If you’re looking for some hand signals to use with your dog, here are 11 common ones.

The dog training hand signals chart pdf is a list of 11 basic dog training hand signals. These are the most common hand signals that people use to communicate with their pets.

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You may be wondering why you should bother teaching dog training hand signals in the first place. It’s a good question, and one that I pondered myself many years ago.

We trained Linus hand signals as well as vocal instructions when he was a puppy.

Our trainer offered us two major reasons to use hand signals with our dogs at the time.

Number one: Your dogs are better at responding from a distance.

Number two: Even if your dog loses his hearing, he will still react to your hand signals (and vice versa for verbal commands if your dog goes blind).

Here are some more reasons why you should teach your dog hand signals.

There are a variety of reasons to teach your dog hand signals in addition to vocal instructions. And doing so may make a big difference in your dog’s life.

Dogs are unable to comprehend the language humans use. They do, however, comprehend noises, which is how they pick up on linguistic signals.

Reasons to Teach Your Dog Hand Signals

Some of the reasons why you should teach your dog hand signals are as follows:

  • Teaching your dog hand signals may help him concentrate more on you. He’ll pick up on your signals.
  • It’s also useful in loud situations when he may not be able to hear a spoken signal.
  • Dogs may also go deaf at times. To converse with them, hand gestures are required. Amber, one of my shelties, became deaf when she was about 13 years old. Knowing how to use hand signals was very beneficial. I could even trust her when she wasn’t on a leash since she came when I called her. And I didn’t disturb the neighbors when I called her in from pottying late at night. She approached me when I signaled her to do so with a hand gesture.
  • Your dog’s intellect will be sharpened if he concentrates on hand signals. The more dogs that are taught, the better. They won’t be bored either.
  • Positive training strengthens your relationship with your dog.
  • Your dog will also need to learn hand signals if you want to participate in advanced obedience contests.
  • Some of my dogs and I compete. However, I teach them all hand signs.
  • Dogs have an innate ability to interpret our body language. They’ll pick up on our visual signals if we’re consistent. Dogs reacted to hand signals with 99 percent accuracy, but only 82 percent accuracy to spoken instructions, according to an Italian study. Even when given contradictory verbal and visual cues, dogs correctly reacted to the visual cue 70% of the time. The research included 10 golden retrievers and 15 Labrador retrievers, both of which are highly trainable canines.

Teaching our dogs visual signals is thus well worth the time and effort.

Hand Signals for Dog Training: Some Pointers

It’s ideal if dogs are aware of both spoken and nonverbal cues. You never know when one or the other will be useful. 

PRO-TRAINER TIP: Always signal the desired behavior with a “yes!” or a “click!” followed by a reward during training. Prepare your incentive treat ahead of time. As an incentive, keep tiny, pea-sized goodies on hand that your dog enjoys.

Of course, teach verbal cues separately from hand signals while you’re initially introducing them so your dog doesn’t get confused.

If your dog already understands the command’s verbal cue, you may combine it with the visual cue while teaching him the hand gesture.

If your dog understands the verbal cue, combine it with the hand gesture for the first few repetitions. After each correct repeat, praise and reward your dog. Then perform a few repetitions using just the hand gesture to check whether he gets it.

If he’s still confused, combine the verbal and visual cues for a few sessions before switching to only the hand gesture.

After your dog has mastered both, you may choose to perform them individually or together. You may combine a verbal command with a hand gesture if your dog already understands it well.

11 Typical Hand Signals 

Pay attention is the first obedience order that all dogs should learn. Everything else we teach our pets is built on this basis.

Any hand gesture that the dog can readily see will work as long as you’re consistent with it. 

There are a few that have been created as standard. They also function effectively since the cue they provide helps the dog understand what to perform.

Always begin your workout with no distractions. So, without any noise or visual distractions, begin inside. You may introduce distractions after your dog understands the hand gesture.

Depending on your dog’s concentration, train in short periods of five to fifteen minutes. And just repeat each exercise a few times. 

Always finish on a high tone. In each training session, you should only use a handful of the hand signals.

Make sure your dog has been exercised to take the edge off so he can concentrate on what you’re teaching him. You want him to be relaxed, but not exhausted.

Also, for the same hand signal, always use the same hand. Various hands may be used for different signals. Just remember to remain consistent.

1. The Command to Pay Attention 

I use the term “look” while teaching a dog the verbal cue. Many individuals use the phrase “watch me.” Consistency is key when it comes to training.

You may make a hand signal by pointing one finger to your eyes. Typically, the index finger is used. 

Make your hand and finger point to the side of your face rather than in front of it, so your dog can see what you’re doing from afar. 

To maintain consistency, utilize the same hand for this cue.

Mark the behavior and provide the reward as soon as your dog looks at you, so he understands he did what you asked.

To begin teaching it, keep the incentive treat in the hand you’re pointing with and give it to your dog after you praise him.

2. Sit

One of the first commands we teach our dogs is typically this one. It’s extremely helpful and teaches you how to manage your impulses.

Place your hand in front of your dog’s nose, palm up. Begin by holding a goodie in your hand. Slowly raise your hand toward the top of your dog’s head.

Because we’re enticing the dog into a sit, this signal works nicely.

3. Down

Hold your index finger horizontally in front of your chest to teach your dog a signal. 

Begin by holding a goodie in your closed hand. You may show your dog what you want by flicking your hand downwards with your finger pointing to the floor. 

As a signal, you may even move your elbow and swing your pointing finger towards the floor. This aids in luring the dog down.

4. Stay

The remain command has the potential to save your dog’s life. 

If he listens, he won’t run out the front door or onto the street. It may actually save your life.

Raise your hand and extend your palm outwards, palm facing you. Then keep the signal at or just above waist level. 

Hold it at the lower position for a smaller dog and just above the waist for a larger dog.

5. Come

One of the most essential instructions you can teach your dog is to come when called. It’s another another order that has the potential to save his life and save him from being lost.

If required, I teach it using a motion that the dog can perceive from a distance. 

Make a horizontal big sweeping wave next to your body (palm out) with your arm swinging in an exaggerated large horizontal wave motion with your dog a few feet distant. 

The palm of your hand should then softly rest on your chest.

6. Heel

Heeling refers to a dog walking close to your left leg with his shoulder region near to your leg. If you want to compete with your dog, you’ll need it. 

You may, however, train your dog to walk on your right side if you like. Just remember to remain consistent.

To assist summon your dog there, touch your hip or make a circular motion in that region.

You may begin by luring him into position with a goodie in your hand. When he gets into position next to you, note the behavior and give the reward.

7. Let It Go

Another command that may save your dog’s life is this one. 

Let’s say he picks up something he shouldn’t have. You must get it away from him as soon as possible.

When you pursue him, he turns it into a game. He’ll probably win since he has four legs to our two.

So teach him to put it down. When playing fetch with your dog, the command is also useful.

If your dog is carrying a toy in his mouth, show him your closed hand in front of him to teach him. 

Then you should open your fist. Praise and reward him when he drops his toy.

To assist him in learning the command, keep a reward in your closed hand to swap for the toy at initially.

8. Use the Place Command

It is very beneficial for your dog to go to a certain location, such as a bed or crate. 

Point a finger at the area to show him what you want. You’ll need to be right close to the item at first. 

You may go a bit farther away while delivering the signal after he knows what’s anticipated.

When he arrives at the location, praise and thank him.

9. You did an excellent job!

You should always praise your dog when he does a good job. 

We start by rewarding them with sweets and verbal praise. However, after your dog consistently executes a behavior on cue, you’ll gradually reduce the quantity of rewards he receives. 

You’ll distribute goodies on an ad hoc basis. 

But what if you can’t offer vocal praise due to the environment (it’s too loud) or your dog has hearing loss? 

You may teach him a visual signal that indicates he’s been a particularly nice boy.

To educate him what it means, use a thumbs-up gesture, then praise and reward him right away. 

This is now a universal signal for both people and dogs.

10. Quiet

We sometimes need our pets to remain quiet. 

Shelties, a Lhasa apso, and an Aussie mix are among the breeds I own that are famously loud. 

I needed to teach my dogs a quiet signal so that we might have some peace and quiet in our house–and outdoors for others.

Because I praised and rewarded them the brief second they stopped barking, they understood what the term “silent” meant.

Putting my pointer finger perpendicular to my lips was the hand gesture I taught.

11. Recess: You’re on your own!

When you’re through with your training session, you should inform your canine companion. 

He’ll have recess and won’t have to work. He has the option of playing or chewing on his bully stick. 

Flutter your hands a few times while holding both arms aloft, palms facing front. The session then comes to an end. 

Last Thoughts

It’s a good idea to teach your dog how to recognize hand signals. It may also be advantageous since he will not be bored, and your connection will be strengthened.

Because dogs instinctively interpret human body language, it’s much simpler than it seems. They’ll sometimes behave better with visual signals than with spoken ones!

As a result, take your instruction to the next level by teaching hand signals.

Do you know how to teach your dog to react to hand signals? Let us know what happened in the comments section below.


The hand signals for dogs pictures are a common way to teach your dog basic commands. There are 11 basic hand signals that you can use to train your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the hand signals for dog commands?

The hand signals for dog commands are as follows: Finger pointing up = sit Finger pointing down = stay Thumb to the side of the face = good boy

What is the hand signal for stand in dog training?

The hand signal for stand in dog training is a fist with the thumb out.

What are the 7 basic dog commands?

Sit, down, stay, come, heel, leave it and shake.

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