asking a dog to sit is the most prevalent command in today’s time. It is a simple gesture in which you have to open your hand with palms facing up in the air. Now move your hand upwards in a continuous motion. Try to pair such gestures with verbal commands to get your dog habituated to the signals. 

#3. Lie Down: Point Your Fingers Down

Lie Down Point Your Fingers Down

The third on this list happens to be the direction for them to lie down. To get the command fulfilled:

  • Point a finger up to your chest.
  • Swing it in a diagonal motion downwards to the ground. This will direct your dog to take a swing over its hips and lie down.
  • Make sure you have a treat in hand to lure them into the act. Sniffing its smell will make your dog follow your direction with immediate action. Please make sure you reward them after that.

#4. Stay: Open Your Hand With Palm Facing Forward

Stay Open Your Hand With Palm Facing Forward

Dogs are very erratic that makes them uncontrollable at times. They will jump around the house and do their playing. Here asking them to stop and stay in a particular place becomes an important part of your training. This will prove crucial when you are out on the street or in some other public place with your pet. Use both hand and audio signals to execute this command. Walk backward with your palm facing outwards to your dog at the chest level. Make sure that they stay in their position unless you ask them to move. Practicing this gesture will make your dog more attentive and patient. 

#5. Come: Place Your Hand Diagonally Across Your Chest

Come Place Your Hand Diagonally Across Your Chest

The best thing you can seek out of them is to come close to you for many cuddles. As a pet parent, you understand the need for their love to get rid of all the day’s stress. So here comes the necessity to train your dog to come close when you ask them to. Start by opening your palms facing towards your shoulders diagonally. Now move your hand close to your shoulder with a signal to ask them close. Please make sure you use such signals when you are out with your dog, and he is without a leash. This will be a major experiment to determine whether your dog is loyal to you and you won its unconditional love all the way. 

#6. Stand: Pull Your Hand Forward

Stand Pull Your Hand Forward

Asking your dog to stand is another relevant need. Execute the process by taking your hand to the side with the palm open and facing forward. Once your dog sees, pull your hand backward quickly, resembling a pull. This will make it go standing from sitting.

#7. Heel: Tap Your Hands On Your Hip

Heel Tap Your Hands On Your Hip

You can make your dog heel with a simple action. First, take your hand with your palm open and place it on your hip. Now tap your hip or move your hand in a circular motion over the hip. This will direct your dog to come to your side. 

#8. Take It: Take Your Hands Out And Close Your Fist

Take It Take Your Hands Out And Close Your Fist

When you want your dog to grab something from your hand, extend your hand to them with open palms. After extending the palm, close it quickly to come and grab the object.

You May Also Read: Are Jack Russells Easy To Train? The Ultimate JRT Guide!

#9. Drop It: Take Your Fist Out And Drop It

Drop It Take Your Fist Out And Drop It

When you want them to drop something they are grabbing with the mouth, extend your hand out with fists closed. Then, open the fist for the final direction to let go.

#10. Free: Hold Your Palms At Your Shoulders

Free Hold Your Palms At Your Shoulders

Sometimes your dog deserves a break from the leash that binds him. Take your hand to the shoulder and open your palm. Now face it upwards and push forward. Please wait for that gleaming smile on his face when he gets to run around free without the leash. 

Importance Of Training Your Dog

Importance Of Training Your Dog

As mentioned earlier, when you train your dog with the basic gestures and cues, both of you find it easier to communicate and collaborate for some work. Your dog then becomes more than just a mere pet, as they help you do a few basic chores. Then doing a few tasks like bringing something to you or keeping something in place takes quite some burden off your shoulders and saves your time for other important work. In addition, once your dog becomes habituated to the training of dog commands and hand signals, you will find them carrying a good etiquette sprinkled with good mannerisms. All of this will facilitate a stronger bond between you two. 

As some people say, teaching your dog something new is not always full of hassles. Remember when you were a kid, and your eyes gleamed with the thought of learning something new? Your dog undergoes the same feeling. They wish to learn everything you wish to teach so that they can find a solid place in your life. Your presence itself will be a driving factor motivating them to learn. The skills you teach them will help them defend themselves and interact with you and the outside world with ease. 

The training that we impart to our dogs is often mentioned as “Obedience training” among the people. This particular training procedure is not about teaching your dog to do a specific thing but helping him develop a mindset to learn things perfectly and quickly. Such a relationship guided by learning starts on a strong foundation of trust. Research by the dog whisperers shows that dogs tend to develop a trusted relationship with humans when they take them for walks together, do exploration activities, play several games, and learn many skills. Additionally, dogs learn to make new friends amongst other dogs and humans through such activities and outings. 

Also Read: Can I Train My Dog To Be A Service Dog? (Hint: You Certainly Can!)

Impact Of Positive Reinforcement On Your Dog

As per the scientific studies and experimental observations, Positive Reinforcement training appears to be the most effective training method for any dog. As per the norms of this training, you need to add positive reinforcement for your dog after executing the command as you wish for them. When you add a reinforcer, i.e., a reward, the dog is more likely to follow the things you ask them to do, again and again. They do it with the hope of getting the reinforcer after they emerge successful in the task. Thus, he automatically learns a behavior with minimal effort.

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