Teaching your dog hand signals is a great way to increase your bond and communicate with them. It is best to commence training from puppyhood although it is beneficial throughout their lifetime. For example, most dogs lose their hearing as they age and hand signals will come in very handy at that time.

The first signal to teach your dog is ‘Watch me’. This is important because your dog needs to learn to look at you to be able to see the signals you are trying to communicate.

Here are the top 7 common hand signals for dogs:

  • Lie down: This is done by pointing your finger down.
  • Sit: The hand is raised and the palm facing up.
  • Watch me: One finger is pointed to your eye while maintaining eye contact with your dog.
  • Come: Hand placed diagonally across your chest. Starts from the side and move gently towards your other shoulder.
  • Stay: Hold your palm in front of your chest facing away from you and towards your dog.
  • Drop it: Hold your hand out in a fist and then open your palm.
  • Take it: It’s the opposite of ‘drop it’. Hold your hand out with your palm open and make a fist.

Bear in mind that your dog needs time to learn these signals and you will get better results when combined with verbal signals for a start. Endeavour to reward your pets with lots of praise and treats when they begin to respond to the hand signals. Once your dog has mastered the signals, you can start introducing them to hand signals alone without verbal prompts.