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I've just started training my mother-in-law's five dogs. I thought we had 'sit' and 'down' down pat, but then I noticed something. I always train using hand signals as well as voice commands. A little bit ago I was working with one of the dogs, and I was fumbling with my treat bag, so I gave the voice command without the hand signal. No response. In fact, she looked at me like I was speaking a different language... I tried again, still no response. I used the hand signal, automatic 'sit'. I tried with the other two that were up at the time, and only one of them would sit on voice command without the hand signal. Is this normal? Do they just learn the hand signals faster then voice commands? Or am I doing something wrong?
 

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Yes, dogs learn visually much quicker than verbally.
 

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Dogs learn by body language much better than by voice cue. Dogs are not verbal animals like us (well, most dogs are not.. LOL).

It is a good test to stand with hands at sides and not move and give a voice command to see if the dog understands the voice cue. If the dogs does not respond, then they are responding to body language.

I read somewhere about a woman who would raise her eyebrow whenever she had her dog walk at heel. One day she said the cue and did not raise her eyebrown and the dog did not respond. Dogs are WAY observant of us.

Around kids we need to watch what we say. Around dogs we need to watch what we do! :)
 

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I train and never mention hand-signals to customers. I prefer hand signals. It absolutely knock customers right on their butts at pickup time. Problem that occurs is if you like hand over voice or vice-versa you get into (sorry I get into) working one more than the other. so near end of program I really get into the switching, one day all hand, one day all voice, one day start with hand end with voice I think you get the idea. That's another reason I preach about a daily journal and I always work with a stopwatch so I know how much time is spent on either. I'm surely not advising everybody run out and get stopwatches/journals etc. This is my method that I find comfortable.
 

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I run out of ideas of what to make a hand signal for. I have one for sit, down, and stay.

Have to come up with something I can remember as easily as I remember the voice cues.
 

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I run out of ideas of what to make a hand signal for. I have one for sit, down, and stay.

Have to come up with something I can remember as easily as I remember the voice cues.
You can add hand signals for Come, Finish (come to heel position), Drop on Recall, Directed jumping, Retrieves, Spin, Rollover, Go Out (go away from you in a straight line), Beg, High Five....
 

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You can add hand signals for Come, Finish (come to heel position), Drop on Recall, Directed jumping, Retrieves, Spin, Rollover, Go Out (go away from you in a straight line), Beg, High Five....
What I meant is that I have a hard time coming up with hand signals I can repeat correctly every single time and can remember what behavior they are to indicate.

I get that you can attach it to any behavior the dog has learned to a cue.
 

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What I meant is that I have a hard time coming up with hand signals I can repeat correctly every single time and can remember what behavior they are to indicate.

I get that you can attach it to any behavior the dog has learned to a cue.
One thing that I do is all my handsignals for anything start out as big body/hand signals everything is exaggerated. As training progresses we go from body/hand signal combined down to hand-signal and then as small as I want them to be. I find that if the dog should make a mistake, I want to make sure it's not my mistake so I must make sure dog can see proper signal. I'm sure everybody has their own way as usual I just like to confuse the issue a tad.

I don't understand the forget Hand-signal/what they mean program, that's why they make notepads. Also when training your own dog you have much time to phase in hand signals at your own pace. Dogs I train must accomplish everything in 30 to 45 days. This is a very simple starter course though.
 

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I got a book that has 101 dog tricks - I stole a few hand signals from it. Also on a few websites are some hand signals. I made mine all moving signals, except STAY. The benefit is Sadie picks up "tricks" faster when I use a signal from the beginning. The downside is she doesn't sit or down for anyone else. However, people seem to LOVE hand signals, people who don't know that dogs learn that way think it's amazing to watch me run my dog through her entire reppitiore without saying a word. Then, I show them the signal and THEY make her do it, they love it!

Record yourself training with a video camera so you can watch your body language, and you'll see signals emerge. Then review it before you train and write down your signal.
 

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Below is the statement that would help all people work their dogs properly as you would be surprised at the difference in what you do and what you think you do with your dog. Especially now because equipment can be purchased reasonably you can do a video on your phone. Good advice jesirose.

Record yourself training with a video camera so you can watch your body language, and you'll see signals emerge. Then review it before you train and write down your signal.
 

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Record yourself training with a video camera so you can watch your body language, and you'll see signals emerge. Then review it before you train and write down your signal.
THAT's what I should've done! ROFL I came to the realization that my dog was responding to my body language, NOT the verbal cue, when I used the verbal and got no response, then, later, got the behavior in response to my hand position! From then on, I made a written training plan, and the steps to achieve the end goal, including the hand signals. Keeps me on track, and the dogs learn so much faster.
 

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Seems I've developed a hand signal while trying to teach him the fold back way to lie down. Seems if I teaching using targeting/luring - the signal develops for me easier - of course that doesn't help while shaping.

The thing is - he's not always looking at the signal and misses it - sometimes he's too worried about the water bottles next to him, or the weed whacker lying on the floor near the wall or the fact I walked past a curtain and it flared with my movement *sigh*

But when he IS looking, he will get it quickly. Had the best session yet teaching him that (and even mixed in other behaviors) while using the luring motion as the signal.

Then I found a verbal cue he can distinguish for it as well. Don't know if it's dogs in general or just a quirk in Wally but he'll like get half the word and try to act without listening for the whole word. Stay and Stand are the two that still trip him up. Might have to borrow words from other languages as well.
 
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