Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just a Few Barks


Hi Y’all!




Occasionally someone asks my Human why and how she taught me hand signals.  The why is simple.  She’s always used them with all her pawed companions. 


The how is easy too. 

Your dog, even if he isn’t a trained retriever like Freighter, Storm and Thunder or Gman and Glory…, is already reading your signals. 


If you have a puppy, you can use hand signals when giving a verbal command.  Actually, when you were teaching your dog to sit or down, you used a treat in your hand to encourage your dog to move into position.  This was the beginning of showing your dog hand signals. 


Do you lean forward slightly, or a lot, when you want your dog to come?  My Human does.  When we were in advanced obedience I kept breaking my sit and running to her. 


No one in the class could see it, but the instructor did.  Just before my Human began to lift her arm she would lean slightly forward.  I didn’t wait for the rest of the signal.  


Here is a link my Human found with some hand signals that are easy for us to learn together. 



Over the years the signals my Human gives have grown very subtle.  She can lean her head, or crook her finger or just give me a “look” and I understand what she wants. 



Y’all come back now!


























  1. Oh My! very nice photographs - you look like a big grizzly bear to me!


  2. We are impressed Hawk. Clever you. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Thanks so much for joining Barks and Bytes. Excellent post on how to get started with hand signals. Our field trainer is always pointing out to handlers things they are doing with their body that may confuse the dog in the field or make the dog anticipate a command. Dogs like Hawk are so smart. :)

  4. We use hand signals too. Taught them the same way. Have a good one.

  5. Awesome post Hawk, thanks for joining Barks and Bytes!

    I know I tend to use hand signals with certain commands, but I also tend to lean in too. :-(

    Sampson is so in tune with me that I can in fact crook my finger at him and he will come to me.

  6. Very cool that you've got subtle hand signals down!
    We do the lean forward as a signal for recall (intentionally most of the time), point to the ground for down, and snap our fingers for sit, but that's about the extent of it.

  7. Hawk, Ma made up hand signals for me when I was very young. She used them in conjunction with her verbal commands but now, she can just do the hand signal and I know what she is saying. Intersting what you say about the leaning-in prior to the come command. Maybe my Ma does that too since I always come right before she gives me the signal. Now we will have to check ourselves out. Thanks for the tip, buddy.

  8. We are not quite as advanced as you at the hand signals, but simple things like if my little one (daughter) is having a nap and the house needs to be quiet, I can do this sort of snap thing and point to the floor, and they will sit. Or if I point right directly to the floor with my finger, they know to lay down. And as you said, that is because when I verbally use these commands, I always do the hand gestures at the same time. And dogs are so smart at catching those things!
    Great post!
    ((husky hugz))
    Frum da pack at Love is being owned by a husky

  9. Even my trained retrievers gman and glory give me the bird some days. lol Thank you so much for the great link to hand signals, it was a good explanation with pictures. You had some very lovely photos also, love tongue sticking out photos. Have a wonderful day buddy.

  10. I have hand signals for everything and I point a lot too. I think Mr. N finds it easier to learn with body cues.

  11. Hmm.. great tips if you own a dog LOL!
    --Siamese Smothers frem Mikko and I--

  12. Our girl Wendy who passed in December knew hand signals, and Todd knows a couple--Your post has reminded me of why it's a good thing for pups to know, THANKS for that, I think we're going to be brushing up on that here at our house.

  13. We sort of made up our own unorthodox hand signals as we went along, so that link you have is gonna be a great help!! :P

    I have no idea if I give any subtle signals to Donna at all. But it's awesome what your doing with Brown Dog. :D

  14. I've heard that dogs pick up on hand signals better than words. I remember my Sheltie Cassie from when I was a girl went deaf as she got older. But she still obeyed my commands because I had been unknowingly using hand signals along with the commands.