Dog Training with Hand Signals: A Comprehensive Guide with Printable PDF - My Pet Command

Dog Training with Hand Signals: A Comprehensive Guide with Printable PDF

Posted by Deepak Rawat on

Dog training hand signals are essential tools for addressing dog behavior. These easy-to-master visual commands allow effective communication between you and your dog. This could be in a noisy or distracting environment.

The two most common benefits of using hand signals include enhanced communication and increased control between you and your dog. Note that the long-range safe shock training collar is also an essential tool for addressing dog behavior.

Incorporating hand signals to teach your dog into your coaching routine will improve your dog's obedience, creating a harmonious and responsive partnership.

This comprehensive guide explains everything about using hand signals to capture your dog's attention throughout training. From basic to advanced visual signals, you will discover the benefits of using hand signals to enhance communication and increase your dog’s control.

Explore step-by-step instructions, expert tips, and practical examples to transform your training experience.

Hand Signals for Basic Commands:

Mastering the basic hand signals for dog training can greatly improve your coaching sessions. Also, utilizing commands like sit, stay, come, down, and heel with slight help from the Citronella spray training collar guarantees a clear, non-verbal method to communicate with your dog.

Here are five common basic dog training commands to understand:

  • Sit: The "sit" command involves opening and raising your palm facing up from your waist to shoulder height. Extend your fingers and hold them in front of the dog's nose. This action signals your dog to lower its hindquarters and sit. (See dog training hand signals chart pdf for visual representation.)
  • Stay: The "stay" dog training command involves extending your hand in front of the dog's chest with your palm facing the dog, just above your waist. This command signals it to remain in its current position until released.
  • Come: The "come" command involves extending your arm outstretched towards the dog's head height with your fingers curled and palm facing upward. Bring your hand to your chest to signal the dog to approach you.
  • Down: The "down" command requires pointing your palm facing down with fingers extended to the ground in front of the dog. Alternatively, you can make a sweeping motion toward the floor until you reach your legs. This command instructs your dog to lie down. As another option, point your index finger towards the floor to signal the same command.
  • Heel: The "heel" command involves gaining the dog's attention by patting your side with your palm facing forward and extending your fingers to hold the dog’s shoulder. This command teaches your dog to pay attention and walk closely beside you.

Hand Signals for Advanced Commands:

Beyond basic commands, you can also teach your dog advanced commands like speak, shake, and roll-over. Using a dog training hand signals chart can also ease the process, providing clear visual cues for each command.

The PDF version is available here.

Here are five advanced dog training hand signals to understand:

  • Roll over: For “roll over,” start by moving your hand in a circular motion in the air, with your palm facing down across the floor near the dog’s nose. You can also extend your fingers and rotate them over the dog's back. Here’s a professional video to illustrate more on that.
  • Play dead: To signal “play dead,” face your palm down and extend your fingers, moving them across the dog's chest. You can also use a finger gun gesture and point towards your dog. For starters, use a treat to lure your dog onto its side. Here’s a video to illustrate more.
  • Speak: For the “speak command,” imitate a talking gesture with your palm facing the dog's mouth. Extend your fingers towards your dog, then open and close them.
  • Quiet: To indicate “quiet,” face your palm towards the dog's mouth and extend your fingers, moving them horizontally across the mouth. You can even place your index finger over your lips as you do the command.
  • Shake: You can teach the “shake” command by raising your palm, facing up, and extending your fingers, moving them up and down in front of the dog's paw. This command encourages them to lift their paw for a friendly handshake. Here’s a video to illustrate more about the “shake” command.

For more detailed instructions and visual aids, refer to the downloadable dog training hand signal chart mentioned above.

How to Teach Your Dog Hand Signals:

Hand signals for training dogs guarantee valuable communication and enhance clear understanding, especially for deaf dogs.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  • Start Simple: Begin your training with easy-to-learn basic commands like "sit, stay, come, down, and heel." Don’t forget to give rewards when your dog acts correctly.  You can use our long-range shock training collar to tame active dogs.
  • Use Clear Hand Signals: Always use well-defined dog training hand signals. For instance, raise your hand for "sit," extend your palm for "stay," and point your index finger to the ground for "down." 
  • Pair Hand Signals with Verbal Commands: Slowly combine hand signals with verbal commands. However, pay attention to your dog’s body language. Note that learning takes time, and you need to be patient and positive.
  • Gradually Increase Complexity: Gradually introduce new commands after your dog is proficient in one hand signals. Also, maintain brief training sessions to avoid overwhelming your dog.
  • Reward and Reinforce: Give treats and praise to reward your dog to strengthen the learning process each time it follows a hand signal.

Bonus Benefit: Here’s a guide on how to train a deaf dog.

Tips for Effective Dog Training with Hand Signals:

Hand signals dog training can notably improve communication and obedience in dogs.

Here are some tips to help you effectively train your dog using visual signals:

  • Consistency is Key: Always use the same hand signal with the corresponding verbal command to train your dog correctly. Avoid introducing variations that might confuse your dog.
  • Start with Clear, Distinct Signals: Use clear concise hand signals, definite for each command, to avoid confusion.
  • Location: For improved focus, train your dog in a calm, supervised, distraction-free atmosphere. However, once your dog reliably responds to hand signals in a quiet setting, slowly introduce distractions during the training session to improve their focus and obedience in different environments.
  • Short but Regular: Keep training sessions short and enjoyable. Aim for 5-10 minute daily practice sessions to keep your dog focused and engaged.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward good behaviors with treats, praise, or petting (affection) to encourage your dog to repeat the behavior and associate it with the hand signal.
  • Patience and Persistence: Remember, dogs learn at their own pace. Thus, don't expect your dog to master new signals overnight. Always exercise patience and consistency, celebrating small victories, and reinforcing the hand signals until your dog understands.
  • Make it Enjoyable: Keep training sessions fun and engaging. Use a playful tone, actively celebrate success, and incorporate games between each session.
  • Training Kits: Always incorporate the correct dog training kits (Citronella spray collar and long-range safe shock training collar) for a smooth session.


Do you wish to communicate with your dog in a noisy environment without raising your voice? Well, look no further than training dogs with hand signals. These easy visual cues, incorporated with verbal commands for dogs, can greatly enhance your dog's training process, communication, behavior, and understanding.

Moreover, dog training hand signal for sit or stay and complex verbal cues like roll over or play dead can be effective in different situations, including distracting environments.

Lastly, training hand signals can be handy in training dogs with hearing impairments.

Additional Resources for Further Learning and References

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